February 26, 2021
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Strengthening grip
China’s strategic relations with Sri Lanka China has further strengthened its strategic grip over Sri Lanka, as the President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his May end visit to Beijing, his sixth after the elimination of LTTE leaders and hardcore cadres, sealed fresh agreements to deepen Chinese involvement not only in training Sri Lankan defence forces and other areas of defence cooperation but also expanded its arms in the port sector from Hambantota to Colombo. Hambantota, which has already become a geopolitically controversial port development project by the Chinese, will allow the Chinese naval ships the facilities to refuel and rest while the Colombo port will be another ‘Pearl in the String’ which the Chinese have carefully woven around India but claims ignorance of such a strategy. The latest Sri Lanka-China joint statement, declaring to raise the defence relations to the level of full strategic partnership will add more fuel to the strategic fire likely to engulf the Indian Ocean in the near future. This will increase the level of suspicion not only in Indian strategic circles but also the international powers like US and Japan would not like China to get a foothold in the region. The Blue Book The latest Chinese Blue Book, released on 9th June, 2013, delineating China’s future role and strategy in the Indian Ocean has raised enough eyebrows and the Sri Lanka-China strategic partnerships agreement is only a manifestation o
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