Sri Lanka Is Coming Into Play

Uncertainty is growing in Sri Lanka as the nation’s top political leaders have not been heard from in the aftermath of Saturday’s takeover of the presidential residence and offices. The prime minister’s own residence was overrun by protesters as well. Since Saturday’s unrest, Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has not been heard from. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinge has gone radio silent too. There have been reports the president plans to resign on Wednesday, however Rajapaksa has not addressed the reports or his intentions. At the present time it is unclear who, if anyone, is leading Sri Lanka. The longer Rajapaksa remains incommunicado, the greater the chances are of a vacuum forming in Colombo. Opposition leaders are trying to determine if Rajapaksa will in fact resign on Wednesday, and if so, what will the nation’s new government look like. At first glance the speaker of parliament appears to be the probable choice to lead the nation after Rajapaksa’s departure, yet it is unclear what meetings are going on behind the scenes.

Events over the weekend make it clear Sri Lanka is just about in play on the geopolitical chessboard. Whoever takes the reins of power in Colombo next will be faced with the daunting task of preventing the country from careening off the cliff into economic oblivion once and for all. To stop this from happening, large amounts of financial and material aid will be needed. Unfortunately for Sri Lanka, its moment of need comes in the midst of global instability brought on by the Ukraine war and subsequent surging energy prices. India, which has been Sri Lanka’s guardian angel of sorts for a long time, has already contributed billions of dollars in an effort to keep the nation afloat. Yet more funds, fuel and food will be needed in the coming weeks and months.

Should India fail to stabilize Sri Lanka, the door will open for China to move in and attempt to save Sri Lanka while at the same time dragging the island nation inexorably into Beijing’s sphere of influence. Attention should be locked on Sri Lanka and the entire Indian Ocean region in the upcoming week. Things are happening there which will have a significant effect on regional security as well as the growing India-China rivalry.

4 thoughts on “Sri Lanka Is Coming Into Play

  1. There is a lot of history in this world, most in the West have never heard, myself included.
    Like who is this guy (from Sri Lanka wikipedia page)?
    “Sri Lanka gradually decayed in power. In 1215, Kalinga Magha, an invader with uncertain origins, identified as the founder of the Jaffna kingdom, invaded and captured the Kingdom of Polonnaruwa. He sailed from Kalinga 690 nautical miles on 100 large ships with a 24,000 strong army. Unlike previous invaders, he looted, ransacked and destroyed everything in the ancient Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa Kingdoms beyond recovery. ”
    Most modern countries couldn’t pull this off today.

    • No way. It’s pretty much impossible in this day and age. As far as Sri Lankan history goes, it has a very rich and interesting history to say the least!

  2. Admittedly, I know very little regarding Sri Lanka, but just looking at the map, this is India’s ballgame. Sorta how the dysfunctional island of Haiti seems to be a perennial drain of resources of the US, really just due to it’s proximity.
    Suppose the question for India is does it want a Haiti: an endless pit to drop time, money, & resources into. Or a Cuba, a minor enemy, where a larger enemy could conceivably stage larger forces off of.
    I’ll have to study up more.

    • The current (and soon to be leaving) leadership has close ties with China, so it would be in Beijing’s interest to step up and play a role in this. Of course India has its own reasons for wanting Sri Lanka secure and stable, as well as keeping China as far away as possible.

      I like Cuba as the better comparison. History certainly has some examples of that island nation causing major headaches for us at the behest of a larger enemy.

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