Why CHINA Not India?- Economic and Geo-political commentary
By Abdul Samad
This article is with reference to Mr. Dayan Jayatilleka's write-up published on colombotelegraph.com dated 7 April 2017. It was titled, The Avurudu sale of Sri Lanka-Who will stop it? The writer makes a very valid point arguing the case for Sri Lanka to be with China as opposed to India. He also criticizes the Prime Minister's vision of the ETCA with India and rightly so. It simply does not make any economic and geo-political sense. This article is an attempt to compare both India and China in economic/geo-political terms, keeping Sri Lanka in the context.
The Economic Context
It is a well established fact that China enjoys far greater economic supremacy as opposed to India. The table provides some information on key economic indicators comparing the two countries.
It is clear beyond any doubt that China reigns above India in all major economic indicators. The Chinese economy is at least three times bigger. The biggest advantage China has is its workforce, which is double the size of India. It is also worth mentioning, China is the world's largest exporter valued at 2.21 trillion as of 2013 versus India's 313 billion. China is also the second largest provider of foreign direct investment in the world, providing $115 billion in the year of 2016.
Henceforth, it makes perfect economic sense for Sri Lanka to pursue its diplomatic efforts more inclined towards China. During the post-war era China has made unprecedented investment in infrastructure development of Sri Lanka. More importantly, China has shown a more result oriented approach to investment. India on the other hand has decreased its financial assistance to Sri Lanka as revealed by their Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his last budget.
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's inclination to the ETCA does not make any sense for Sri Lankans as India's commitment to the development of Sri Lanka is questionable. I conclude, China has a far more important and greater role to play if Sri Lanka is to realize its economic potential.
Geo-Politics of India and China
It is important that we realize the political landscape of both the countries. China largely operates in a Communist structure. Single party rule, that ensures the core decision- making rests with the State and demands absolute control.
Henceforth, she offers greater political stability. Foreign policy and decision-making is very stable and does not carry the risk of changing with government change. China also view's Sri Lanka as a strategic location in South Asia. Chinese presence in Sri Lanka effectively acts as shield against India. Sri Lanka does not have to be viewed as a State that's intimidated by its large neighbour when closely associated with an economic superpower. It is worth noting, China's trade decisions have little or no bearing on Sri Lankan sovereignty. It is one of the few countries that always supported Sri Lanka at the United Nations,
Co-sponsoring of UNHRC
Unity government's decision to co-sponsor the 30/1 resolution was a diplomatic insult to China and diplomatic relations. It is a foreign policy debacle that has damaged our credibility with one of the largest economic super powers in the world.
The timing of all this is even more crucial at a time when FDIs in Sri Lanka are next to nothing. The government has left absolutely no room to humiliate and antagonize Sri Lanka's largest FDI provider in recent times.
China's close diplomatic ties with Pakistan, another country that consistently supported Sri Lanka at UN, makes its geo-political presence in South Asia all the more important. Pakistan and Sri Lanka have always enjoyed cohesive diplomatic ties. Combining with China and Pakistan Sri Lanka is perfectly placed to challenge India both on the economic and political fronts.
India operates as the world's largest democracy. It is this very political and governance ideology that has been the cause for India's failure to match China's economic and political domination. A primitive society, that's governed by ancient principles and diverse ethnic political participants. Henceforth, offers little political stability and even lesser stable foreign policy. Policy is subject to the government in power.
The information furnished in the above table also reflects India has much to do on its own domestic front. More than 400 million people still live in poverty and are deprived of basic needs. Does it make sense for Sri Lankan politicians to expect assistance from India?
India is also home to diverse ethnicities that are powerful States domestically. Tamil Nadu, one such State with a majority of Tamils has close links to the Sri Lankan Tamil population. It has also openly supported the brutal LTTE that killed so many innocent civilians in Sri Lanka. In this context, does it make sense for the Sri Lankan Government to pursue meaningful diplomatic ties with India?
Diplomatic efforts should be channelled to bear meaningful results. The unity government's allegiance to India and the West has borne nothing so far. In fact, it is plunging Sri Lanka into a deeper conflict brewing situation in the name of ethnic reconciliation and war crime investigations.
It is worth mentioning that India views Sri Lanka's strong macroeconomic fundamentals as a direct threat to its economic presence in the SAARC region. It is a much easier task to develop a country the size of Sri Lanka compared to India. The post-war economic expansion was one reason for India to sponsor the unity government to power.
It was very clear two traditional political rivals cannot synchronize in unison to make decisions that are in the best interest of the country. The political instability also allows India to keep Sri Lanka in its shadows which has been the case historically.
President Maithripala Sirisena's and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's allegiance to India is more a political favour than a strategic initiative in the best interest of Sri Lanka. India is directly using the unity government to undermine the Chinese presence in Sri Lanka. In doing so, it is holding the Sri Lankan economy as bait.
Millions worth infrastructure projects are being kept on hold which can be long-term competitive advantages. For what? Only to satisfy India and the West! I want my readers to be clear such policy debacles do not affect the politicians. They continue to live extravagant lives obeying instructions of their masters.
Sri Lankan citizens at large are deprived of a better country, a better life, a world class economy and infrastructure. By aligning Sri Lanka's interests to negative forces the country is being pushed into deeper economic problems. India has achieved its ambitions by halting a rapidly expanding Sri Lankan economy and vibrant socially integrated society.
China, a powerful State that initiated massive development for Sri Lanka has been largely neglected and isolated to the detriment of the Sri Lankan people.
