Collaboration with Chinese firms in Sri Lanka can ultimately benefit India’s modernization

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/10/29 22:18:40

Political tension in Sri Lanka could lead to closer ties between the island country and China "at a time when India is engaged in a grueling race for influence with China in the neighborhood," the Hindustan Times in India wrote in an editorial on Monday.

Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena sacked the prime minister and replaced him with ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse. It is understandable India may worry about the return of Rajapakse, because Sri Lanka actually allowed China to invest heavily in developing its infrastructure under Rajapakse's rule.

Sri Lanka has been an important stop on the China-proposed Belt and Road initiative. China is investing billions of dollars in infrastructure and development in Sri Lanka, and Rajapakse's return may increase Chinese investors' enthusiasm for these projects.

Although India has a certain influence on the island country, New Delhi can't persuade Sri Lanka to refuse Chinese investment. If India wants to do something to maintain its presence there, the best way is to work with China together in Sri Lanka.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently agreed with Chinese leaders to step up cooperation in infrastructure projects in third-party markets amid thawing diplomatic ties.

Multilateral collaboration has become a trend for many countries to pursue infrastructure projects in overseas markets. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ongoing visit to Japan is a good opportunity to get an idea of the advantages of multilateral collaboration.

Multilateral collaboration among China, India and Sri Lanka to renew infrastructure in the island country is worth consideration, at a time when Indian society worries Rajapakse's return could lead to closer China-Sri Lanka ties and reduce the influence of New Delhi on Sri Lanka. The return of Rajapakse may fuel competition between China and India in the Indian Ocean, but multilateral collaboration can avoid the situation.

China is fairly experienced in financing and developing infrastructure in areas such as roads, railways and ports, which can perhaps be used as a reference for speeding up construction in Sri Lanka.

Multilateral collaboration with Chinese companies can help Indian firms gain experience in infrastructure construction. India is in urgent need of upgrading its infrastructure, and that experience may offer the necessary help.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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