China’s investment in developing port city projects in Sri Lanka has been constantly termed as its bid to garner control over the island nation’s already crippled economy, by various nations including India. The port city projects include the development of commercial hubs in the Sri Lankan coastal areas of Colombo and Hambantota. The Port City Colombo (PCC), unveiled in 2014 during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit, stands as Sri Lanka’s largest foreign direct investment, with Beijing having already committed $1.4 billion to the ambitious endeavour. Critics of the project have argued that the project will give China too much control over Sri Lanka’s economy and that it will lead to environmental damage. However, the Sri Lankan government has defended the project, arguing that it will create jobs and boost the economy.
Milinda Moragoda, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, at an event held in New Delhi recently said PCC is simply a property development project and the Sri Lankan government would have control and oversight over it. He also said he doesn’t see anythin sinister in it.
Project, a part of Belt and Road Initiative?
According to an article published in the University of Oxford’s peer-reviewed academic journal of international affairs, St Antony’s International Review (STAIR), China’s growing investments will impact Sri Lanka in the long run. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is not unknown to the world. While several nations have been raising concerns over China’s growing influence on global forums, it has constantly been making infrastructural investments, which have been contributing towards its growing political and economic control.
The project is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is a global infrastructure development program. The BRI has been criticized by some countries, who argue that it is a way for China to expand its influence around the world. The port city project is expected to create jobs, boost the economy, and attract foreign investment. However, the project has also been criticized for giving China too much control over Sri Lanka’s economy. It remains to be seen whether the project will be a success or a failure.
Environmental impact of the project
According to an article published by Observer Research Foundation (ORF), environmentalists and fishermen have been consistently opposing the rock extraction project in Kammalthota, Sri Lanka. It is being argued the project will have a detrimental impact on biodiversity and marine life, and that it will also harm the livelihoods of local fishermen.
Environmentalists are also concerned about the impact of rock extraction on the environment. They argue that the project will destroy coral reefs and other marine habitats and that it will pollute the water with sediment and chemicals, according to the ORF.
The government has defended the project, arguing that it is necessary to meet the demand for construction materials. However, environmentalists and fishermen are calling on the government to reconsider the project and find a more sustainable way to meet the demand for construction materials.
Sri Lanka’s rising debt worries
According to the article, ‘Locked-In’ to China: The Colombo Port City Project, published by Stanford University, Sri Lanka is heavily indebted to China, and it is struggling to repay its loans. This debt crisis is the result of a number of factors, including the country’s ambitious infrastructure projects, which were often financed with Chinese loans. The Colombo Port City project has been criticized for its potential to compromise Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.
The debt crisis is having a significant impact on Sri Lanka’s economy. The country is struggling to import essential goods, and it is facing a shortage of foreign currency. This has led to shortages of food, fuel, and medicine. The crisis is also causing social unrest, and there have been protests and riots in recent months.
According to the author of the article, the debt crisis in Sri Lanka has also raised concerns about China’s influence in the country. Some experts have warned that China could use its debt to Sri Lanka to gain a strategic advantage. This is a concern that is shared by Sri Lanka’s neighbours, including India.
Despite “red flags” being constantly raised by various economic expert organizations, civil societies and environmentalists, Sri Lanka has been justifying the project.