The deal follows China's use of the Belt and Road Initiative, as the country has been investing in the Port of Colombo, aiming to cements its position as the regional trade superpower.

The three partners will sign a memorandum of understanding by summer, and work will begin by next March.

Japan also has regional aspirations of its own and India is increasingly looking like a key artery of Asian and world trade through its International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC).

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Colombo is the largest port in Sri Lanka and handles 90% of the country’s seaborne goods. It connects Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and was the fastest growing port in the world in the first half of 2018, and the busiest in Southwest Asia.

Concluding, the project's goals are to increase the port's container volume and enhance marine transportation in and around South Asia.