The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka slammed a Chinese envoy for accusing India of interfering in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs, saying that the island nation doesn’t need “unwanted pressure” while it deals with a national economic crisis.
In his piece, Qi noted that Sri Lanka had “overcome aggression from its northern neighbor 17 times” and “colonization by the west for 450 years.”
“External obstruction based on so-called ’security concerns’ but without any evidence from certain forces is de facto a thorough interference into Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence,” he stated.
In response, the Indian High Commission in Colombo criticized the Chinese envoy for violating “basic diplomatic etiquette” and said that his remarks may reflect his “personal trait” or “a larger national attitude.”
“Opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. Recent developments are a caution,” it said. “Sri Lanka needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies to serve another country’s agenda.”
China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, also known as One Belt, One Road) has been ascribed to Sri Lanka’s economic turmoil. In 2017, Sri Lanka leased its Hambantota port to China for 99 years to convert its Chinese loan into equity; India is concerned that the port will be used as a military base.
Sri Lanka initially requested a delay in the ship’s arrival over India’s objections, but the ship was eventually approved following “extensive consultations at a high level.”
Debt Restructuring Under ThreatThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that cash-strapped Sri Lanka must work with its largest creditor, China, to resolve debt issues. Sri Lanka is also in talks with the IMF for a bailout package.
On the other hand, India has emerged as Sri Lanka’s lifeline, providing about $4 billion in credit lines and swaps to help the country revive its economy.