Why Sri Lanka yielded to Chinese pressure despite India’s veto

chinese ship “Yuan Wang 5” Despite India’s objections, it docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on Tuesday for a week-long ‘restocking’. , has been postponed. But China had the last laugh.

So what has changed between traditional allies India and Sri Lanka? I believe it is. Beijing is embarking on huge infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka and the Maldives to gain a foothold in the Indian Ocean as part of its plan to encircle India.

The injected funds are so huge that Sri Lanka is now in a Chinese debt trap. But that is not the only way Beijing can do it, and therefore not the only reason Sri Lanka has overcome India’s objections on the spy ship.

Sources say China has built strong contacts among Sri Lanka’s political elite. So much so that influential sections now sympathize with Beijing’s cause. It is a well-known fact that the disgraced Rajapakse family had strong ties with the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party. Members of Rajapakse’s party also reportedly openly lobbied in favor of Chinese ships docked at Hambantota.

Former public security minister and former naval officer Saras Weerasekara is said to have questioned the Sri Lankan government’s move to postpone the arrival of the former King V. He also reportedly tried to downplay India’s concerns during his meetings with Sri Lanka’s prime minister and president. , Mahinda Rajapakse was also present.

Another possible reason could be China’s threat to block the IMF bailout package for Sri Lanka. The island nation is battling its worst financial crisis since independence, with foreign debt with private creditors reaching her $12 billion. Now hoping to secure her $3 billion from the International Monetary Fund.

Apart from the above reasons, China is currently Sri Lanka’s largest investor and second largest lender, holding more than 10% of its outstanding external debt. Beijing has also repeatedly defended China against accusations at global human rights forums on the Tamil issue. No wonder, then, that Sri Lanka bows to Chinese pressure.

How China Soared in Lanka’s Race

Security analysts are concerned that China is eyeing projects in Sri Lanka’s northern islands to monitor Indian activity. gradually usurped its position as the largest importer of At the same time, India’s imports to Sri Lanka fell by nearly 20% of hers, while China’s imports fell by only 8% of hers. In 2005, China had only her 1% share of Sri Lanka’s official development assistance. Today, it has reached 23%, surpassing India and Japan.

Earlier last year, Sri Lanka canceled a lease for oil storage tanks in Trincomalee’s eastern port district awarded to the Indian Petroleum Corporation. It also canceled her $500 million trilateral deal with India and Japan to develop the Eastern Container Terminal at Colombo Port. Japan had already begun work on the terminal with funding from the World Bank and her ADB. The project was then taken over by a Chinese company.

Beijing is also developing Hambantota Port, strategically located in the Indian Ocean, and acquired a 99-year lease from Sri Lanka in 2017 after Sri Lanka failed to repay a $1.2 billion loan. Around 15,000 acres of land were also handed over. Other major countries such as India, Japan and the US are currently unwilling to invest in deep sea ports, leaving Sri Lanka to stick with China.

In November 2021, Beijing also bullied Sri Lanka into paying for contaminated fertilizer. Colombo told Qingdao Seawin Biotech that he not only had to pay $6.7 million for 20,000 tons of contaminated fertilizer, but also agreed to buy fresh stock from them.

READ | ‘Well equipped to meet the challenge’: India warns as Sri Lanka allows Chinese ships to dock in its waters Why Sri Lanka yielded to Chinese pressure despite India’s veto

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