For a long time, China has pursued a strategy of converting small countries into colonies in the name of infrastructure projects. As part of this strategy, it has also encircled India’s neighbours. Over the last decade, china has invested more than 150 billion dollars in the economies of Bangladesh. The Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka, China is now the largest foreign investor in the countries like Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Beijing attempted to encircle India by building a hybrid energy system project on three Sri Lankan islands close to India.
However, the Indian government has managed to thwart Beijing’s attempts. In January 2021, the Chinese company sino dinosaur hybrid technology was awarded the contract to build a hybrid renewable energy system for the islands naga deeper delft and analytivo islands. The three Sri Lankan islands off the coast of Jaffna are strategically close to Tamil Nadu. The contract was part of the supporting electricity supply reliability improvement project, which is implemented by the salon electricity board and funded by the Asian development bank. The Sri Lankan government’s announcement shocked India, and, as a result, India lodged a strong protest with Sri Lanka on the award of the tender to the Chinese company.
India’s diplomatic victory, the strategic importance of these three northern islands of Sri Lanka, delft, naga, deeper and analytivu is due to their location in terms of security. These islands are extremely important to India as a result of china’s attempt to infiltrate the energy project here. India’S ears were raised, and for nearly a year, India has been working to remove china from these three Sri Lankan islands; India approached the Sri Lankan government, and new Delhi lodged objections against these projects on two grounds. First, India detailed how china’s project would face environmental scrutiny because diesel was also a component of this hybrid project and offered to make it more environmentally friendly and second, the Chinese company that was awarded the contract was only private in name and reality the Chinese government Controls it entirely. India also offered Sri Lanka grants to cover a significant portion of the project’s cost, and only a small portion will be provided in the form of a loan. On favourable terms, India offered to build the same systems at a much lower cost.
It was a difficult offer to turn down for Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government initially welcomed India’s offer but later remained silent. Chinese influence on the Sri Lankan government china, which wielded enormous power over the Sri Lankan government, began exerting pressure on Colombo to keep the project going. Beijing also described how this project is not a debt trap. China informed Sri Lanka that this project belongs to the Asian development bank and is supported by multilateral funding, and it is not a debt trap in any way.
The impact of china’s project-related pressure on Sri Lanka was so strong that colombo began ignoring new Delhi’s offer. As well as its concerns, even Sri Lanka stated that the Chinese team would leave once the project was completed. China did a lot of manoeuvring for this project and also used its ally. Pakistan and Pakistani diplomats in Colombo began indirectly lobbying for china, but in the end, it did not work behind the scenes. Diplomacy was being played.
Due to India’s protest and strong diplomacy, Colombo has finally halted this project. Finally, in November, India was able to persuade the Rajapaksa government and Sri Lanka’s finance. Minister Basil Rajapaksa paid a visit to India. He assured New Delhi that China would leave the project and that India would complete it in such a way. India achieved a major diplomatic victory.
China was forced to announce the suspension of the hybrid power project involving three Sri Lankan islands. The Chinese embassy in Colombo announced via its official Twitter account that the project had been halted due to a security concern raised by a third party but didn’t name India specifically. Furthermore, the embassy stated that the same firm had now signed a contract with the Maldivian government on November 29th to build solar power plants on 12 islands.
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