The IUP Journal of International Relations
India and China in Sri Lanka: Power Contestations for Strategic Space

Article Details
Pub. Date : Oct, 2021
Product Name : The IUP Journal of International Relations
Product Type : Article
Product Code : IJIR31021
Author Name :Mansi Mishra*
Availability : YES
Subject/Domain : Arts & Humanities
Download Format : PDF Format
No. of Pages : 17



Emerging world powers tend to compete over having a penetrating influence in the countries which remain pivotal to their strategic and economic interests. Sri Lanka is one of the most influential neighbors of India, primarily because of its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, which plays a significant role in India's foreign policy. From this standpoint, when powers meet at a commonplace, fissures are bound to get generated in the process. Due to the two emerging powers' deep interest in the region, Sri Lanka plays a collaborative role between the two rival giants, India and China. China wants to expand its regional connectivity and maritime competitiveness in the region, while India is trying to better its relations with all the neighboring states to proclaim the role of a leader in South Asia. The divergence of interests of China and India is conspicuous in the littoral state of Sri Lanka. Both powers meet in Sri Lanka in the charged dynamics of South Asian politics. The strategic location of Sri Lanka forms the bedrock of security and has a significant bearing on the economic prosperity of these countries. The paper aims to trace the scope of India's competition and cooperation in the South Asian region while analyzing the role of Sri Lanka in it. It also dwells on the prospects of China's growing economic intervention in Sri Lanka as a threat to the Indian security apparatus.


In the current global interactions, oceans play a critical role between countries while deciding a particular policy. The geostrategic significance of the Indian Ocean is embedded in multiple dynamics of the region as a whole. From more significant economic expansion and opportunities, various capable regional and intra-regional leaders across the region vowing for supremacy to its richness in natural resources, and immense trade and commerce opportunities bring to light its importance. The sea lines of communication present here foster the largest economies of Asia, and almost 80% of world trade passes through the chokepoints of the Indian Ocean, which provides for the routes from East to West.1 The gradual increase in maritime activities has transformed the prevailing geopolitical balance and new strategic and security