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China Suspends Lankan Renewable Energy Project Amid Security Concerns

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Employees check solar panels, as they work on a grid-connected photovoltaic power generation project, at a power plant in Changxing County, Zhejiang Province, China June 13, 2017. REUTERS/Stringer ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. CHINA OUT.

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China has halted a proposal to build hybrid energy plants on three Sri Lankan islands, citing “security concerns” from a “third party,” amid claims that India is concerned about the project’s location.

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The Chinese embassy in Colombo acknowledged the suspension of an energy project in Sri Lanka’s northern region.

“Due to security concerns from a third party, Sino Soar Hybrid Technology is being halted from building a hybrid energy system on three northern islands,” the embassy tweeted, without bringing in India’s name.

Instead, China has signed a contract, on November 29 with the Maldives to build 12 solar power plants on 12 Maldivian islands, according to the report.

According to Sri Lankan reports, the Chinese company Sino Soar Hybrid Technology was given the contract to build hybrid renewable energy infrastructure in the Delft, Nagadeepa, and Analthivu islands off the coastline of Jaffna in January.

India is said to be concerned about the Chinese presence on the islands, due to their closer proximity to Tamil Nadu.

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The contract between Lanka and China was awarded as part of the Supporting Electricity Supply Reliability Improvement Project, which is being carried out by the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) and sponsored by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

China is one of the most significant investors in different infrastructure projects going on in Lankan islands as part of Beijing’s contentious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

However, there has been widespread criticism, both domestically and internationally, as well as rising fears that China has led Sri Lanka into a debt trap.

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