22 October, 2020

Blog

Between Dragons & Elephants: Sri Lanka’s Dangerous Quest For Cash From China & India

By Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka –

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

“As the stand-off between the Indian and Chinese militaries enters its third month at Doklam…The entire neighbourhood is watching” – Suhashini Haider, The Hindu, 11.8.2017

There is a situation brewing about 4 kilometers away from the “crest of the mountain range separating the waters flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its affluents from the waters flowing into the Thibetan Machu and northwards”. These lyrical words in the 1890 Tibet-Sikkim Convention between the British and Qing Empires, define the boundaries between China and Bhutan, which China cites in its claim for territory at the border in Doklam in its on-going dispute with India since June this year.[i]

Sudheendra Kulkarni, head of Observer Research Foundation, writing on the 22nd of August 2017 warned that “…the current deepening mistrust between India and China…even carries the seeds of an armed conflict over the prolonged military standoff at Doklam.”

India’s other neighbours are watching the situation closely, but is Sri Lanka? Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has already said it “will not get dragged into this or that side in the border dispute”.

While border disputes are common on the India-China border, and the foreign editor of the Hindustan Times, Pramit Paul Chaudri writes that it is almost a weekly event along the disputed Himalayan border, there is something different about this particular dispute. Indian commentators point out that it is the first time that “it is not taking place in Indian soil or Indian claimed territory”.[ii]

Today, as both countries expand their interests regionally and globally, Chaudri points out that India and China are “more likely to run into each other in third countries”. In the context of the rapidly changing dynamics between these two emerging powers in our region and indeed globally, Chaudri argues that “a new set of understandings will need to be worked out in the coming decades. Unfortunately, as has happened in the past, it will take a number of crises at a number of flashpoints to occur before New Delhi and Beijing accept the goalposts have shifted and the playbook needs to be updated.”

Of great concern to Sri Lanka is his conclusion that “it is in this transition period during which miscalculations are most likely to happen.”

Why is the Doklam stand-off of relevance to Sri Lanka? It brings home sharply the vulnerabilities inherent in the current relationship between China and India, which has now for the first time, spilled over into the territory of another country, Bhutan. And with each day, the tensions have escalated. There have been stones thrown at each other at the border. Unprecedentedly, the most recent reports indicate some acts of physical aggression, although Chaudri writes that, “none of the soldiers carry weapons and have had no physical contact”.

There is a perception at least in some Indian diplomatic circles that Doklam represents an act of arrogance on the part of China. Jeff M. Smith, Director of Asian Security at the American Foreign Policy Council writes in a piece entitled ‘High Noon in the Himalayas’ that “One senior diplomat…recently explained to me that the PLA’s border activities are orchestrated by Beijing…They are designed to embarrass India’s leadership…underscoring Modi’s inability to secure India’s sovereign borders…No issue has garnered more friction than China’s creeping inroads into both the Indian Ocean and the subcontinent.”[iii]

The danger to Sri Lanka’s lies in this perception, in view of the plans to lease for several decades the Mattala airport to India, less than 24 kilometers away from the Hambantota seaport and a large swathe of surrounding land which has been leased to China for 99 years. Sri Lanka has to be suicidal to even consider leasing this airport to India, situated so close to the Chinese owned (at least for the next 99 years) seaport of Hambantota. Standing empty at the moment, India’s interest in it is surely not for Mattala’s enormous profitability. And no one could be more aware of this than China.

It is commonly believed that India played a role in Sri Lanka’s change of government at the elections held two years ago which brought the Unity Government to power. However, while the leader of the UNP promised during campaigning to shut the Colombo Port City project as soon as the ‘unity’ coalition wins, and did stop all work there and in Hambantota for several months, which must have pleased the Indian Government not to mention the other geopolitical player in the region, the United States, the new government re-started the projects on far more favourable terms to China so as to compensate the latter for the losses incurred by the disruption.

Suhashini Haider puts it bluntly when she writes that “India must recognize that picking sides in the politics of its neighbours makes little difference to China’s success…” She recognizes that Sri Lanka and indeed the Maldives did little to change course after their governments changed and calls India’s UPA’s role in these outcomes a mistake. She also states that India was accused of bringing Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka “Prachanda” to replace Prime Minister Oli in 2016 in Nepal. She urges the Indian government that doing better with its neighbours “is about following a policy of mutual interest and respect”.

While many hope that the Doklam stand-off may get resolved when the leaders of both countries attend the BRICS summit in the first week of September, some worry that it will depend on whether the “boundary contest escalates in to a full blown India-China crisis…It might just push New Delhi to weigh options for a bilateral deal with the US”.[iv] This will have far reaching consequences for the region.

In a different time, in the past, Sri Lanka which cannot remain unmindful of developments in the region, could have been expected to play a role to defuse tensions. Nimmi Kurian, Associate Professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi and Faculty Advisor, India China Institute at The New School, New York, describes the growing dispute in Doklam as “the larger normative contest between India and China for regional leadership”. She laments that “India’s crisis of diplomacy has often worked without a credible notion of what the endgame is”. (This description seems far more apt for the Unity Government of Sri Lanka than for India.) However, she offers a solution. She asks if “as a possible exit strategy from the stand-off, could India signal some sort of a qualified engagement in the OBOR initiative?” She contends that this is not so far-fetched since India is already a participant in AIIB and the Bangladesh- China- India- Myanmar Economic corridor. One can only hope that the BRICS summit will provide the platform to explore such strategies.

