The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.
Vineet Thapliyal, MBA 2014-16, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a visit to Sri Lanka. It is being seen as India’s step to mitigate China’s growing influence in Sri Lanka. China & Sri Lanka have enjoyed healthy relations over the years while India’s relations with Sri lanka have gone through ups and downs. This is the first time after 28 years when an Indian Prime minister has visited Sri Lanka.
Modi declared that Sri Lanka would be the first nation to benefit from India’s economic progress. He committed 1.6 billion dollars to Sri Lanka’s progress and held bilateral talks with the Sri Lankan President Sirisena. Visa on arrival has also been announced for Sri Lankan citizens. The next day he visited the war scarred Jaffna to inaugurate a railway line rebuilt by India. The issues over fishing, which have always been a cause of concern between the 2 nations were also discussed and Prime minister Modi said that they should be considered on ‘Humanitarian grounds’.
Overall, it was a good move made by India, to strengthen ties with the neighbour state. China has been trying to get closer to Sri lanka. But the newly elected Sri Lankan Government recently suspended Chinese funded Sri Lankan Port city project citing environmental and corruption issues. Also last month, the Sri Lankan President had visited India showing his interest in improving relations. So I feel, it was the perfect time to visit Sri Lanka and counter China’s moves to lure Sri Lanka and gain strategic advantage in the Indian Ocean.