India and China have been competing for influence in the Maldives, Sri-Lanka and other Asian nations. Even though China did manage to temporarily dislodge India from the Maldives, New Delhi, however, wrestled back the island nation into its sphere of influence. Now India and China are competing over Sri-Lanka, another island nation which has been traditionally considered a key Indian ally.
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Experts that EurAsian Times talked to debate that both India and China are competing for influence in the South Asian region. “India has had a very close connection with the Maldives and whenever there was any crisis in the country, India has been the first country to assist. Both the people-to-people contact and Government-Government contact between two nations has been excellent. China money can never substantiate for Indian trust.
What makes it necessary for both India and China is to have their influence over countries like Sri Lanka and the Maldives is that despite their small size, these nations sit on key oil and trade routes that connect Asia to the Middle East and Europe. The control over the strategic ports will decide which nation gets to dominate the seas and control trade, something both India and China are keen on.
Experts agree that India cannot compete with China on a dollar to dollar basis, it is the quality of partnerships that India has with most neighbours that makes the difference. Sri-Lanka has already tasted Chinese debt-trap policy by handing over the strategic Hambantota port to China and installing pro-China Rajapaksa as the PM might only end up endangering the nation.