Colombo’s Unity Government made much of the large debt it is supposed to have inherited when it assumed power two years ago, and announced to the country that it had no option but to lease Hambantota to China to settle those debts. Unfortunately things didn’t stop at that. Since then, it has been looking to sell as many assets as it can to other countries/foreign companies for ready cash. The Government’s policy makers seem unable to find another way which doesn’t endanger Sri Lanka’s national interest. They seem loath to even consider exercising the critical restraints on ownership by limiting foreign investment to a proportion which ensures Sri Lankan control of the assets. Their first priority seems to be to sell something to India, ostensibly for more cash, but more likely to appease and reassure it that Sri Lanka is not veering in the direction of China and is willing to balance off China by readjusting to India’s geopolitical ambitions.

On his visit to Delhi, the PM was in discussion with India about leasing Sri Lanka’s most treasured asset, the Trincomalee harbor, amidst protests by the Opposition, trade unions, professional associations and citizens. But now the government has embarked on a project that may turn the deep south of our country into a needlessly “disputed area”, by invitation.

Shashank Joshi, Senior Research Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in London, writes that “Even before the [Doklam] crisis, India-China relations were at their lowest ebb in a decade.”[v] He suggests three reasons that may have contributed to India’s sense of grievance as “Beijing’s growing support for Pakistan, the sweeping Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), obstruction of India’s efforts to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).” As for China’s attitude towards India, Joshi suggests that a geopolitical factor that may have influenced it as “India’s growing relationship with the United States and Japan…” in addition to feeling “slighted by India’s public denunciation of BRI in May.”

These unresolved and burgeoning issues at the heart of the relationship between these two regional giants (one of which is a global economic giant) who are solicited to make heavy investments in Sri Lanka, have to be factors in Sri Lanka’s own foreign policy, strategic and security calculations.

What is the government thinking? The supposed competence at economics and foreign affairs of the UNP, the decision making partner of the Unity Government, is increasingly looking like just a shadow of a glorious past, artificially enhanced by PR firms more recently. The President is either unwilling or unable to steer the county in the right direction in this time of complex geopolitical contestation, a task he has abdicated to the Prime Minister, whom he considers vastly more proficient in such matters than he. The citizens are now more than ever concerned that all this falls far short of what it takes to run a country.

Iskander L. Rahman, a former associate in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment, writing on the Doklam stand-off, quotes a Bhutani journalist’s wry comment that they have so far avoided “both the fire from the Dragon on our heads and also the Elephant’s tusks in our soft underbelly”. It is hoped that Sri Lanka does not voluntarily prepare a battleground on its soil for Dragons and Elephants to test their relative strengths. We will not survive it as a single county.


[i] Dhruva Jaishankar http://www.chinafile.com/conversation/why-are-china-and-india-border-standoff

[ii] Manoj Gosh, 7.8.2017, www.chinafile.com

[iii] https://warontherocks.com/2017/07/high-noon-in-the-himalayas-behind-the-china-india-standoff-at-doka-la/

[iv] Pranab Dhal Samantha, 23.8.2017, Economic Times

[v] http://www.chinafile.com/conversation/why-are-china-and-india-border-standoff

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    This India coming…china is coming is… just nonsense. How about IMF comes and world bank comes and they screw us up. Mahinda Rajapakse was intellignet but he became another Ferdinand Marcos and the whole family began to rob the country. Even todate, most of the america’s big building s a owned by Japan an big industries in Japan are co-owned by americans. It is the same thing with China. There are american businesses inside China. It is the same thing with Russia. Only thing is unlike India china is not allowing Americans to completely suck oput life blood. what I heard In India, some time ago, Minister for Railways, when european railway engines arrived, asked mechanics to disassemble one engine completely apart. Then he asked engineers to manufacture what ever they can in India. What happens in Sri lanka, even todate they do not want to build railway compartments in Sri lanka. It is about 35 years ago, they wanted it. The reason, Politicians are simply thieves. Otherwise, Journalists are also pathetic. they are scholars for just oneday and right BS stories. If we don’t want anyone to read the rules for us, simply do it in Sri lanka. But, politicians have simply destroyed everything that they can in order to sty in power. Dumb journalists are riding the wave and they are not doing anything helpful or constructive.

    • 4
      0

      Sanja,
      The root cause of all the malaise is reckless spending by your patriotic hero, MR, and false percetions of “development” by the population.
      Do we really need first- world expressways in a third-world country?. All highways seem to lead to Colombo. This encourages every provincial vehicle user to go and clog up the streets of Colombo. We must provide decent rail and bus transport even at a higher cost, instead of fancy expressways. Even India does not have expressways of our type, but their economy is far ahead of ours and they are not in debt.
      As to Hambantota harbour, most of its income comes from Indian originated vehicle tras- shipments. India is now developing deep-water ports in Kerala and AP. So quite soon we will have to start our own VW factory to keep Hambantota going. Perhaps that is the idea the Chinese have in mind for their economic zone.

