9 August, 2022


Sri Lanka In Indian Ocean Games

By Ramla Wahab & Nishant Gooneratne

Nishant Gooneratne

Nishant Gooneratne

Ramla Wahab

Ramla Wahab

“Whoever controls the Indian Ocean dominates Asia. This ocean is key to the seven seas. In the twenty-first century, the destiny of the world will be decided on its waters” – Alfred Mahan (US Navy admiral, geo-strategist)

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) contains 40% of the world’s oil and gas reserves, a third of the world’s population and plays host to key Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC). It has traditionally stood as the gateway to Africa, Europe and the Pacific. In the theatre of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), since 2013, it is these key regions that the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiative seeks to connect Vis-a Vis greater regional economic cooperation.

Sri Lanka at the centre of global co-operation and rivalry in the Indian Ocean was among the first nations to offer unconditional support for the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (MSR) Initiative in 2014. The island is geographically positioned strategic to the project’s success in ambitions of connectivity. Changes in Lankan leadership have precipitated a shift from a China centric foreign policy towards a multilateral outlook.

Mahinda ChinaThe Booze Hamilton Allen inspired String of Pearls theory of Chinese military advancement, proposed a decade ago, has lost credibility. Evidence points to the contrary that China’s enhancing role in the Indian Ocean region is not military but economic in nature.

China presents itself to be willing to discussion and transparency in its projects in the island .This was expressed by H.E. Mr. Liu Jian Chao (Chinese Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs) on his special visit to Sri-Lanka to re-affirm positive Sino-Sri Lankan ties in the wake of political transition. This reorientation of Sri Lankan foreign policy since January of 2015 championing transparency in investment projects, tempers the MSR project to promote increased transparency throwing open its previously unknown manner of unimpeded progress.

The Pacific Forum of 2014, in an analysis applicable to the IOR expressed that Chinese infrastructure projects can be characterised as being domestic economic stimuli for China with much of the labour and materials being Chinese. This process, they concluded, leads to a repatriation of the Investment Capital. Guarantees must be obtained with regard to the application of a consistent policy on MSR. Such promises must guarantee irrevocability of policies after the completion of the 100 days program and upcoming general election. The MSR initiative in its totality remains weakened by political vicissitudes and posture adopted by the new coalition government.

The core of the MSR arm of Chinese foreign policy lies in creating and maintaining mutually beneficial cooperation and friendly trade and cultural relations with countries along the maritime route of old through its One Belt One Road policy. Sri Lanka, prior to the regime change was in a position not only to contribute to the development of the MSR but also to be a vital cog in the efficient functioning of this historic venture due to its key geostrategic placement.

The infrastructure projects including the planned Colombo port city were the subject of much vacillation on the part of the incumbent regime, which has announced the re-evaluation of the projects subject to economic, environmental feasibility and impact assessments. While this issue has created a degree of uncertainty and anxiety regarding the projects, it has not been entirely detrimental to the Sino-Sri Lankan relationship which remains a “time tested and time honoured” bond according to Chinese Presidential special envoy H.E Mr. Liu Jianchao.

Despite the disruption to the momentum generated by the previous regime in instituting MSR projects, President Maithripala Sirisena’s government has a window of opportunity to mend strained relations with the West. While doing so, it could maintain the benefits obtained through projects of regional connectivity such as the MSR. This could be achieved by proposing the continuance of such projects, subject to an in-depth look into numerous issues of transparency and charges of corruption that have plagued law makers in the previous regime. Such development projects are mutually beneficial to both Sri Lanka and China as it would greatly increase maritime connectivity, and build the infrastructure that is required to sustain the rise of the Asian century by 2050.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that demand for infrastructure investment stands at $730 billion a year for the next decade. India considered in isolation, requires $1 trillion of investment over the next five years. The Chinese economic model has been credited with spurring rapid and sustained growth, thanks in large part to its heavy accent upon infrastructure development. In contrast, India’s deficient infrastructure network has imposed a 150-200 basis point loss of annual economic growth, which has adversely affected GDP growth and manufacturing competiveness. Sri Lanka has also suffered in terms of competitiveness due to a lack of infrastructure, which should provide the impetus to take advantage of the soft power projection that is the MSR venture as well as programs built into the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank). The AIIB has been seeded with $50 billion of capital in addition to the $40 billion pledged to the Silk Road Fund.

