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Game of Thrones: Sri Lanka Stiffs India for China

After promising a prime plot of land in central Colombo for an Indian cultural center, the Sri Lankan government has backtracked and sold the land to China’s state-owned aircraft manufacturer, which maintains close ties to Pakistan’s military. Surprised at the slight, India’s high commission lodged a “strong” protest with the Sri Lankan government.

Though the Chinese company isn’t likely to use the land in Colombo for aerospace manufacturing of any kind (reports suggest it will build a 5-star hotel), the backtrack shows the growing closeness between Colombo and Beijing, which comes at Delhi’s expense.

India and Sri Lanka have been estranged of late, with India recently calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes during the end of the Sri Lankan civil war. Dehli is caught between its concern for the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils, who are struggling to rebuild their lives after the brutal end of the war with very little enthusiasm or assistance from Colombo, and its desire not to push its neighbor into the warm embrace of China or Pakistan. India is in a pickle, and the situation seems to be slipping out of its grasp.

In the Indian Ocean, the Game of Thrones is on.

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  • Jim.

    Classic checkerboard diplomacy.

    What do you want to bet that that hotel turns out to be a “research center” for Chinese aerospace? Look for them to hold professional conferences there, open to military and civilian aerospace representatives from around the Indian Ocean and even worldwide.

    Then expect the Chinese intelligence to sift through their luggage and ‘Net traffic.

  • Kris

    “Dehli [sic] is caught between its concern … India is in a pickle”

    Great. Now I’m hungry.

  • Sam L.

    Having had only minimal contact with reports of Sri Lanka, I recall only the Tamil Tigers and thinking they were in the wrong.

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