Sri Lanka & Maldives: Playing fields for India and China
South China Sea is China’s Sea. But China wants Indian Ocean also to be her own. The Indian Foreign Affairs Advising official Shiv Shankar Menon has signed pact with two island nations recently citing the reason joint patrolling and security in Indian Ocean. India thinks China’s nose is getting into the affairs between India and Indian Ocean Countries.
Shiv shankar Menon who was termed by few as a Pro-Sri Lankan official in Indian Camp is assigned to bring back Maldives and Sri Lanka into India’s friendship circle.
India failed miserably when Maldives acted against Naseed, the former head of the government in the islands. It was considered as China’s move to dump India in Indian Ocean. Naseed, the Pro-Indian president of Maldives took asylum in Indian Embassy when he was to be arrested. The Present Maldivian Government thrown away Indian Company GMR, which was expected to do Airport restructuring and Infrastructure restructuring for Maldives. India tried its level best to keep GMR active in the islands. But the failure was transparent and known to the whole of sub-continent.
India now fears that the dragon has started to eat her friends. Beijing’s expansion of power in the Indian Ocean is a big concern for New Delhi. The present foreign affairs minister Shalman Kurshid is not able to do any thing. He replaced SM Krishna, who was voiced against China. But Mr Kurshid is not able to act similarly against China.
While Maldives is out of India’s power circle, Sri Lanka too – an on and off friend of India- is not ready to listen to India in lot of matters. But Sri Lanka is trying to play a balance act between New Delhi and Beijing.
The Joint Patrolling in the Indian Ocean particularly in Palk Strait was Sri Lanka’s demand. Sri Lanka wanted to do joint patrolling to reduce Indian naval service monitoring to an extent. India is willing to render Financial and Intelligence support to Sri Lanka. Indian Oil Corporation’s Sri Lankan division Lanka IOC is the BP (British Petroleum) of Sri Lanka. Oil Industry in Sri Lanka is virtually in the hands of the Indian Government. China is getting into the Infrastructural development of the island nation. Hambantota harbour is in the hands of China. Both China and India are twisting their arms professionally in the Island. In otherwords, India and China are dictating the Sri Lankan economy. The reality is both of them wants to dictate the government too. They want more cordial presidents in the pearl of East.
Indian Ocean is now in turbulent political currents.
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