Shapers of Sri Lanka’s maritime policy have much to consider with the island being a traditional point of connectivity to the wider world.

*Ramla Wahab – Researcher and Nishant Gooneratne – Research Assistant,Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies, Colombo

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Latest comments

  • 6

    Very well thought out piece. SL cannot ignore the importance of China as development partner. Can anybody show an example where modern China had interfered in internal political affairs of any country . Our tilting towards the west at the expense of China is is a very big mistake being done by the Maithree government. The wavering stand the government is taking on the port city project is damaging the goodwill between the two countries.

  • 10

    Ramla Wahab & Nishant Gooneratne –

    “Despite the disruption to the momentum generated by the previous regime in instituting MSR projects, President Maithripala Sirisena’s government has a window of opportunity to mend strained relations with the West. While doing so, it could maintain the benefits obtained through projects of regional connectivity such as the MSR. This could be achieved by proposing the continuance of such projects, subject to an in-depth look into numerous issues of transparency and charges of corruption that have plagued law makers in the previous regime. Such development projects are mutually beneficial to both Sri Lanka and China as it would greatly increase maritime connectivity, and build the infrastructure that is required to sustain the rise of the Asian century by 2050.”

    Thanks. Good write up.

    In the end it has to benefit all the participants and the people.

    Certainly, because of the geographic location, Sri Lanka has a great opportunity, but it could be corrupted by mismanagement and corruption.

    A $10 Billion Project with $ 20 Billion in kickbacks will be $39 Billion Project.

    Ye Economics may be such that it will pay at $10 Billion, but will lose money at $30 Billion due to debt costs and depreciation costs.


    1. Mattala Airport

    2. Hambantota Harbour.

    3. Mihin air

    4. Rajapaksa Mansions

    • 6

      “”Thanks. Good write up.””

      Have you gone bonkers for a face without base.
      Take a break when you sway on too many in a gulp.

      I muslim, one sihala buddhist- by Abey’s the morons son.
      Pop was idiot, fashion conscious port corp thug because his pop was a thug.
      Lakshman was a mediocre contract bridge player race course.
      We have every politicians here at oxbridge just to retain the `crown colony` image by means of race/ethnicity and economic dependency.

      Time to shut the place down- its past tense and of good use to Modawanse’s only and a heart ache to read articles that arn’t researched before publishing.
      He never held a world record but was the poodle to carnage (nice man i knew personally but all comes to an end life has to move on by learning from past but – never look back- shut it down and save grace.)

      It’s more than a charity racket but a racial stigma.
      In arbitration both sides must accept the arbitrator.

  • 3

    Indian Ocean Rim is dominated by Indian imperialists. This was something that was seen by Mohandas, Nehru and Bose. India imperialists have been and are still doing its best to dominate the Indian Ocean and keep it as their pool and they have been successful since the separation of the British-Indian Empire and the continuation of the Indian Empire. Mauritius is a State of India and South Africa is dominated by Indians and the Indian migration to South Africa and other African countries are continuing. India now has a drag line across the Indian Ocean anchored between Ceylon and Mauritius. Labor for tying the knot in Ceylon provided by the Indians who arrived since 1792 under the British guns in the island at the last presidential election.

  • 34

    Humpty-dumpty U Zorro belly, Paradoxical humans.

    ʘʘ The Legend ʘʘ
    Legend has it that the Chinese Fishing Nets were introduced in Fort Kochi by the Chinese explorer, Zheng He. They were brought from the court of Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan and have been in operation here since that time only. Just take a stroll by the Vasco-da-gama Square near the Fort Cochin and you are bound to come across a number of Chinese fishing nets, suspended in mid-air, alongside the seacoast.

    ʘʘ According to VOC research scholar Amsterdam Colombo & Cochin have destroyed the trade documentation (defaced 90% of the truth) while Madras Presidency from where Ceylon was ruled till 1948 February has over 90% still preserved- thanks to vinegar solution for preservation.