      Why ARE we in debt? Because we prefer to live in fancy air-conditioned buildings and travel in individual luxury cars. There are many ways to design buildings to use less electricity, but all we see are endless energy-guzzling towers. This is typical of our “clean suit empty pocket ” syndrome.
      Getting our priorities right is the first step

      • 1
        0

        Just because MR was foolish and corrupt, that is not a reason for My3 and RW to be even more so. The fact remains that in the event of a conflict between China and India or the U.S., we will be in the center of that, because China will definitely station ships and troops. No question. Why did the late President Kennedy ensure that the Soviets removed their rockets from Cuba in 1959/1960? It is a very real danger and of course our foolish politicos and their supporters will hide their heads in the sand but this is here to stay. I have always said, just depend on ourselves. How did we do till 1978? Just sit back and CONSIDER without screaming that all is well. It is not well.

      • 1
        0

        Old codger,

        You have been artculating it as no other.
        But the point is even if anyone would have been raped on day light by MR thugs, stupid majority would not stand against him.
        May be the reason, they have been made YATATHWAESIYA for ever.
        Just for a rice packet, Rajapakshes have been able to instipulate high murders in this country.
        But people dont want them to be arrested
        Why ?
        Not rajapakshe but punnaku eating majority folks are to be blamed or not ?
        I think most abusive people no second pakistanis are living in this country.
        Looking at the nation being out of the country, makes me an ugly picture about majortiy folks.
        Just not knowing why they are blessed with the golden universal franchise.
        They dont know how much they have been made powerful by that vote power.
        These folks are no means the highest literate folks in SA.
        They are just idiots, so long they are there, we have to live like Burghers in the country. Burghers have been neglected not even havin gtheir Parliament representatives .. that is why they have left for other desitnations. We talk about MINORITY rights, but there are lot more untold stories about that even that have never been touched. God bless SL

    • 0
      0

      Jim, I fully endorse every word you have written here.

    • 5
      2

      The latest update in Border conflict around Bhutan is that China is backing off. India took a firm stand to tell China where to get off by amassing its troops. There was a waning that if china tries to be funny, the entire Chinese deployment would be wiped out by laser technology. The recent visit of Indian Premier to Israel has something to say about this tough behaviour of India Times have changed and China has now made to realise that India is not a soft target anymore as what happened during Nehru’s times of “Panchaseela”. China has to eat the humble noodles and back off. In Srilanka, India is making a big mistake of treating Srilanka as a friendly state, due to the Indian anti-Tamil policy formulated by racist north Indians and corrupt Keralites. India’s success as a super power around Indian ocean depends on the support of Tamils, who had been the masters of this region in pre western past. It is time India embraces Tamils and show the stick to Srilanka similar to what it had done to China recently and Pakistan always to bring them to their knees.

      • 2
        0

        Dr GS
        It may do you some good to read less biased accounts of the Sino-Indian border dispute published in Indian journals by political historians like Noorant in the Frontline.

        • 2
          0

          IGround reality is different from what has been written by these authors. Fact us that since US is with India at present, China cannot do anything as it likes. If China was so powerful, why has it not invaded Taiwan, which is backed by US. In modern days with technology, you do not need man power to win a war.

          • 0
            0

            Dr GS
            Have you read anything on the history of the dispute or records of the conflict?
            *
            BTW, ground reality refers mainly to current events. I was talking about history, which your off the cuff comments ignore altogether.
            To you a war seems like a match in which you cheer one side.
            Sorry, I am not a promoter of conflict between countries or people.

            • 1
              0

              Do you endorse Chinese takeover of Tibet. China had border dispute with Britain which China failed to settle diplomatically or militarily as Britain was powerful. After Britain left and India was weak due to cockeyed policies of Nehru, China was able to dictate terms. Since China accepted a position with Britain, it should have continued to maintain status quo. Except for the war in 1962 where China invaded parts of Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, China never attempted to go further. Now with the new found wealth, China has become arrogant and is trying to dominate the world. The Silk route programmes and Debt trap methods are part and parcel of this ploy. In south China sea, china is blatantly aggressing occupying islands and creating new islands to claim superiority over the area. Should you blame other countries if they go to war with China over these issues if China is not willing to behave in a reasonable manner.

              • 0
                1

                Dr GS, “Now with the new found wealth, China has become arrogant and is trying to dominate the world”. China is not alone in that department. India is in the same boat, having become arrogant with new found wealth and trying to dominate the region. Modernized China (post 1980), unlike India, is yet to annex or amend constitutions of neighboring countries.

              • 0
                0

                One could endorse China taking over what was legitimately part of China far better than what the US has done in various parts of the world or for that matter India has in Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur and even more brazenly in Sikkim.
                (In fact the entire West accepts that Tibet was part of China, but for a few– that too much after Dalai Lama became putty in their hands.)