Solution must be acceptable to Tamils Separate State is not a reasonable request - Former Army Commander, General Gerry De Silva RWP, VSV, USP
- UN damns Lanka 14,000 minors in childcare centres Calls for urgent reforms
- Russia restricts Lanka tea over beetle scare Top-level delegation off to Moscow
- Call to criminalize marital rape Justice Ministry seeks Cabinet approval
- Jumbo killings Armed protection unit to be set up Fines, jail terms to be increased
- Crossovers loom prior to polls
- SC issues notice on Elections Chief
- Jilted SLFP shuns JO forever
- CEB TU threatens strike Gives 18th as ultimatum
- Gnanasara Thera’s request for foreign travel denied
- Chinese envoy says OBOR will take Sino-Lanka ties to new level
- Police Chief in pre-poll warning Errant officers will be dealt with strictly
- Court extends Stay Order on Gota case
- Sriyani as State Minister of PCs and LG JO crossover pledged support for MS
- Rains to prevail Landslide warning to Galle, Kalutara to be reviewed
- BJP lauds ‘Ram Setu’ findings Hits out at critics
- Two held for impersonation at exam centre
- Female Genital Mutilation Advice sought from medical experts
- Hambantota Port to China India raises security concerns
- Indian Air Force Chief at passing out parade
- Statement from the Embassy of the State of Palestine
- LG Governance first to collapse in N&E
- Asgiriya Secy criticizes Govt
- Namal’s Hello Corp case on 13 December
- Attanayake’s foreign travel request Court to consider on 4 Dec
- Drugs & alcohol abuse in NE Religious reps to address issue
- Interesting battle at Havelock Park
- Thurstan win inaugural golf tourney
- History making Pulisic US men’s footballer of the year
- Knicks down Nets despite early exit for Porzingis
- 34th Mercantile Individual Tournament 2017 McLarens shuttlers Overall Champions
- Retired Hewitt takes tilt at Aussie Open doubles
- Lamborghini World Final 2017 Malagamuwa finishes third
- Committee clears Thilaka as SL coach
- Basnayake uncontested president at SLCF
- Premier League Club Cricket Primosh scores second ton
- Vinod and Taniya win Junior golf titles
- Taveesh wins two Gold medals
- Austin Waugh, in Australia's U-19
- CH come back to win
- Smith foils England again
- Emphatic win for CR
- No Malinga in T20 squad
- ‘Singer Trophy’ Under-19 Cricket Paceman Bandara steers Kingwood
- Federer voted BBC overseas sports personality of the year
- SLC looking to re-launch showpiece T20 league
- Astron wins again at SLIM NASCO 2017
- NDB brings Santa to the doorstep
- Com Bank opens branch No. 259 in Yatiyantota
- Amãna Takaful relocates Matale Branch
- Lotus Tyres rewards sales agents
- DFCC Bank sponsors 2017 Inter-School Golf Tournament
- Huawei announces Christmas promotion
- Elephant House recognized by Interbrand
- Singer (Sri Lanka) partners with Pan Asia Bank
- Disney deal suggests the Tax bill may mean little for the economy
- Commonwealth Bank admits failures in money laundering case
- Japanese business confidence hits 11-year high
- Eurozone economy to grow at faster rate, says Central Bank
- SEC to mandate dual roles for CEOs & Chairmen
- Alumex to commence EU & Aus exports
- Fiscal Policy Act remains toothless: Governor
- Samantha Rajapaksa gives up all AMW posts
- 'Publish excuses for corporate governance non-compliance'
- Jetwing Symphony IPO oversubscribed
- Shares recover from an 8-month low
- Christmas cheer is in the air!
- So, this is Christmas!
- A Time of Gifts Winding up
- Landmine deaths soar in 2016 With record number of child victims monitors
- Unravelling Nietzsche’s ‘death of God’ mystery
- Canada’s pivot to China hits a snag
- Brexit: The UK’s four options
- When the heart calls out, on a starry night
- On eve of climate summit Macron reminds Trump of ‘responsibility to history’
- FGM/FGC Victims speak out
- Wigneswaran sowing seeds of communalism
- SLFP supports devolution of power – Lasantha Alagiyawanna
- If Bond scammers are not prosecuted…President will lose his credibility –Bandula Gunawardena
- All information security issues are not cyber crimes
- We want a change in Muslim representation– Hasen Ali
- Blessed are the peacemakers
- Disinformation campaigns and public mistrust
- Alleged human rights violations Lord Naseby defends Sri Lanka
- Neecha Dosha of planets and how it is cancelled Neechabhanga Rajayoga
- Vastu defects and bathrooms
- Are you endowed with Pancha Maha PurushaYoga?
- God Aiyanayake: Guardian Deity of Jungle and Village
- Good thoughts eliminate bad planetary influence
- The Disaster Artist: The (un)making of a movie
- Our children and our cinema
- INTERPRETING ASIAN CINEMA: CHALLENGES AHEAD
- How Sanskrit journalism is slowly hogging headlines
- ice manufacturing in South Asia
- CMSC’s season finale concert
- Two documentaries on Sri Lanka in Film South Asia 2017
- Politics of nostalgia
- Kite Surfing Lanka Kalpitiya An experience of a lifetime
- Ella and mini Adam’s Peak
- A cave of history -Ravana Cave
- Silvia Senanayake Dazzles at Mrs. Asia International
- Let’s Taco Colombo
- THE WRITER’S KITCHENNETTE MULLED WINE
- Hunger gnaws at Rohingya Children in camps
- Defeating IS Russia has ‘accomplished’ task
- Saudi Princess Ameera Aidan fights sex exploitation
- Hacking into the gate
- Review: A Bad Moms Christmas Relatable holiday humour
- A must watch superhero film!