India-Sri Lanka relations are headed for new turbulence as New Delhi is beginning to get “concerned” that Colombo is once again tilting towards Beijing, ThePrint has learnt.
Earlier this month, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s government in Sri Lanka scrapped its $500 million agreement with India and Japan to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) project, instead seeking investments from the two countries for the West Container Terminal of the Port of Colombo under a public-private-partnership model.
Days earlier, Colombo handed over a $12 million energy project to a Chinese firm for the joint development of three renewable power plants in as many islands off the Jaffna peninsula, about 50 km away from the Tamil Nadu coast.
New Delhi has reportedly lodged a strong protest on the issue, making it clear to Colombo that the energy project poses a grave security threat to India, while also conveying that it will “not” let the ECT plan get “washed away just like that”, official sources said.
Adding to the tensions is a looming UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) investigation into the Sri Lankan civil war, where Colombo has sought Delhi’s support in what is a politically sensitive issue for India.
India is also waiting for Sri Lanka to implement the 13th amendment of its constitution, which is aimed at facilitating the reconciliation of the Tamilian minority by giving them greater representation.
This is a long-pending demand by India that was reiterated by Modi when the Rajapaksas returned to power in 2019.