          • 0
            0

            Dr GS, Power alone is not always sufficient to invade. China may not have invaded Taiwan for reasons similar to US not having invaded North Korea for last 53 years. Hopefully, China has studied and learnt from lessons US learned from its adventures in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq and Afghanistan

            • 1
              0

              “Power alone is not always sufficient to invade”. This is true only after the second world war, when the new world order recognised sovereignty of countries. Prior to second world war, powerful countries invaded weak ones. USA failed partially in Korean conflict and totally in Vietnam conflict. Russia failed in Afghanistan and now USA is in trouble there. Due to these experiences USA will be careful in making a decision to invade North Korea. They are waiting for an opportunity for North Korea to make a blunder due to the lunatic President, so that USA will not be blamed as the aggressor. The Chinese debacle in Vietnam where a powerful nation was humbled by a minion proves your point.

            • 0
              0

              J-100
              No political historian has claimed that China had plans to invade Taiwan or for that matter Hong Kong or Macau.
              Whether you like the Chinese leaders or not, you can see that they conduct business with greater finesse than the leaders of the imperial west or for that matter India.

        • 2
          0

          SJ

          “It may do you some good to read less biased accounts of the Sino-Indian border dispute published in Indian journals by political historians like Noorant in the Frontline.”

          You mean India is the aggressor and Socialist China is the peacefully rising middle kingdom?

      • 1
        0

        Dr GS, did you hear the latest? India has begun withdrawing its troops from Doklam Pass. Do investigate and educate us lesser mortals reasons for sudden volte turn. China states, it is happy with Indian decision but will monitor area closely. There was no mention of China withdrawing her troops.

        • 2
          0

          You are correct that India has withdrawn its troops, not completely, which may have been on the advice of some international players. US has stated that they will help India in this conflict with china if asked for. China is in fact amassing its troops, but what is the benefit of doing so, if they cannot take a step forward.

          • 0
            0

            Dr GS, making noises and providing moral support notwithstanding, US is mindful of the billions of US Treasury Bills held by China. En-cashing even half of it would send US economy into a tail spin. US will think deep and hard before precipitating such a situation on behalf of India or any other ally.

            • 0
              0

              J-100
              You are right.
              But you seem to take too seriously the fantasy that it will intervene on behalf of India.
              These are the kind of people who still imagine that the US will intervene in Sri Lanka.

            • 2
              0

              Similarly China is dependant on US and Europe for their exports. You can see the cheap Chinese stuff that has flooded the market in these countries. China’s recent acquired wealth is due to this and not due to any natural resources. If these countries stop imports of even cutting half of them, Chinese economy will be sent into a tail spin. So China will never antagonise USA directly. It is said that in the next decade, India will take the place of China in flooding markets of USA and Europe with cheap goods, which will make china irrelevant. Also there are several Chinese investments and money in these countries which will be frozen during conflict which will affect China badly. USA need not support India openly, it will get Israel to do the dirty work, and does not the recent visit of Modi to Israel ring a bell to you.

              • 0
                0

                Dr SG, China with 1.5 bil population which is bigger than US and EU population will always have a domestic market for its goods as an alternate market. It will be further enhanced wiz OBOR. Fact is, both US and China will not destroy each other for any body else’s sake. Certainly not for Doklam Pass!

        • 1
          1

          China has mostly done its its best to avoid military confrontation.
          The conflict with USSR in 1969 over an island in the R. Ussuri (Wusuli) and the serious conflict with India in 1962 were results of a series of provocations.
          China erred in its judgment in 1979 to enter into a war with Vietnam. There were outsiders who encouraged Vietnam to take an anti-China stand in the post-liberation period. The Vietnam–Cambodia conflict was a factor too. But China could have handled the matter with sensitivity.
          Now, amid US-prompted conflicts in the region, China has acted with much caution, so that peaceful resolution is still a possibility.
          India has meddled in the internal affairs of nearly all neighbours and has stationed it troops on foreign soil.
          *
          Bhutan is a virtual colony of India. Elections in Bhutan were meddled with by India when Bhutan a few years ago tried to develop commercial relations with China.
          Acts of provocation by India in a region involving Bhutan are not purely India’s making. Other forces are at play. I hope that wisdom will prevail and there is no armed conflict, much to the dismay of some who want to drag China into war.

          • 1
            0

            My dear SJ,
            “China erred in its judgment in 1979 to enter into a war with Vietnam. There were outsiders who encouraged Vietnam”
            In spite of your attempts to whitewash China for ideological reasons , it is a fact that practically all its smaller neighbours do not quite trust China though they may take its money. The same can be said of India too.
            In 2015, there was a diplomatic spat with Malaysia over the Chinese ambassador saying that China would not tolerate (anti- Chinese) racism in Malaysia. China has large investments in Malaysia.

            • 0
              0

              Romani,
              The Chinese property developments in Malaysia are being sold to thousands of Chinese buyers. This is raising fears among Malays of being swamped by rich Chinese.
              This may be the Chinese game plan in Port City too. Look forward to anti- Chinese riots in Colombo.

              • 0
                0

                OC
                Malaysia has a large Ethnic Chinese population. You know how the notorious Bhumiputra policy discriminated against all non-Malays.
                China’s capitalists do no favours to any; and wealthy Malaysian Chinese will invest their money in secure forms of wealth. They are already rich and buying into Chinese property development cannot create a new group of rich Malaysian Chinese.
                *
                As for Sri Lanka–
                There are not many Chinese residing here on long-term basis. Already India and other parties are interested in moving into Port City. So there is competition for getting hammered by local thugs.
                If there really are to be riots, going by the country’s recent political history, the Chinese will have to queue behind the Muslims, Tamils, Evangelical Christians, Roman Catholics and the more visible Indian businessmen.

