The Sunday Leader

Unstoppable China

By Udara Soysa

In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Leader, Head – Strategy and Security Studies, Center for Asia Studies, Commodore R.S. Vasan said that “India has every reason to be concerned about the growing Chinese presence in Sri Lanka.”

“It is not a secret that China supplied many military items that were perhaps not made available from India. While Sri Lanka effectively used the India card in China and vice versa, China used the opportunity of this war to drive a strategic wedge in the Indian Ocean,” Vasan said.

He pointed out that China on the face of it is building for a future when it expects to play a larger role in the Indian Ocean. “Not being an Indian Ocean power there are limitations in the way PLA Navy can be deployed in the Indian Ocean region. China is working towards a strategy to overcome this deficiency by creating dependency ports from Gwadar to Myanmar.” He claimed that at the moment, China has a strategy based on a tier system consisting of the first island chain and the second island chain. “With growing economic clout and a modernised military power, China seeks to break away from the self imposed shackles of a defensive plan.”

“The reason for China to establish an Indian Ocean presence is to ensure that the sea lines of communication that transport its energy from Middle East and Africa are safeguarded. Also, the rate at which China is capturing the world market would increase the volume of traffic carried in its own ships around the world. The grand strategy is to be able to protect its maritime and economic interests by a blue water navy that needs intermediate ports that can service the fleet units.

“Commencing December 2008, China has been maintaining a continuous presence in the Gulf of Aden and off the African coast as part of its anti piracy measures.” The concerns for India mainly stem from the growing competition in its traditionally acknowledged areas of influence, he further pointed out. “While there are no immediate threats, the increased engagement of India’s maritime and land neighbours has scope for increased tension and suspicion on its intentions. India enjoys a positional and geographic advantage vis a vis China.”
The deep water ports and airports that China is building in Sri Lanka and other Littoral countries would be in a position to offer turn round and support services as and when required, Vasan opined. “With the liberal economic assistance to nations where such infrastructure is built would be under obligation to give in to the request for offering turn round facilities.” “While there are concerns from India, even Sri Lanka should be careful to not fall into the hands of China. As long as it is able to balance the relations between the two Asian giants, Sri Lanka would gain in terms of investments and opportunities,” according to Vasan.
He urged that Sri Lanka ought to know where to draw the line as there are certain concerns in the way the Chinese take up projects. “For example it has been reported that Chinese companies have brought their own work force and virtually have settlements close to the work place. With the linguistic and cultural differences it could add to social tensions. Also, the Chinese projects cost far more in comparison to Indian projects due to distances and work practices.”

19 Comments for “Unstoppable China”

  1. maluman

    Yes, must be weary and smart about foreign relations. China offers much potential but cannot just sideline our blood neighbor India because it didn’t offer support for the war. India will soon be the second largest economy in the world.

  2. sinhalese

    India is the true enemy. It wants to dominate us through its Navy. If we have Chinese and American help we can hedge against India in case its gets aggressive. maluman is joking. India will never be the second largest its not even in the top 10 largest and it is far poorer and more rapacious than Sri Lanka.

  3. The_Observer

    Well if India has to catch up on her relations with Sri Lanka the former has only herself to blame. It was her training of the intended Tamil separatists from Sri Lanka and additional earlier Indian support that facilitated a costly civil war in SL. China proved a godsend to SL in that she provided aid in the face of opposition from India, USA, Canada, Norway and the rest of the EU. China offers SL protection at the Security Council at the UN. Look to strengthening ties for China and SL because of Chinese investment and good diplomatic relations.

  4. Enrico

    Well, India should have thought about the consequences long before it helped the terrorist establish themselves and before refusing to supply certain military items which were required by the SL government forces. Desperate times call for desperate measures! Tough luck India!!!!!!

  5. KMR

    Stupid Indians. Who want their help? We have our good friend China with us for ever.

  6. Ranbanda

    We know how Indira Gandhi and MGR and Karunanidhi and other Lanka-haters in Tamil Nadu nurtured the Tamil Tigers and their rival Tamil terrorist groups on Indian soil, sending them as a proxy force to destabilize Sri Lanka.

    Why? Well, in short, India did not like Yankee Dicky being pals with Uncle Sam. India was then an ally of the USSR and was playing the tune of the Kremlin. India did not want US influence in the Indian Ocean. Neither did the Kremlin, it goes without saying.

