Sri Lanka investments crucial to China’s overseas strategy

china sri lanka 2Defending China’s big ticket investments in Sri Lanka announced during the just concluded visit of President Xi Jinping, Chinese media has said as a major power, the country has every reason to employ a strategy to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean region.

“These wharfs, railways, dams and oil and gas pipelines, once labelled as ‘strategic’, will be inevitably interpreted as China’s efforts to reinforce its global strategy.

“That is why these projects are also described as China’s ‘veins’ and ‘lifelines’, an article in state-run Global Times said.

In the just concluded visit of President Xi to Lanka, he launched a new port city project funded by China and witnessed the official start of the Puttalam power plant project, which according to some media reports is less than 200 kilometers from India.

“Projects like this are often regarded as China’s endeavour to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean, and these moves are China’s “crucial strategic deployments” of its resources to gain a firm foothold in the busiest sea lane,” it said.

“‘Strategic’ is not a derogatory term, and China, as a major power, has every reason to employ an overseas strategy,” it said.

The article, however, cautions against “excessive interpretations by some media” that have brought misunderstandings about China’s “going global” strategy.

“China’s investments in some ports in Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Myanmar are even interpreted by Chinese media as ways to ensure the security of Chinese oil shipping sea lane.”

But, the article said, “the rejuvenation of the maritime Silk Road cannot be realised by ensuring the accessibility of a sea lane for oil transportation. It is a 21st century project that aims for the common prosperity of the broad region around the Indian Ocean, including Asia, Africa and Europe, and it needs long-term joint efforts in various aspects,” it said.

The key to foreign investments is not how much capital China can provide, but whether the money can really shore up regional development, it said.

“Only when these projects are in line with the local situations, can they be sustainable, and can the economic profits truly benefit all stakeholders,” it said. (Economic Times)

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