UK eying Trincomalee as naval base: Reports

Saturday, 12 January 2019 00:18 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Indeewara Thilakarathne

Trincomalee is reported to have been voted as the most favoured location for Britain’s ambitious plan to set up its military bases in South Asia in the post-Brexit era. 

Britain is expected to open military bases in South Asian country and Caribbean as a part of its ambitious plan to increase its military presence in the region in order to regain its position as a global player. 

Informed sources revealed that British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has hinted at Britain’s desire to set up military bases in South Asia, and likely locations are Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, Maldives or Singapore. 

In the post-Brexit era, if Britain moves to set up a military base in Trincomalee, the move would be welcomed by India and China, two regional powers. 

For the cash-strapped Sri Lankan Government, Britain moving into the port would offer an opportunity to make Trincomalee a profitable venture, in addition to avoiding inconvenient situation arising out of strategic importance of the port.  

The British Foreign Secretary has, in fact, reaffirmed what Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson revealed as reported in the Telegraph UK. 

“The Defence Secretary urges Britons to stop downplaying the country’s influence internationally and recognise that the UK will stand tall on the world stage after leaving the European Union,” Telegraph reports.   

Responding to queries over the possibility of setting up a military base in Trincomalee, although not denying Britain’s global role in the fields of defence and security, a British High Commission Colombo Spokesperson said that Britain had no such arrangements in Sri Lanka.

“While the UK is and will remain a global player on defence, security and foreign policy, we do not currently have plans for military basing arrangements in Sri Lanka.”