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Tech ObserverNewsGovernanceChina drags India as ‘third country’ interfering in relations with Sri Lanka

China drags India as ‘third country’ interfering in relations with Sri Lanka

This comes after India showed its concerns about the growing Chinese activities in the region questioning Beijing’s big-ticket strategic projects in the island nation.

This comes after India showed its concerns about the growing Chinese activities in the region questioning Beijing’s big-ticket strategic projects in the island nation.

In a scalding attack on Indian diplomacy in recent times, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is leading diplomatic talks with Sri Lanka, has said that no ‘third country’ should ‘interfere’ in the close ties between Beijing and Colombo.

This comes after showed its concerns about the growing Chinese activities in the region questioning Beijing’s big-ticket strategic projects in the island nation in the Indian Ocean.

Wang during his meeting with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said that the friendly relationship between and Sri Lanka benefits the development of both countries and serves the fundamental interest of both peoples.

“It does not target any third party and should not be interfered with by any third party,” Wang said, in a thinly veiled reference to India. China is seeking to deepen its ties with Sri Lanka making billions of dollars of investments in ports and infrastructure projects amid criticism that they are debt traps.

China’s takeover of the Hambantota port on 99 years’ lease for a $1.2 billion debt swap drew international concerns over Beijing acquiring strategic assets far away from home by providing heavy loans and investment to smaller nations.

The Hambantota port together with Colombo port city project where China is building a new city with reclaimed land in the sea was viewed with concern, especially in India as Beijing seeks to increase its presence in the Indian Ocean.

There have been global concerns over debt traps and regional hegemony by China using its Belt and Road (BRI) infrastructure projects. China is doling out huge sums of money for infrastructure projects in countries from Asia to Africa and Europe.

Last month, China suspended a project to install hybrid energy plants in three islands of Sri Lanka’s north, citing ‘security concern’ from a ‘third party’, amid reports of Indian concern over its location which is not far from Tamil Nadu’s coast.

Significantly, Wang during his talks with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris proposed to establish a forum for the development of Indian Ocean island countries, which observers say is an attempt by Beijing to expand its influence in the region.

“During my visit to several Indian Ocean island countries this time, I feel that all island countries share similar experiences and common needs, with similar natural endowment and development goals, and have favourable conditions and full potential for strengthening mutually beneficial cooperation,” a press release by the Chinese Foreign Ministry quoted Wang as saying.

“China proposes that a forum on the development of Indian Ocean island countries should be held at an appropriate time to build consensus and synergy and promote common development,” he said, adding that Sri Lanka can play an important role in it.

Before his Colombo visit, Wang also visited the Maldives where he held talks with top leaders of the island nation to deepen ties with China. Six island nations are located in the Indian Ocean, namely Comoros, Madagascar, the Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka.

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