Managing the Geopolitical Competition between China and India: Sri Lanka’s Strategic Balancing Act

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Abstract

The competition between India and China has intensified with the changes in the strategic landscape of the Asia-Pacific region. Both countries with their growing economies, trade, military capabilities and global interdependence seek to control the Indian Ocean. China is
investing heavily in strategic projects in IOR nations under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Maritime Silk Road (MSR) initiatives. India is also strengthening its engagements and cooperation with its neighbours, resulting in intense competition between the two powers. Sri Lanka, being a small island state, maintains relationships with both the countries despite the challenges. This article highlights that how Sri Lanka is maintaining balance amongst the on-going strategic competition between China and India. The theoretical framework of this article is based on the Role Theory which explains that how Sri Lanka is trying to avoid being trapped in this competition and maximise its economic and diplomatic leverage by balancing its policies between China and India.

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