Fri, 30 Sep 2022

Colombo [Sri Lanka], August 9 (ANI): Sri Lanka's economic crisis has resulted in a serious political and socio-economic impact on its residents. But for India, analysts regard this situation as an opportunity to regain lost ground in the island nation.

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worse socio-economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948. Amidst debilitating power shortages and a lack of critical resources, the country's once robust healthcare system is now teetering on the edge of collapse.

The decline has severely impacted sexual and reproductive health services, including maternal healthcare and access to contraception.

Writing for the Diplomat magazine, Sameer Patil and Don McLain Gill argued that the unfolding situation may impede China's intent to increase its regional strategic influence and power projection.

They argued that critical indicators of the strategic influence of an extra-regional power lie in its ability to sustain bilateral military exercises and operationalize defence cooperation with regional states.

"While China has emerged as a major arms exporter to the region (primarily Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar), it has not been able to expand military exchanges and other facets of defence cooperation with South Asian states," Patil and Gill said in a joint write-up.

Citing India's growing material capabilities and its geographic proximity, the regional experts said most South Asian states too have found it prudent to not overtly engage in actions with extra-regional states that may directly upset the regional balance of power.

"Therefore, China's attempts to convert its growing presence into strategic influence to offset India's leadership role in the region received a setback," they said.

Patil and Gill also highlight how Chinese investments led to economic crises and subsequently to questions on the effectiveness of China's role as a development partner in the region.

They also point to the growing global pushback to Chinese investments and continuing scepticism over its economic growth, putting India in an advantageous position.

"Therefore, India has the potential to offset China's growing but still limited influence in the region (barring perhaps Pakistan) by not only illustrating the gaps in China's approach but, through economic assistance, also highlighting India's approach as a better, people-centric and a viable alternative," they said. (ANI)

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