by Our Diplomatic Affairs Editor
It is well known that Sri Lanka is currently facing a significant debt crisis, with one of its major creditors being China. As such, the recent visit by highly placed delegates from China to Sri Lanka during the tenure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa came as no surprise. What was surprising, however, was the strict suggestion made by the Chinese delegation for Sri Lanka not to declare default.
According to reliable sources with knowledge of the issue, China strongly believed that Sri Lanka would lose its grip irreversibly if the country declared default. Furthermore, they warned that such a move would have a series of bad impacts on the country’s future. Despite China’s warning, the Rajapaksa government decided to stand with India and the USA.
India and the USA had promised not only to strengthen cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but also to protect Gotabaya Rajapaksa under any circumstances, reliable sources said. However, “at the last moment, none of those countries came to help Rajapaksa to protect his presidency. Instead, they manoeuvred political scenarios to mark his exit while defaming his political career,” the sources added.
The cautionary tale here is that countries like Sri Lanka should exercise caution when dealing with foreign powers. In particular, the country should not rely too heavily on one country or group of countries, as this can lead to a dangerous dependence.
China’s warning to Sri Lanka not to declare default is a timely reminder of the importance of foreign relations. While it is important for countries to seek out economic opportunities, it is equally important to ensure that they maintain their independence and protect their national interests. Sri Lanka’s experience should serve as a cautionary tale to other countries that may be tempted to rely too heavily on foreign powers.