    But Yankee Dicky had promised land in Vavuniya for a VOA station and Trinco harbour for US navy use. Most of all, India did not want a thriving little capitalist country on its south. SL was speeding ahead, at one stage surpassing Singapore in growth. Indians were by that time coming to SL for duty free shopping, instead of going to Singapore as they used to earlier. Those Indians would have seen the difference between Lanka and India at that time.

    Indira and JR did not like each other either.

    We remember very well India’s gunboat diplomacy when they ‘parked’ a war ship off Colombo to twist JRJ’s arm and ram down Lanka’s throat an Indian ‘solution’. Dixit was, for all intents and purposes, India’s viceroy in SL. Rajiv came here like the crown prince to sign ‘agreements’. He almost got his head bashed by a Sri Lanka navy honor guard’s rifle butt. (By that time, his mother’s Sikh bodyguards had shot her to pieces for ordering the raid on their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Then India was fighting Sikh (Khalistan) separatists.)

    We also remember India’s parippu drop over Jaffna. The Sri Lanka army had Prabhakaran and India twisted SL’s arm to let him go. The SL air force was ordered to stay put.

    SL badly needed modern weapons to fight the Tigers who had big armories of sophisticated weapons. When SL asked India to sell weapons to us, India refused. So SL had no choice but to buy them from suppliers who was willing to sell. Those suppliers were China and Israel.

    India is hugely responsible for the misery we had to suffer for 30 years, mainly for nurturing anti-Sri Lankan Tamil terrorists on Indian soil. China is not.

    SL helped legitimize China by acknowledging the CCCP as China’s new government at the San Francisco conference, where most nations refused to acknowledge China and welcome that great nation into the international community. The rubber-rice trade pact between the two countries further helped China’s international status.

    Now the great dragon has well and truly awakened. China has a long memory. And China has never forgotten little Lanka’s help in her hour of need. China came to Lanka’s help in our hour of need. China has been a true friend. And we grant friends favors.

  7. Reality

    China has always helped us and never stabbed us in the back like India by arming rebels in Sri Lanka.

  8. raj

    china is the country that steal everything from other countries; security secret, technology, and so on. So Sri Lanka does not know what it steal now.

  9. China have to put up cost for their projets because they havo to pay millions of dollarrs in commission to raja hora and his family members.

  10. Karthik

    China or India, both are supporting and offering Srilanka not because of they love the people of Srilanka. It’s for their personal interest. India and China are fighting to be the leaders in Indian Ocean, for that they need to control more Srilankan sea area. One who has more control in Srilankan sea area will have the upper hand when war occurs… for me both India and China are selfish and largest violators of human rights in this planet

  11. Rishi

    We know how Indira Gandhi and MGR and Karunanidhi and other Lanka-haters in Tamil Nadu nurtured the Tamil Tigers and their rival Tamil terrorist groups on Indian soil, sending them as a proxy force to destabilize Sri Lanka.

    Why? Well, in short, India did not like Yankee Dicky being pals with Uncle Sam. India was then an ally of the USSR and was playing the tune of the Kremlin. India did not want US influence in the Indian Ocean. Neither did the Kremlin, it goes without saying.

    But Yankee Dicky had promised land in Vavuniya for a VOA station and Trinco harbour for US navy use. Most of all, India did not want a thriving little capitalist country on its south. SL was speeding ahead, at one stage surpassing Singapore in growth. Indians were by that time coming to SL for duty free shopping, instead of going to Singapore as they used to earlier. Those Indians would have seen the difference between Lanka and India at that time.

    Indira and JR did not like each other either.

    We remember very well India’s gunboat diplomacy when they ‘parked’ a war ship off Colombo to twist JRJ’s arm and ram down Lanka’s throat an Indian ‘solution’. Dixit was, for all intents and purposes, India’s viceroy in SL. Rajiv came here like the crown prince to sign ‘agreements’. He almost got his head bashed by a Sri Lanka navy honor guard’s rifle butt. (By that time, his mother’s Sikh bodyguards had shot her to pieces for ordering the raid on their holiest shrine, the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Then India was fighting Sikh (Khalistan) separatists.)

