Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a telephonic conversation agreed to accelerate Indian-assisted development projects in Sri Lanka and discussed the possibility of promoting investments by India’s private sector.
What is the Background?
- The move assumes significance against the backdrop of China’s concerted push to develop infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka and other countries under its Belt and Road Initiative, which has led to criticism from the US about these countries being exposed to predatory loans.
- PM Modi also had a telephone conversation with his counterpart in Mauritius, and discussed enhancing cooperation in several areas, including measures to support the financial sector of Mauritius.
What are Indian efforts in helping countries in the Indian Ocean region?
- PM’s call to both the countries was necessary as both the countries are within the security ambit of India.
- There are deep economic interests too.
- China has also become active in the Indian Ocean region and so India needs to increase its contacts with the Indian Ocean countries.
What are India- China relations in the current scenarios?
- China’s aggressive stance increased in the LAC.
- India is also planning to pin down China as around 56% of Chinese oil imports come from the Strait of Malacca; from Angola, it is 12% and even 12% from South America.
- Most of these lanes for this pass-through Madagascar and Mauritius.
What are the steps taken by India?
- India wants to be a guarantor of security and growth for the region.
- SAGAR mantra- India has supplied essentials to island nations in times of crisis.
- Though it has been able to deliver on its promises, it still has a laggard approach.
- India follows a consultative approach.
- India should start building regional security mechanisms.
- India should look at the holistic picture.
- India has built upon goodwill with all the countries.
- Though India cannot take on China in terms of economy, it is helping the countries in the times of crisis which has created an environment of goodwill.
What is the way forward?
- India should work on its fund of goodwill.
- India wishes to become a true partner even in times of discomfort.
- Maritime neighbours and for security might depend on India.
- India should focus on its strengths.
India has charted the path of becoming an “influential” and “responsible” leader in the Indian Ocean region. As New Delhi ambitiously moves toward this end, it must ensure that island nations, owing to their centrality in shaping power dynamics in the Indian Ocean region, gain prominence in India’s ocean diplomacy.