IRS |Institute of Regional Studies

Islamabad

Contemporary Regional Developments in Siri Lanka

23rd December - 30th December
  • President Maithripala Sirisena committed to create a clean, unstained and a people-friendly political culture. He would not hesitate to use the ‘sword’ on his relatives, friends or party supporters in this journey, he said. Politicians must not have personal agendas but a national agenda to serve the people, the President urged.
  • Thirteen Indian fishermen have been arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for engaging in illegal fishing in the Sri Lankan territorial waters in the seas off Katchativu Island on December 31, 2017.
16th December - 22nd December
  • India appears threatened by Chinese projects in Sri Lanka according to Chinese experts. Chinese experts believe that India has adopted a very dangerous zero-sum mindset on China's cooperation with other countries, which is not conducive to regional economic cooperation.
  • Malaysia and Sri Lanka will expand existing close cooperation in many fields including trade and investment, agriculture and intelligence exchange to curb drugs and human smuggling.
  • Sri Lankan government banned begging in Colombo city from January first 2018.
  • Minister Ranawaka said considering the inconvenience caused to the public and as a measure of Colombo city beautification, it has been decided to prohibit begging in and around Colombo from January 1st itself.
  • Jerusalem does not belong to one group said by Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith. He condemned the decision of Israel to shift its capital from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem which is considered sacred by the Christians.
8th December - 15th December
  • Sri Lanka handed over a deep-sea port Hambantota which has immense strategic significance on a 99-year lease to Chinese state-owned firms on December 9, 2017. The decision over the port which is the world's busiest east-west shipping route has raised concerns at home and abroad.
  • The Sri Lankan government made this decision after failing to operate it profitably and its inability to repay the loan. The construction of the strategic port was started in 2008 with China funding 85 per cent of the project. With the signing of the agreement, Sri Lanka received $300 million which will help it in its debt settlement.
  • Sri Lanka supports an open economy and takes steps to modernize the city of Colombo and elsewhere while preserving its heritage according to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. “The civilization of Sri Lanka was a powerful commercial one. The modern commercialization came to Asia from Sri Lanka.” Prime Minister made this remark at a seminar ‘Living Heritage’ organized by the European Union together with the British Council on December 13, 2017.
  • IMF approved USD 251.4 million to Sri Lanka after completing the third review of Sri Lanka’s Extended Fund Facility arrangement.
1st December - 7th December
  • Despite India’s covert efforts to bring pro-India government in Sri Lanka, India could not stop Sri Lanka from becoming partner in Chinese Maritime Silk Road project.
  • Sri Lanka is left with tough choices to keep balance in the relations with China and India due to rising national debt of $ 6.4 billion in which much has been contributed by Chinese development projects.
  • Debt servicing has become a major challenge to the government in Sri Lanka with 2019 proving to be the test. An estimated USD 5.7 billion of International Sovereign Bonds and syndicated loans are scheduled for settlement over a period of three years, beginning in 2019.
  • Apart from relying on maritime Silk Road project, Sri Lankan government will also focus on bilateral trade agreements and expanding FTA with both India and China to deal with the problem of massive national debt.

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