The United States Navy is doing a cargo transfer operation at Sri Lanka’s main international airport under a plan to use the island’s location to make it a military logistics hub, the U.S embassy in Colombo said.
Under the initiative, several U.S. naval aircraft are scheduled to land and depart from the Bandaranaike International Airport outside Colombo, a commercial airport, bringing in a variety of non-lethal supplies, a statement said.
The supplies will be transferred between planes and then flown to the U.S.S. John C. Stennis aircraft carrier at sea from January 21 to 29.
Supplies may include personal mail for sailors, paper goods, spare parts and tools, and other items, the embassy said.
No cargo, military equipment, or personnel associated with this initiative will remain in Sri Lanka after the completion of the cargo transfer.
“This is part of a larger temporary cargo transfer initiative that promotes Sri Lanka’s efforts to become a regional hub for logistics and commerce,” the statement said.
The January transfers will contribute about 25 million Sri Lankan rupees to the country’s economy.
“Sri Lanka’s leaders have outlined their vision for the country’s regional engagement that reflects its location at the nexus of the Indo-Pacific and seizes the opportunities that this unique position presents,” said U.S. Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz.
“We are happy to support this vision through a range of mutually beneficial initiatives, such as contracting Sri Lankan services and goods to support U.S. military and commercial vessels that often transit the Indo-Pacific’s busy sea lanes.”
This is the third iteration of the temporary cargo transfer initiative.
It follows two successful transfers that took place in August 2018 at Bandaranaike International Airport and Trincomalee and in December 2018 at Bandaranaike International Airport.
The statement said U.S.-Sri Lanka security cooperation encompasses a variety of joint exercises and training that has developed the skills and interoperability of both countries.