    We also remember India’s parippu drop over Jaffna. The Sri Lanka army had Prabhakaran and India twisted SL’s arm to let him go. The SL air force was ordered to stay put.

    SL badly needed modern weapons to fight the Tigers who had big armories of sophisticated weapons. When SL asked India to sell weapons to us, India refused. So SL had no choice but to buy them from suppliers who was willing to sell. Those suppliers were China and Israel.

    India is hugely responsible for the misery we had to suffer for 30 years, mainly for nurturing anti-Sri Lankan Tamil terrorists on Indian soil. China is not.

    SL helped legitimize China by acknowledging the CCCP as China’s new government at the San Francisco conference, where most nations refused to acknowledge China and welcome that great nation into the international community. The rubber-rice trade pact between the two countries further helped China’s international status.

    Now the great dragon has well and truly awakened. China has a long memory. And China has never forgotten little Lanka’s help in her hour of need. And China came to Lanka’s help in our hour of need. China has been a true friend. And we grant friends favors.

  12. Rishi

    We know how Indira Gandhi and MGR and Karunanidhi and other Lanka-haters in Tamil Nadu nurtured the Tamil Tigers and their rival Tamil terrorist groups on Indian soil, sending them as a proxy force to destabilize Sri Lanka.

    Why? Well, in short, India did not like Yankee Dicky being pals with Uncle Sam. India was then an ally of the USSR and was playing the tune of the Kremlin. India did not want US influence in the Indian Ocean. Neither did the Kremlin, it goes without saying.

    But Yankee Dicky had promised land in Vavuniya for a VOA station and Trinco harbour for US navy use. Most of all, India did not want a thriving little capitalist country on its south. SL was speeding ahead, at one stage surpassing Singapore in growth. Indians were by that time coming to SL for duty free shopping, instead of going to Singapore as they used to earlier. Those Indians would have seen the difference between Lanka and India at that time.

  13. POVERTY INDIANS ARE GOING TO EAT THEIR OWN SHIT SOON..BECAUSE OF THEIR MEDELING..IN SRI LANKA..HAVING LOST THEIR LEVERAGE IN SRI LANKA..POVERTY INDIANS WILL SOON SEE CHINA ANNEX SOUTHERN SEA AREAS EVEN LANDS OF POVERTY INDIA..LIKE ASAM…TODAY ASAM IS IN CHINA S MAP..BEEDI SMOKING POVERTY INDIANS CANT GET EVEN ONE SQ.M OF THE 24,0000 SQ.KM LAND TAKEN BY CHINESE…..ACCORDING TO CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY…..PEOPLE IN ASAM DONT NEED VISA TO VISIT CHINA…..

  14. Fernando

    Rishi, I salute you. Those vile Indians and their sanctimonious claim and propaganda that they are “suffering from terror from Pakistan”. Well what about SL?? Remember arming and training of the most vicious terrorist outfits to destabilize Sri Lanka?? 30 years down the drain. in those 30 years we could have been a hong kong or singapore of south asia. but indeed we will get there now that the indian terrorist are destroyed and progress has finally appeared. and the chinese our friends who have no designs on us unlike india are here to help. after all hong kong and singapore are both chinese societies compared to dirt poor slumdog indians cities.

  15. Ashwin

    All my Sri Lankan friends must read this link.http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/index.php/opinion1/18137.html and be cautioned about what the Chinese dragon can do

  16. Dilhara

    We should welcome the Chinese for they are honourable people who dont stab you in the back. Ashwin, a sinhala ill-wisher of course want to scare us away because it is in India’s narrow and Machiavellian interest. One thing Indians need to do is to pay a heft reparations for the war crimes done on SL. SL have a long memory and we will never forget your despicable sponsor of terrorism.

    • Ashwin

      Dilhara,

      The article is written by a Sri Lankan … Forewarned is forearmed.. take it or leave it .

  17. NV Jen

    Because of China you have dumped the suffering Buddhists of Tibet. off himalayas….so your religious fanatism is only shown in suppressing other religions in Sri lanka, while readily licking the arse of the worlds worst oppressive regime that is killing true Buddhists in the mountain kingdom. Even your China can’t exist without the western market Remember. all you look forward is any damn country that contributes to your begging bowl annually, while other countries like India are becoming economic power centres.

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