                • 2
                  0

                  SJ, your knowledge and understanding is far from satisfactory.
                  1. Malaysia – After the 1969 anti-Chinese riots, both Malays and Chinese came to an agreement that Chinese will not interfere with Malay dominance in administration and Malays will not interfere with Chinese dominance in economy and until now it is holding. This is the success of Malaysia where Chinese prosperity and not Malay Bhumiputra policy that has raised the living standard of Malays. Malays know the consequence of anti-Chinese riots after what happened to Indonesia under Suharto. Due to the riots, Indonesian economy fell with their foreign assets frozen and the loss of east Timor. Therefore Malays will think twice before embarking on a anti-Chinese riot. It is the Indians especially Tamils who are backward due to racist policies pf Malays and tight grip on the economy by Chinese. If you analyse correctly the few Malays who prospering are not pure Malays but recent hybrids of Chinese and Indian ancestry.

                • 2
                  0

                  2 Srilanka – Yes there are not many Chinese at present, but what is the guarantee that this will increase in the future. You seem to be unaware of the status of port city. For your information 20 hectares have been sold in perpetuity to China, which only of China hands back, it is lost for Srilanka. In this area they can populate any amount of Chinese as it is their land, about which Srilanka can do nothing. Another 180 hectares have been leased out to China for 99 years and Srilanka has to wait that long to take possession. In these two areas, without Chinese permission, even Srilanka president cannot enter, no one could raise Srilanka flag, no Srilanka aircraft can fly over and no Srilanka ships or fishing boats can land. It is only in the balance 270 hectares which will under Srilanka that anyone including India can invest or even visit. So much for the sovereignty of Srilaanka. therefore Sinhala thugs can run amok only in this part of port city.

            • 0
              0

              romani
              The point that I made was that China has generally tried to avert armed conflict.
              *
              I am no admirer of capitalist China.
              You may read any meaning into what I said to fit your prejudices, but that makes you none the wiser.

              • 1
                0

                SJ

                “I am no admirer of capitalist China.”

                However, just admit you love your Socialist or otherwise China which could do no wrong. I do occasionally meet people who still want to be Mao’s b***s carriers like the ones who admire Stalin, Hitler, Churchill, Pol Pot, Abimael Guzmán, VP, MR, Gota, ……………. and other mass murderers.

        • 1
          0

          Dr GS says
          “If china tries to be funny, the entire Chinese deployment would be wiped out by laser technology”
          Soma

        • 1
          0

          Jurassic
          Dr GS has to be right. So there is always an explanation.
          His new explanation implies that it acts on US advice. Would it mean that its attempt to create a stir was also based on US advice?

      • 2
        2

        Dr.GS
        It will be a mutual hostage situation. India can embrace Tamils and show the stick to Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka can shove the stick up the Tamils. If India imposes a trade embargo or economic sanctions China will keep supplying through Hambantota. It is with this long term vision that Hambantota habor was built at that colossal cost. Rajapaksa got the Chinese to construct it and Ranil handed over the ownership. All this tit for tat it unnessary if racist donkeys like you who live abroad realise what is in the best interests of Tamils trapped in the island. Dr GS please give them a break, some breathing space, after Prabhakaran.
        Soma

        • 2
          0

          Soma you are the biggest donkey due to your racist mind set. Do not worry, soon Tamils will shove the stick up the Sinhalese as what is happening in UK to Sinhala racists. You are displaying your stupidity when you say China built the Harbour at a colossal cost with a long term vision to counter any economic embargo imposed on Srilanka by India. China built the Hambantota port primarily to use it to control Indian ocean by spying on vessels passing in that busy sea lane and for nothing else. If India is going to enforce an economic embargo on Srilanka, it will be with the full support of USA and west and all measures will be taken to prevent any Chinese attempts to sabotage it. No ships will be allowed to land in any of Srilanka port which includes Hambantota. A simple blockade of Malacca straits by USA and its allies will cripple Chinese manoeuvres altogether and to break it, China has to go to war. Remember that Andaman Islands which is an Indian territory is only a few miles from Malacca Straits, and USA and its allies could use it to effect this blockade. Now that China cannot take on India in the northern front as evidenced by the Chinese debacle recently, it is only an imbecile like you who still think that China could do wonders in the southern front. India equipped with western weaponry has a superior fire power over China with its inferior domestically made armoury. Yes Tamils are trapped in the island and it is time for the international community to step in and liberate them from Sinhala terrorists like you, which is sure to happen and will take place much earlier if a third world war breaks out.

        • 2
          0

          somass ji

          Please stick to your Sinhala/Buddhist ghetto rhetoric and leave the geopolitical analysis to the experts.

          ‘It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. -Mark Twain’

      • 0
        1

        I hope you are a medical doctor? he heeh eee

        • 2
          0

          You are one of the Sinhala racists in UK, living like a dog with the tail tucked between your legs. Can you openly carry out hate campaign in UK against Tamils without ending up in prison.

    • 0
      0

      Jim Bumsy ?

