Hambantota Current Affairs - 2020

Sri Lanka withdraws from UNHRC Resolution

On February 26, 2020, the Sri Lankan Government formally notified the United Nations that it will withdraw from the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) resolution.

Highlights

The UNHRC resolution 40/1 was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka and 11 other countries. The main aim of the resolution is investigation of war time violence against Tamil Tiger rebels.

The Tamil Rebels were demanding separate homeland. They were claiming that they were ethnic tamil minority and hence are eligible for separate homeland.

The US-China Factor

The United States barred the Sri Lankan Army Chief from entering the US soil accusing him of war crimes. Experts believe that the decision of Sri Lanka to withdraw from UNHRC is an after effect of US move.

Why?

Today, China has taken the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka for a lease of 99 years. It is now used by the Chinese as a Naval base. There are more such upper hands of the Chinese in the internal political matters of Sri Lanka. With China’s greater presence in Sri Lanka and its defence forces, US was hesitant towards the Sri Lankan Army Chief visit to the US.

India and France to begin patrolling mission in Indian Ocean Region

India and France are to launch joint naval patrolling mission after the Varuna Naval Exercise that was held in May, 2019. The joint mission is to be executed in the Indian Ocean Region to protect the strategic interests of the countries and to check large scale illegal fishing.

Highlights

The Joint Patrol mission is to start in 2020. The navies will operate joint patrols with Indian Navy deploying P8I maritime surveillance and the French Navy operating from Reunion Islands. The Reunion Islands is an island of France in the Indian Ocean. It was discovered in 16th century by the Portuguese. France has bases in Reunion Islands, Djibouti and Mayottee to balance China.

Significance

The joint mission is important as China is expanding its naval influence in the region. China has increased its presence in the region through its strategic bases like Gwadar in Pakistan, Hamabantota in Sri Lanka and a key military facility in Djibouti, Horn of Africa.

Common interests

When two tankers were attacked in Strait of Hormuz in June 2019, both India and France decided to deploy one of their frigates in the area individually. Later, Indo-French pact was signed in which the countries agreed to share information between them in order to strengthen the security in the region.