Sri Lanka looks back to India

Wolf, Siegfried O.

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Geopolitical competition is increasing everywhere, and the Indian Ocean is no exception. One of the most significant causes of this phenomenon is the Chinese-driven Belt- and Road Initiative (BRI). In its quest to challenge the economic, political, and military supremacy of Western liberal democracies and their like-minded partners in Asia, Beijing started using major transcontinental development schemes to enhance its sphere of influence. Particularly autocratic regimes tend to join China’s BRI, forming a ‘quasi-alliance’ network. However, in recent years indications emerged that autocratic elites known to be closely embedded in the BRI are facing mounting domestic political pressure due to looming economic and financial crisis situations. This SADF Focus will shed light on the case of the currently ruling Rajapaksa dynasty in Sri Lanka. China’s involvement and considerable impacts on the country’s economy since the 2000s are well documented. The island must be regarded not only as the first major destination for Chinese Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), based on geostrategic considerations, but also as a focal point for Beijing’s international financial development assistance, long before the launch of the BRI. Yet today, Colombo is undergoing a foreign policy transformation, giving more importance to its relations with New Delhi than in the past. Observers are stating that the latter would be conducted at the expense of Chinese influence in the island. This Focus argues that the apparently changing patterns of relations between Sri Lanka and China might hint at a larger transformation within Beijing’s quasi-alliance system of “willing autocrats”.

Document type: Article
Publisher: South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF)
Place of Publication: Brussels
Date: 2022
Version: Secondary publication
Date Deposited: 22 Apr 2022 12:19
Faculties / Institutes: Miscellaneous > Individual person
DDC-classification: Political science
Military science
Controlled Keywords: China, Sri Lanka, Indien, One-Belt-One-Road-Initiative, Seidenstraße, Außenpolitik, Autoritärer Staat
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sri Lanka, China, Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, Autoritäre Regime, Außenpolitik, Indien, Rajapaksa-Dynastie / Sri Lanka, China, Belt and Road Initiative, BRI, Authoritarian regimes, Foreign Policy, India, Rajapaksa dynasty
Subject (classification): Politics
Countries/Regions: China
Sri Lanka
Series: Themen > SADF Focus
Volume: 79
Additional Information: DOI: 10.48251/SADF.ISSN.2406-5633.F79 (der Erstausgabe)