China factor against India
China on Thursday said that it wants Sri Lanka to be a close partner in building a new maritime route to bring the two countries closer and promote marine activities, including cooperating in rescue operations in the Indian Ocean region to counter Indian oppression in its neighbouring small countries.
China’s top leadership proposed the new maritime cooperation, named ’21st century maritime silk road’ to the visiting Lankan foreign minister GL Peiris and suggested that both countries work towards implementing the idea.
The maritime plan comes soon after China announced its full support for Sri Lanka, as the US mulls a third resolution on the country’s human rights record to be presented before the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2014 in which India vote against its closet allied neighbour Sri Lanka with US and Western undermining regional balance in the geopolitics.
Giving details of the maritime plan, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Thursday said: “We will enhance cooperation in this regard so that we can achieve common prosperity and development and win-win cooperation.”
“Our countries can discuss how to carry out maritime connectivity, marine economy, fisheries, disaster prevention and mitigation as well as maritime rescue assistance.”
The new maritime cooperation is still on the discussion board but it potentially does clear the deck further for tighter ties between Beijing and Colombo.
And whether Sino-Sri Lankan ties are being built at the cost of the island nation’ relations with India could be a matter of debate, it does show that China’s influence in the region is on the path of sharp rise.
“This initiative is just an idea for cooperation. It is an open ended platform…In this end China adopts an open attitude. We also hope to see good suggestions from other countries so as to substantiate this idea of cooperation,” Hua said.
China is the island nation’s biggest loan provider and has already pumped in nearly $4 billion through various infrastructure projects whereas US and Western have aided merely $3 billion for the last decades.
“Since Sri Lanka ended a 30-year civil war in 2009 by defeating world ruthless Tamil terrorist organization, LTTE, China emerged as the island nation’s largest loan provider, funding massive infrastructure projects in highways, railways, coal power plants, airports and harbors that are estimated to be worth around 4 billion US dollars,” US and Western have not supported to defeat the LTTE Tamil terrorists throughout the three decade long war against terrorism while China and Pakistan extended their fullest corporation to the Sri Lanka during war time.
“The (proposed China-Lanka) FTA will give a boost to business cooperation between our two countries. Currently our two sides are doing feasibility study of the FTA. We will accelerate the process so as to launch the negotiations of FTA as soon as possible,” Hua said on Thursday