Sri Lanka is looking to levy concessions from China, whose interest in the island-country go quite far, from the development of ports to the expansion of trade and commerce. The superpower winking and wooing its Sri Lankan audience for its debt diplomacy is a ploy to checkmate the ascendancy of India in this region.
But for Sri Lanka, paying the interest on time would be tricky as the island-country might run short on its foreign reserves and put it in the backseat while negotiating its position. This will allow the Chinese a deeper penetration into its society and polity, exploiting Sri Lanka to grow its own profit while dictating the clauses and conditions.
For Sri Lanka, siding with China might be a convincing option in the short-term. Its dilemma is to modernise itself fully and not partially for meeting its demand and supply-side by offering a free pass to China. But there is a lack of ambitious economic welfare schemes and programmes.
Sops from foreign nations won’t rescue Sri Lanka from the misgivings and misfortunes of its leaders. Rather, it would have to be the civil society who would have to wake up and call for the restoration of the rule of law that looks messier and compromised. Expecting too much from this new rule would be an exaggeration. A false reality is being actively pursued by the Chinese for their ambitious Belt And Road Initiative, which has Sri Lanka on board and India carefully keeping an eye on the development from a safe distance.