The United States announced Monday it would grant Sri Lanka $39 million to boost maritime security as China develops its strategic hold on the Indian Ocean island.

The State Department will provide the funds as “foreign military financing”, pending congressional approval, the US embassy in Colombo said.

“We look forward to discussing with the government of Sri Lanka how this contribution can support our Bay of Bengal initiative and Sri Lanka’s humanitarian assistance and disaster response priorities,” it said.

It comes as China, the world’s second-largest economy, increases investment in ports and other building projects in Sri Lanka — a key link in its ambitious “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative.

Last week, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka announced it had secured a $1 billion Chinese loan as the island develops closer relations with Beijing.


Source: Seychelles News Agency