- Category: Chogm 2013
- Published on Tuesday, 10 September 2013 16:03
- Hits: 651
The Indian daily “Indian Express” said that China is planning to woo Sri Lankans by sending a 120-member business delegation to the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) to be held on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of States Summit. The CBF is open to non-commonwealth countries as well.
It said that the Chinese delegation would be the harbinger of a Sino-Lankan Strategic Cooperation Partnership, which would be based on the findings of field studies already conducted by Chinese business and economic fact-finding missions.
The paper said that there will be Chinese investments in Jaffna in the very near future, and enhancement of Sri Lankan exports of garments, tea, rubber, gems and jewellery and light engineering goods to China under a Free Trade Agreement being negotiated.
China is already Lanka’s biggest creditor, having pledged over a billion US dollars in 2012.
The Indian Express also said that China is forging ahead in an area in which India has failed. It said that after much dilly-dallying, the Sri Lankan Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa, has recently made it clear that the long-standing Indian proposal for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) was not acceptable and Sri Lanka fears economic and political domination by India. It said that in contrast, there is no fear of Chinese domination.
Indian Express further stated that the “strategic cooperation partnership” has among its goals, political objectives like the preservation of national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The Indian Express correspondent P.K.Balachandran also states that while China is not seen as a political threat, Sri Lanka sees India as a threat to its sovereignty and integrity, given its interventions on behalf of the Tamil minority in the North and East and its continued insistence on the implementation of the 13th Amendment (13A) of the Lankan constitution which envisages some devolution of power to the provinces. He says that Sri Lankan rulers fear that full implementation of 13A will lead to secession, and they also feel that India is in cahoots with the “separatist” Tamil National Alliance (niz)