      Please tell us what DJ has done to this nation during the last 5 years, except his renowed carrier towards rabblerousing ?

      What a worth of a doctorate if the guys is caught by culprits.
      The very same is valid to Malinda Senrviartne whose writings are proved to be fine but not a smidgeon of his knowledge seems helping this nation.

    • 0
      0

      IMF, World Bank has ONLY funds to disperse and they do so on terms suited for a Developing Country such as Sri Lanka based on LIBOR rates. China gave loans at mind boggling rates, insisted that the technical and labour were all from China, purchases were also from China. And they did two projects, the harbour and the airport which European, Canadian and U.S companies, who have no ulterior motives, clearly said were NOT feasible!! Tell me, Mr. Softly would Britain, Germany or Sweden which monetarily and materially built the Mahaweli system have undertaken these two stupid projects which now is the cause of the national debt and a serious socio-political issue??!! Tell me. Tell us all if you can.

      • 0
        0

        K, you said
        “European, Canadian and U.S companies, who have no ulterior motives”
        *
        You do have a good sense of humor.

  • 0
    1

    [Edited out] Comments should not exceed 300 words. Please read our Comments Policy for further details.

    • 2
      0

      Sanja,

      It’s nice to see two ladies’ articles back to back here in the forum. It’s an encouraging sign when the great forward-looking nation-builder and statesman Ranil wants to increase female representation in governance to at least a minimum of 25%. Now, a male chauvinist pig like me is not allowed to be nasty to you. But still gotta counter some of your points.

      …………………………………..

      There are 2 sides to this shindig …………..
      First the construction of the Harbour and the Airport ………….
      And, once constructed, what do we do with them?
      …………………………………..
      First, ………… were they constructed as great national monuments to show progress or were they constructed as commercial entities?
      If you say they were constructed as monuments, I have no argument with you.
      But here comes the dishonesty part from your side …………….. you are compelled to say they were constructed as commercial entities.
      Then, the question that needs to be asked is …….. would you construct a shopping-mall is the middle of Wilpattu or Yala? Would you construct a gas-station where there are no roads?
      There are many ghost shopping-malls around the world where they got the initial evaluations wrong …………. or didn’t foresee the impact of Amazon.
      …………………………………..
      Now, that they are built ……. what do we do with them?
      So, on to, theory and practice
      We can theorize this to kingdom come …………….. So, let us get away from theory and look at the practical side.
      How did Mahinda show the commercial viability of the harbour and the airport?
      Diverted vehicle-carriers from the Colombo to the Hambanthota harbour. And got planes to take off from Katunayake and Land in Mattala five minutes later!
      Stalin, Hitler, Fidel, Saddham, Mahinda ………….. can do it but even in a make-believe democracy it’s a wee bit difficult to do without copping the wrath of the people – without people marching up and down the Lipton Circus with JO’s goading.

    • 2
      0

      Continued
      ……………………..
      To hell with all the cockamamie theory but in practice this is what happened! You guys who are oh so good at theorizing, can you formulate a theory for commercial flights to take off and land five minutes later? In other parts of the world, this kind of madness will empty staff from any psychiatric hospital in 5 seconds flat. But in Lanka it’s considered normal behaviour. And people with all the suffixes and prefixes in their names come and write long tomes as if nothing is wrong. It’s hard to believe this crap if one is not forced to live through it!
      ………………………………….
      Sure we should not sell/lease our assets – if we can help it.
      So, the question all you guys so deftly avoid! What do we do with the harbour and the Airport? Do we carry on with force-diverting ships from Colombo? Do we get planes to take off from Katunayake and land in Mattala? This was the solution of the great visionary Mahinda ……… why are you guys so silent; not give him credit for his great-vision? How can you be so forgetful? Now it’s left for me, a raving cynic, to remind you, his ardent supporters, about the deeds of this great Lankan visionary! It’s a little unfair.
      ………………………………..
      There are many Indian-Chinese software-development teams in commercial entities working together, around the world, for common commercial goals. So, who knows? They might pull it off. ………… If not, they say, that nuclear-fire is the best for a barbecue.
      …………………………………
      Mahinda had a power-drunk frenzied wild night of passion and produced two babies ………. he wants them to have his name but wants others to pay child-maintenance ……….. Hope you and the guy next to you have no such ideas! Ah what’s one more baby ………… we poor sods out here have paid for them since 1948 …………….

      • 2
        0

        Nimal F,
        “Sure we should not sell/lease our assets – if we can help it”
        These are all liabilities NOT assets. I hear the “expressways” too are on offer now. Good job.

  • 3
    0

    Dear Madam Sanja,
    Your husband and you are from Colombo elites. Your husband did not like JVP and later he liked EPRLF and not the LTTE or other groups. You do not like any of these groups.

    Imagine if all these youths of SL had channelled their energies together and took over the governing from other major parties of course through peaceful means like BC pact and DC pact where will SL be now ?

    Unity is strength. Who killed the unity of SriLankans since 1956 ? The major political parties using language, race and religion still killing the unity.

    There is a plant- a creeper It is called “Ipomoea Pes-Carae “. In Sinhalese “Muhudu-bin-tambara “. In Tamil “Adamban “
    Do you know the real characteristics of this plant when it grows together with its kind as a group ?

