Does Debt Pay? China and the Politics of Investment in Sri Lanka, The Diplomat Magazine, 19 January 2018

The Diplomat, an international current-affairs magazine, published an article by Yale-NUS College Assistant Professor of Social Sciences Dr Rohan Mukherjee and Dr Darren J Lim from Australian National University, on the sources and impact of China’s economic leverage over Sri Lanka. The article noted that the Sri Lankan government formally handed over the control of the port of Hambantota to China for over a billion dollars, a price which came in the form of a reduction in the debt burden to Beijing that was crippling Sri Lanka’s economy. The article questioned whether China’s motives were imperialist and whether this form of economic diplomacy was effective. The writers opined that the Sri Lankan government had sought to maximise the benefits it could gain from the competition for investment and influence between China and India. They concluded that the odds of this type of economic diplomacy successfully driving a wedge between India and Sri Lanka on the security front remained minimal.

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