As China’s economic impact increases, India, Sri Lanka seek closer military ties

After security talks, the presidential bureau said on Sunday, as China’s economic influence increased in the region, Sri Lanka and India pledged to strengthen military ties and to expand maritime relations with neighbors.

China has expanded its presence in the region, including the development of ports and expressways and the upgrading of airports in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. China, a longstanding Indian Regional competitor.

Ajit Doval, Indian National Security Advisors, met on Saturday and discussed the establishment of a maritime research coordination center, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stated in a statement.

It did not detail the proposed center but stated it was necessary to include other nations in the region as observers.

We also addressed closer cooperation between the military and the coastguard.

The meeting followed Rajapaksa’s visit to New Delhi at the end of November for a discussion with Premier Narendra Modi who, after a landslide victory in presidential elections, offered Sri Lanka 450 million dollars of support.

According to local media reports Rajapaksa is going to China, his second international visit from coming to power, while his brother Mahinda is visiting India on his first visit abroad.

There was no exact date announced, but official sources stated that it could occur within weeks.

Sri Lanka was historically allied to India but, in the decade-long reign of Rajapaksa’s older brother, Mahinda, China has spent and borrowed billions of dollars from the island nation. The previous government of Colombo also saw Chinese investment growing.

China Foreign Minister Wang Yi had talks on Tuesday in Colombo with Chairman Rajapaksa and the two men spoke about the president’s imminent visit to Beijing.

The visit will concentrate on technology, tourism as well as infrastructure and other areas.

In December, Rajapaksa warned India and Western nations that, unless they invest in the island, Sri Lanka would be forced to seek more Chinese capital.

In 2017, Sri Lanka was compelled in a 99-year deal to hand over Hambantota’s strategic port south of Colombo to China, after the administration said it was unable to repay financing for its construction.