    Madam Sanja promote unity and cohesion among SriLankans ,and not canvassing for the MaRa regime ro come back.

    If your husband & you love the country fight also for better law & order in the country. Then both of you have some chance to become smart patriots.

    • 2
      0

      Non PhD, all what you and we pray are just like playing violine to the deaf elephant when it goes with DJ and his 4th Wife.
      So, Please keep your energies. We cant change those mind sets. They are inherited them.
      I really dont think DJ behaves as if he is coming from Colombo Elite family.
      Had his father been alive today, not MR, but he would be the first to cut his belly not being able to see, how his own blood has been caught by thugs – led by former zimbabwian style lanken leader.

      • 1
        0

        I believe, he is suffering from COLITIS.

        Please ask him to join the following foundation where, he would then be treated with stool implant.
        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4907653/
        Atleast after that he will sense it as I feel it.

  • 3
    0

    A fantastic tale of B.S. and utter false hood.
    Must say though, good imagination.

  • 3
    0

    Sri Lanka is irrelevant and has no influence in the SAARC region as well as in the world stage

  • 2
    0

    Neither country should give any money, because most of it ends up in politicians foreign bank accounts.

  • 3
    0

    Projects in Hambantota such as Port, airport and cricket Stadium were not built with economic progress of Srilanka but to satisfy the megalomaniacal intention of one man. Chinese are doing the same thing in other third world countries where they get round corrupt heads of state with bribes and make them to agree to such white elephants, and when the recipient countries are unable to pay back the loans given on commercial interest rate, they are caught in a debt trap and made to concede shylock type of demands by China to use their lands and resources. This has happened to Srilanka and sadly other countries in Africa and even Malaysia are not willing to learn from the pathetic state that Srilanka has been dragged into. Hambantota port is only of Military value for China to monitor and control shipping lanes in Indian ocean. Commercially it has to compete with Colombo port and has no chance of intruding into Singapore or Dubai ports. 90 % of Cargo handed by Colombo are transhipment to ports in eastern India and Bangladesh. Very soon that is going to dry up as India is developing ports in Kerala and Tuticorin to handle these transhipment. As for the airport it is of no use at all as the population in Srilanka are far away from it. Talk about developing southern province like Singapore put forward by China is a load of bullshit. India has agreed to take over Hambantota airport not expecting it to be a commercial success, but as a measure to counter influence of china in the south as well as spy on the global agenda of the Chinese.

    • 1
      1

      You seem to have a load of insider information on how the Chinese espionage system works. I wonder if you are allowed to reveal your sources.
      *
      Both Mattala and Hambantota were SL government choices.
      If the airport is dead duck as you say, why is India craving for control over it?

      • 0
        0

        I pity you intellectual status. Mattala and Hambantota are not SL government choices. Those including the cricket stadium are Mahinda’s choice, because he wanted to establish his name in eternity in the area of his ancestry. If Chinese had offered to build a harbour in Puttalam of an airport in Hingurakgoda, it would have been a non-starter. This is how Chinese are luring corrupt heads of state by telling rosy stories and putting them up on a gum tree. Hambantota was specially selected by Chinese to monitor sea lanes and when it was put to Mahinda to build a harbour in his name on soft loan with a cut for him, he readily agreed. Anyone with a iota of intelligence will say that Mattala airport is commercially not viable as had been shown during the last few years of its operation. Imagine a person living in Kandy to be asked to use Mattala instead of Colombo for his travels, and I am sure he will turn abusive. India wants Mattala to checkmate China in the region and not for any economic gain. I will not be surprised that all the planes landing in Mattala will be Indian Air Force planes and all the staff there are Indian servicemen and spies. By this Hambantota area is going to be a battle zone albeit without weapons between India and China to the detriment of Srilanka.

  • 1
    0

    dj’s wife has emerged from the woodwork to buttress his views
    since no one takes him seriously
    wonder what tissaranee has to say on the subject?

    • 2
      0

      Dont worry.
      It is so simple. JO has manipulated DJ

      DJ has manipulated Sandya.
      This has worked as a chain reaction.

      Had this lady been that intelligent, would she ever have been married to DJ ?
      DJ is born lone wolf.
      He has only interested in getting posted to somewhere.
      Tell us anyone with a bird brain, what this bugger has done to the country during the last 3 years ?
      Actually he as many other diplomats have collected experience.
      So he could give them to his junior men.
      Has he ever thought of doing so rather than hung on to Wimal Buruwasnse s stupidities ?

  • 1
    0

    Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka in “Between Dragons & Elephants: Sri Lanka’s Dangerous Quest For Cash From China & India” writes a lot about the Sino-Indian crisis.
    Lanka is being used as a football when they not bombing each other – nuke on the ready.
    The fundamental question is “Why is Lanka willing to be kicked around?”.
    Both countries helped to win the infamous civil war. Both are well known for corruption. China identified the corrupt Lankans. The impression is that certain politicians became filthy rich as result of the war and the rest is obvious developments.
    The “dangerous quest for cash” came about because politicians created and exploited the language/religion divide. This is being resurrected in time for the next election.
    Sanja: Here is the clue as to how to get out of the quicksand.

    • 2
      0

      K.Pillai

      ” “Why is Lanka willing to be kicked around?”

