Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday asserted that India is well equipped to handle any kind of challenges that may arise in the wake of Sri Lanka allowing a high-tech Chinese 'research' ship to dock in its waters.
His statement comes a day after the island nation said that it has allowed a Chinese military ship to anchor at the Hambantota port from August 16 till 22 for "replenishment purposes," amidst India's concerns over the presence of the vessel in the neighbourhood. "We are well equipped and well prepared to handle any kind of situation effectively under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. That is clear," Sonowal said.
The Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways was responding to a question from reporters here.
To another query regarding Indian cargo ships depending on Colombo port, which acts as a transshipment hub in the Eastern coast, he said, "The Ministry is very much committed to developing a transshipment hub on the Indian coasts. We have declared it earlier also."
Chennai Port Trust Chairman Sunil Paliwal intervened to say, India already responded strongly on the issue relating to the Chinese ship and cautioned that the "security situation of a country should not be discussed like this."
On the development of infrastructure at Ports across the country, the Union Minister said, "We have already started to develop our infrastructure in Paradip, Vishakapatnam, and also in Chennai Port. We are also planning to develop infrastructure in Tuticorin port…"
Sonowal said his Ministry has planned to set up a new fishing harbour in Paradip Port, Vishakapatnam and also Chennai Port 'within a short span of time'."We have already sanctioned Rs 99 crore to Chennai (Port Trust) for the fishing harbour", he said.