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Chinese aid to build Sri Lanka port poses no security threat: Navy

Hambantota port under construction in Sri Lanka

KOLKATA (PTI): The Indian Navy said that it did not see any security threat to the country in the Chinese involvement in building Hambantota port in southern Sri Lanka.

'Building the port in Sri Lanka will not hamper our security. India is too vast for that,' Southern Naval Command's Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Vice-Admiral K N Sunshil, told newsmen after the commissioning of three Fast Attack Craft at Garden Reach near here on Monday.

'We need not be too concerned with Chinese assistance in building the port. What is to be seen is whether the Chinese sit there even after completion of the port,' he said.

Media reports say that China is helping to build the Hambantota strategic port with an estimated investment of USD one billion over the next few years. The port is expected to accommodate nearly 33 ships by 2020.

For the time being, the Chinese were providing the technology for building the port and it would be used as a freight hubbing centre, Sushil pointed out.

Sushil said after the Mumbai attack, the Centre had come out with a coastal security plan involving the Navy, the Coast Guards, the local police and even fishermen.

"The idea is defence in-depth. This means, formation of several layers of defence so that if one layer misses the enemy, there will be others to intercept him," he said.

He said that involving the fishermen in the coastal security system was yielding results and they were now playing an important role in surveillance.

"We have involved the fishermen in such a manner as to make it very difficult for any vessel to pass them unnoticed," he said.

Earlier, speaking at the commissioning of water jet fast attack craft (WJFAC) 'INS Kabra', 'INS Koswari,' and 'INS Karuva,' at the Rajabagan Dockyard of the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE), he said these ships would help the Navy counter unconventional threats.

Commissioned by Sushil's wife Letha, the three ships are the last in the series of 10 WJFAC designed by GRSE.

Welcoming the guests, GRSE chairman and managing director Rear Admiral K C Sekhar said the company's ongoing modernisation programme was expected to be completed by mid-2011.

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