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Showing posts from February, 2019

Sri Lanka: Caught in an Indo-China ‘Great Game’?

Competition is a natural byproduct of major powers navigating an anarchic world. Small states operating in such a milieu, however, face a policy dilemma when strategizing their foreign policy. Sri Lanka, sitting in the epicenter of the arc connecting the Persian Gulf to the Strait of Malacca, has captured international attention as a key battleground between Beijing and New Delhi in their tussle for influence in South Asia. While some scholars argue that the island is a personification of China’s “debt trap diplomacy,” others contend that it should not be a poster child of falling into a Chinese “debt trap,” as debt to China is less than 15 percent of Sri Lanka’s total external debt. Concerns over Sri Lanka’s sovereignty have been rife following the $1.12 billion debt-to-equity swap that saw Hambantota port handed over to China and the proposed lease of the Mattala International Airport to India. Sri Lanka is in no position to break off economic ties with either power. Accordi