June 06, Colombo: China on Sunday dismissed claims that it is planning to build naval bases at a Sri Lankan port and Gwadar in Pakistan to have “a permanent naval presence” in South Asia.
Chinese National Defence Minister Liang Guanglie has dismissed the suggestions that Beijing was carving out “a permanent naval presence” in India’s neighbourhood in South Asia, Indian daily The Hindu reported.
At the 10th Asia Security Summit in Singapore organized by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, General Liang has said that the Chinese government “will have a very serious and careful study of an issue of such importance to the government and the military,” such as the reported move for establishing naval bases in Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The General has said that if the move were for real they will have exact plans and set up a panel to discuss it. “I haven’t heard of it,” General Liang, has added.
India is concerned over China’s influence in its backyard neighbors Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
China’s strategic interest and increased support to Sri Lanka, especially the assistance for the construction of the Hambanthota Port, a strategic location in the Indian Ocean, have raised anxiety in India.
India is also apprehensive about China’s military collaboration with Pakistan as the relations are likely to be unfavorable to India’s long term strategic interests.