Sri Lankan opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa has said that the whole of Sri Lanka has turned into a refugee camp. It also makes sense for him to say that India itself is maintaining a refugee camp called Sri Lanka which is waiting for help from other countries for everything including food.
India, which continues to provide food, pharmaceuticals and fuel, has so far provided $3.5 billion, which include 600 million US dollars grant. Remaining have been provided as a loan basis, and India’s Chief Economic Adviser Ananda Nageswaran visited Sri Lanka last week in an attempt to consolidate these financial assistances.
But the conditions for these loans were that the Sri Lankan government had to comply with India’s demands. In the first phase, transportation to India will be started from Palali airport and Kangesanturai port, and export and import trade will also be carried out through it in the future. That is why India offered to develop Kangesanthurai port at a cost of 45 million dollars.
India’s grip on Sri Lanka, which began with Modi’s visit to Sri Lanka in 2017, has been delayed by US and Chinese moves, but India seems determined to make the most of the current situation.
However, a similar situation has been created by these countries in Sri Lanka as the geopolitics between the United States and China caused the economic collapse of Ecuador and created political crises. But in Sri Lankan issue there is one more stakeholder, India.
The role of the United States in turning Sri Lanka’s current crisis into a political crisis is immense. The United States will not help Sri Lanka until the failure of the $480 million Millennium Challenge Agreement is defeated.
While US Treasury officials travelled to Sri Lanka last week, US-based Hamilton Reserve Bank is suing Sri Lanka for $250 million worth of unpaid debt.
The American Embassy has granted 5 million dollars to Sri Lanka. When Sri Lanka needs 500 million dollars to buy fuel for a month, the US aid is negligible. The US is not going to provide massive aid without achieving its political and military interests.
The same situation happened to Ecuador because it refused to give the Manra air base in the Pacific region for the use of the United States military, and Sri Lanka also blocked the free movement of American troops through the Millennium Challenge agreement. The global crisis has escalated as China has owed over 10 percent of Sri Lanka’s $51 billion debt, similarly it took over 20 percent of Ecuador’s $55 billion debt.
The International Monetary Fund, which has completed its 10-day field work last Thursday (30), has made only a few promises. It has announced that it will provide guarantees for new investors. But this is just a word of comfort because in an economically depressed country no private person will make investments for some years, instead powerful countries may make investments based on their political and global interests.
What Sri Lanka is expecting is not the technical assistance from the International Monetary Fund, Sri Lanka needs 6 billion dollars immediately if the country to operate next month. $5 billion to buy essential goods, $1 billion to maintain the currency. That is what Sri Lanka expects from the International Monetary Fund. But the International Monetary Fund will not make any move unless Sri Lanka complies with US interests.
The Sri Lankan government, which still believes that it has succeeded in deceiving the international community during the civil war, has also created an appearance of conniving with Russia to deceive the West. The Sri Lankan government also intercepted a Russian Aeroflot plane, hoping that the United States would give over billions of dollars like Ukraine.
But there was no change in the West. The reason for that is that Sri Lanka’s resistance is a deception, being in a place with pro-Russian neighbours such as China and India, anyone can easily understand.
However, Sri Lanka, which went back to Russia for oil, did not receive much reception. During talks with Russian envoy in Sri Lanka last week, Sri Lankan officials plead to the government in Moscow to supply much needed fuel, coal, and fertiliser. But the envoy said that their government, by law, was forbidden from dealing with any bankrupt state.
Even though, the President of Sri Lanka is currently waiting for permission to talk to Russian President Vladimir Putin directly on the phone. As Putin said at the BRICS conference last week, “A multipolar system of international relations is now being formed. It is an irreversible process; it is happening before our eyes and is objective in nature,”.
Countries that join this alliance can only move into an irreversible order. If it is going to do so, the price should be paid to the opposite party. The opposition will try to achieve it by asserting the sovereignty of the peoples living there. Sri Lanka is no exception.