Accept good aspects: Former Sri Lankan PM Ranil on China’s Belt and Road Initiative

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Sri Lanka should accept the good aspects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), reject the bad ones, and maintain a balanced foreign policy, Sri Lankan Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in a webinar yesterday.

“We need to maintain a good relationship with India, China and Europe,” he said.

“Defeating the Rajapaksa dominated regime is one thing, and setting up a steady policy framework to develop the nation is another matter. There is no point in defeating this regime if we cannot agree to a common policy framework,” Ranil said.

It is to be noted that, recently, the Sri Lankan Parliament recently approved the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill, which allows China to build the port city on land reclaimed from the sea.

On June 17, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of India’s External Affairs Ministry says, “Sri Lanka will remain mindful of our excellent bilateral cooperation, including for mutual security in our shared environment, which includes the maritime domain,” in response to the $1.4 billion China-backed Colombo Port City project.

A week ago, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that connectivity efforts must be based on economic viability and financial responsibility and they should not create debt burdens. This statement at a regional conference in Tashkent is seen as an indirect reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

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