On August 26, China’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong published an article in a Sri Lankan newspaper in which he drew parallels between American leader Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, and India’s objections to Chinese tracking tracking vessel Yuan Wang-5 docking at Sri Lanka’s strategically significant Hambantota port. In the article, without naming India, he effectively accused India of bullying Sri Lanka, and interfering with its sovereignty by trying to pressurise it over its decision to allow the docking of the Chinese vessel. He concluded his piece by saying that China and Sri Lanka should join hands to protect their respective sovereignties from countries such as the US and India.
India’s response was uncharacteristically sharp. In a series of tweets, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka charged the Chinese Ambassador with “violating basic diplomatic etiquette”. Is the entire episode, involving India, Sri Lanka and China an outlier, or are we likely to see more such confrontations as the geopolitical competition in the Indian Ocean heats up? What are Sri Lanka’s options in this scenario?
Guests: Ananth Krishnan, The Hindu’s China correspondent, and
Meera Srinivasan, The Hindu’s Sri Lanka correspondent
Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu
Edited by Sharmada Venkatasubramanian
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