Navy to increase Southern Naval Command strength – PM | Sunday Observer

Navy to increase Southern Naval Command strength – PM

The Navy has been advised to emphasise on anti-submarine warfare and to increase the number of shore patrol vessels, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said.

“We will ensure that we maintain the security of the Hambantota harbour,” he assured while speaking at the convocation of the Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Institute in Colombo yesterday.

He said that it makes no sense to for China to maintain a base in the south near the Hambantota Port as it is ‘in the middle of nowhere.

The Hambantota port has received far more publicity than it deserves in recent times, said the Prime Minister.

According to him, despite claims that the port could become a Chinese naval base, the agreement with China Merchant is that the security of Sri Lanka and the Hambantota port will be with the Sri Lanka Government and its security forces. “That was accepted,” he said, adding that the Government has now taken steps to move the Naval Southern Command from Galle to Hambantota as well. The Prime Minister also revealed that discussions are now being carried out with the India Airport Company for a Private Public Partnership with the Civil Aviation Authority to manage the Mattala International Airport. “No one can, therefore, say we have handed over everything lock stock and barrel to China,” he said.