    Though Xi’s special envoy was at Cochin for weeks recently just before Xi’s visit to India and NaMo, he suggested that Cochin harbour be developed Modi was extra quick in getting Ahmedabad as sister technology city to Chinas (this though Kerala and Tamil Nadu run almost all 1000’s IT schools at Shanghai & Beijing for development of software)

    And Surat Gujarat harbor development where ancient Zoroastrians arrived as refugees to the Hindu king and the city that took Islam peacefully to as far as Indonesia where the Malays/Malaysian (700 years ago) comes from and where Chola king took Hinduism to Bali and Buddhism from Patna.

    So the maritime chain prepared in Pakistan and Ceylon as harbor development lost the sure Pendant at Cochin the port of legend and Ceylon had no Big Beef in tit a tat.
    Codswallop of Politicians just like there is Oil at Mannar when it smells of rotten unhygienically salted fish.

    ʘʘ Switzerland a landlocked country has the 2nd largest shipping container yard in the world- ʘʘ

    ʘʘ It’s mind over matter- ¬ Attitude of Aborigine’s vs Hora_Oru Kallathoni In Denial.

    ʘʘ Love breeds Love.ʘʘ The opposite is true. ʘʘ

    All lankan politicians even the budding lot dont see beyond the popular rehotric- free education guide books past question papers. your smelly recipe. the chinese study is opposite collective for an ant army that makes it the workshop of the world even in its sleep- lazy sihala coons & demala muslim baboons!


  • 3

    In my personal research give me light to learn on shifting of Global economy-political-social order boosters claim by two big nation with huge population that is People’s Republic of China(1949-Mao) and Republic of India ( 1947 Gandi).

    Two political system working form long years colonial, semi-colonial RULE by West and that long years – covers centuries Feudalism had been roots has been extensively by enlarge to their civilization over 3000 thousand to 5000 years old.

    That is we call in simple terms of political-economy, which is that Asian Mode of civilization and its production.

    Asian mode of system embodied and its origin of development of Philosophy, Ethics, Morals of East, Religions of atheist, non- believed God and believing many Gods -several denomination of Hindus sectors were influences by cultural factors and its values; in supersaturates of governances deeply impact and effect by society of politics and their ruling class and democracy in India and China, after 1947 and 1949.

    This is different”…. from WEST bourgeois cultural values were essentially linked to Christianity…polemic against hegemonic culture is aimed at religious norms and values..” Said by Antonoi Gramsic.
    More Gramsci said “…One the most important characteristic of any group that is developing towards dominance ,is it struggle to assimilate and conquer, ‘ideologically’ the traditional intellectuals. But this assimilations and conquest is made quicker and move efficacious the more the group in question succeeds in simultaneously elaborating its own organic intellectuals.”

    The capitalist market clearly not working ,the global financial crisis showed that they could be very unstable which created devastating 2008, consequences of Wall street originated misdeeds of US and EU old order. Without government assistance entire economy brought them down. This in not an accident, virtue capitalist market inefficiency natural vicious cycle of Monopoly -Empire capitalism

    But we have a large part of Globe in which there are huge population unmet needs in India and China. Needed to be address by own line of new order of globe mindset. Silk Maritime Route is one of that, proposed by China but benefitted by entire south-south co-operation.

    The trading and investment to bring the poor out of poverty, development recover and revival by investment national economics new lime light. At the same time vast underutilized resources and their peoples and new innovation technology & science generated millions of jobs these two nations.

    We as nation has to delivering many unlimited needs and catering as Sri Lankan in Sea lane call Maritime Silk Route for billions two nations, that timely 2.6 billions of people is 35% total world population.



    The underlying Silk Route thesis ,is that we are paying high sacrifice for equal economic development system in the region, that is more stable & efficient with pace growth and a democracy governances that has been put into fully confidence.

    In reality as Sri lankn can see reality boom in that we are no longer country of opportunity and that even our long-vaunted democracies governances of rule of law and system of social justice have been compromised ,even our sense of national identity may be put into right track.

