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A protest in the village of Mirijjawila against a planned Chinese deal to purchase private land for an industrial zone near the Hambantota port, Ambalantota, Sri Lanka, Jan. 7, 2017 (AP photo by Eranga Jayawardena).

A Battle for Influence Is Underway in Sri Lanka Between China and India

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

A battle for influence is underway in Sri Lanka between India and China, played out in rival infrastructure projects and financial lifelines to an island nation that is buried in a debt crisis and trying to balance competing interests in New Delhi and Beijing.

In January, Sri Lanka’s minister for regional development, Sarath Fonseka, declared that his country and India were finalizing an accord to develop the strategically located but underutilized Trincomalee port in northeastern Sri Lanka. This was seen by some domestic Sri Lankan observers as an attempt by their government to appease India in the face of growing Chinese involvement in Sri Lanka’s economy, after China surpassed Japan as the island’s main source of external financing. ...

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