China accused of using Sri Lanka as a pawn

China accused of using Sri Lanka as a pawn

Former Deputy National Security Advisor (NSA) Pankaj Saran slammed the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka for linking the Taiwan issue with Sri Lanka and saying Beijing has always been supporting Colombo in the international fora for protecting its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

In a series of tweets on Friday, the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka praised Colombo for allowing its spy ship – Yuan Wang 5 – to dock at Hambantota port despite objection from India. Ambassador Qi Zhenhong also criticised India for objecting to the docking of the ship and called it an infringement on the national sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

He said approving a foreign vessel’s port call at Hambantota for replenishment is a decision made by the Sri Lankan government completely within its sovereignty and external obstruction based on so-called “security concerns” from certain forces is de facto a thorough interference into Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence.

A day after this statement, India hit back at Colombo saying his violation of basic diplomatic etiquette may be a personal trait or reflect a larger national attitude.

Today, the Deputy NSA said that it is quite remarkable China had such a face to make a statement showing its sympathy with Sri Lanka considering the fact that Sri Lankan economic collapse has largely been due to Chinese policies over the last few years.
“China used Sri Lanka as a pawn in a bigger game. As far as India is concerned we have a relationship with Sri Lanka that goes back in time and we will continue to pursue it in future. We have a different approach to dealing with our neighbours,” he said.

The Indian High Commission in Colombo, too, had attacked the Chinese Ambassador for his comments on New Delhi’s role. “His view of Sri Lanka’s northern neighbour may be coloured by how his own country behaves. India, we assure him, is very different. His imputing a geopolitical context to the visit of a purportedly scientific research vessel is a giveaway,” the Indian High Commission said while referring to his comments on Yuan Wang 5.

Hitting back at Beijing’s debt diplomacy, India also said that opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. “Sri Lanka needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies to serve another country’s agenda,” it said. (Times Now)

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