    In last to be realized that Global economic in 2006 economic output entire world output $ 47 trillion dollars. Stock market $ 51 trillions 10% percent larger. Total domestic and international bonds was $68 trillions 50% larger. The world outstanding depravities was $ 473 trillions more ten time of outputs of world. New world economic output combine China and India more than that in future, then you can imaging how that impact of Sri Lankan economy.

  • 23

    This group of yuppies don’t read a thing surrounding them- just like the Whats Up;Lets Meet party paying con-men women on the W3C.

    Who wants Somali Priates on the Seas – sihal fishermen for Dayan’s Hosana??
    Who wants the sea when the ice cap up north is melting some day soon

    `YIXINOU` the China Train to Madrid unveils New Silk Road dream.- The only SILK Route in operation- the sea route is full of war mongering postures.


    The train from the Chinese city of Yiwu to Madrid, covering a record breaking journey of 13,052 kilometers has arrived in the Spanish capital, signaling that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s dream of establishing an economic belt along the Silk Road, has inched closer to realisation.

    The train named Yixinou arrived in Madrid on December 9, covering a distance longer than the expanse that separates North Pole from the South……

    Its 30 containers weighing 1,400 tonnes included a cargo, mainly of toys, stationery and other items, which arrived well in time for Christmas sales in Europe. The train is likely to return with carriages packed with wine, cured ham, and olive oil, ahead of the Chinese New Year celebrations in February.

    On return, Chinese planners will anlalyse the commercial viability of the trip, which has several positive attributes. The train’s low carbon footprint of 44 tonnes of CO2 is 62 per cent lower than what a road journey along this route would have encountered. But the mammoth train journey also had to face some difficulties—the engine had to be changed every 800 kilometers, along with the crew with each country that the train passed en route. Then adjustments had to be made at the frontier cities of Dostyk (Kazakhstan), Brest (Belarus) and Irun (Spain) because of differences in railway gauges.

    Yet, being a “strategic project”, it is likely that commercialization of this route would be green-signaled in early 2015.

    The historic journey—longer than the one undertaken along the 9289 kilometer trans-Siberian railway, translates into reality some elements of President’s Xi’s dream of building growth clusters along the Silk Route. They would be powered by connectivity, energy pipelines, fiber optic cables, which would all feed into the emergence of brand new cities that will complement a network of industrial parks.

    In fact, the Yiwu-Madrid route is an extension of either side of the existing railway link between Chongqing in China and Duisburg, a landmark in Germany’s industrial belt.

    The train from Chongqing, a major industrial center along the Eurasian corridor, has been known for transiting to Europe vehicle parts and computers, manufactured in its Liangjiang New Area. This is a 1200

    square km zone that is home to big brands, such as Hewlett Packard, and Iveco, and is based on Shanghai’s Pudong and Tianjin’s Binhai New Area model. Chongqing has emerged as the growth locomotive for the entire delta area of the Yangtze river, and its integration with the global economy has been spurred by the Chongqing-Duisburg railway link.

    Fresh infrastructure development, including new industrial parks are likely to crop up after China, last month, announced that it would set apart a $40 billion base fund for the development of the New Silk Road. Beijing has already decided to fund an industrial park in Kazakhstan’s Aktau port along the Caspian Sea. The Xinjiang based Urumqi Economic and Technological Development Zone (UETDZ), and Xinjiang Sanbao Industry Group have been earmarked to invest in this project. Under its New Silk Road initiative, China is also working with Belarus to set up the Great Stone industrial park. The $5 billion project is meant to cater for 200 hi-tech companies and employ over 120,000 people.

    The train from Yiwu to Madrid is run by Trans-Eurasia Logistics, a joint venture between Germany’s Deutsche Bahn AG and the Russian Railways (RZD).

    Analysts say that Russia and Germany’s participation in the project is not accidental, for the Chinese are looking at roping in Moscow and Berlin in the development of the New Silk Road. China and Germany are

    already considering setting up a high-speed rail link between Beijing and Berlin. Observers say that in case a Beijing-Moscow-Berlin partnership along the Silk Road materialises, it is likely to impart a powerful eastward impulse to the changing balance of power in Eurasia.

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