      Perhaps Sinhala/Buddhism as the national fascist ideology demand the rulers to constantly kick their people around. Their fascist leaders and theocracy kick them around where impossible they import foreigners to do it for them. They must have got the wrong idea, that ‘pain is a liberating force’.

      As far as Hindia is concerned Sri Lanka is a Sinhala state of Hindia.
      However China believes Indian ocean is not India’s ocean.
      Is it possible to reconcile these two positions?

    • 3
      2

      Those who got rich by the war were beneficiaries of various legitimate and illegitimate arms dealers including the West.
      No corrupt economic deal involving China or India can match what happened in the Accelerated Mahaveli Project.

  • 3
    0

    Whatever talked about Indo-China border conflict, there is not going to be outright war unless there is a third world war. There is nothing Srilanka can do to avoid any impact it will have. But it is inevitable that Sri lanka should have a good relationship and any effort to undermine this relationship will have a significant impact on Srilanka and its population. We should remember that Srilanka faced a 30 year civil war not because of LTTE but because of India. India helped LTTE but did not allow LTTE to win the war. Similarly, Srilanka won the war with LTTE but Mahinda lost his rule because he turned against to India after the war. The Tamil problem still remains unresolved and India wanted to keep that alive. Why? India knows very well about Sinhalese and Sinhala cheating politics. They don’t trust Sinhala politicians . India still have Tamil militants and still capable of creating a Tamil government in Srilanka. Mahinda politics and Dayan Jeyatileka’s anti- Indian propagnda will definitely have negative impact on Sinhala massess.

  • 3
    2

    China has mostly done its its best to avoid military confrontation.
    The conflict with USSR in 1969 over an island in the R. Ussuri (Wusuli) and the serious conflict with India in 1962 were results of a series of provocations.
    China erred in its judgment in 1979 to enter into a war with Vietnam. There were outsiders who encouraged Vietnam to take an anti-China stand in the post-liberation period. The Vietnam–Cambodia conflict was a factor too. But China could have handled the matter with sensitivity.
    Now, amid US-prompted conflicts in the region, China has acted with much caution, so that peaceful resolution is still a possibility.
    India has meddled in the internal affairs of nearly all neighbours and has stationed it troops on foreign soil.
    *
    Bhutan is a virtual colony of India. Elections in Bhutan were meddled with by India when Bhutan a few years ago tried to develop commercial relations with China.
    Acts of provocation by India in a region involving Bhutan are not purely India’s making. Other forces are at play. I hope that wisdom will prevail and there is no armed conflict, much to the dismay of some who want to drag China into war.

  • 0
    0

    The an issue of Indian and China is very important of Globe politics and its diplomacy a future is concern ?
    Why is that? China Revolution 1949 that led Mao and CPC has shifted Global politics new-era.
    On going Revolution of since 1979 an Economic growth and development has change old-world balance of Economy power into new height.
    Needless to say PRC new Economic Policies that first stage of Socialist Market Economy. The last 35 years it has released Productive Forces and by new technological innovation that brought to New relation of production. Subsequently vast land of huge population of China which industrial, agricultural and services revolution has taken place Urban and Rules China; due to result of that shape of China has turn into New era? Indeed China growth has come World Second largest Economy.
    The USSR an opportunity of Giant of World economy that chance has lost that after Kurashvein being to power in Kremlin after death of J.V Stalin of leader of CPSU in 1953.

    History demanded that China has a role to play of unfinished task of left by USSR mission has to accomplished by PRC-CPC. Revolution of two countries of PRC and USSR was basically similar origin .
    But stages which form of Democratic revolution and Socialist construction has different conditions.

    The Republic of India 1947 founded by Bourgeois of New emerging class by roots has gone which connected to Old Feudal and Colonial remnants. Its political task was mess-up by that State rule by interest of few land-lord -bourgeois and the development of Capitalism Economy was path guided by Western Methodology.
    The cyclical process that moribund Capitalism an even not that nexus to lead Social Revolution in vast Rural Poor in India at all. Model of Indian and China development that we want in-depth study by rational out-look for Sri Lankan elites.
    The Politics of two great nation we do not want keep vacuum in modern era of Globalization.

    • 2
      0

      Ranjith Gunawaradana

      What the hell are you trying to tell us?
      You seem to think every thing happened in China by the wave of Mao’s little hand. Will you now revisit Mao’s killing fields in the 1950s where USSR had a major input on China’s industry, in the mid and late 1960s Japan was the prime shaker and mover in China’s garment industry, in the mid and late 1970s Chinese diaspora in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaya, Taiwan invested …. invested heavily in China, later multinationals were invited with all kind of bribe.

      By then the mass murderer Mao has gone, his Red Book was well and truly dead and buried, except in Sri Lanka. SJ might have a large stock of Maoism.

  • 0
    1

    why doesn’t china offer a deal for the mattala airport that srilanka just cannot refuse.India also made the same mistake when mahinda first offered india to build the hambantota port and india said it is not economically feasible.Now the stingy buggers must be realising that economics is not the only important factor in life.Wonder whether the other stingy buggers the chinese are also going to make the same mistake by allowing india to takeover mattala airport and will regret that one day.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.