By Ayushi AgarwalNew Delhi [India], August 28 (ANI): After the heavy-worded spat between India and China yesterday, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka sharply reacted to the recent remarks of the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Qi Zhenhong, experts in India stated that China has been pursuing wolf warrior diplomacy and has overstepped the authority.
India had earlier rejected insinuations by China that it had exerted pressure on Colombo to defer the visit of a high-tech Chinese research vessel Yuan Wang 5 to Hambantota port and said Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and makes its own independent decisions.
"China has used Sri Lanka as a pawn in a bigger game. The Chinese record of interacting with countries like Sri Lanka or even Pakistan is not a very creditable record. Because in that case, we know that today both of them are facing economic and financial collapse", said Pankaj Saran, Former Deputy National Security Advisor of India and former senior diplomat to ANI.
"The Chinese economic model for the developing world or for small countries is hardly a model, which anyone would be proud of. On the other hand, India has a very different character to it and this is going to be recognized increasingly by the global community as we go along. And in almost every single case, the cooperative model has been far more acceptable and successful and we have a very different approach to dealing with our neighbours than China has", added Saran.
While the other expert Srikanth Kondapalli calls this "China's wolf warrior diplomacy". "I think this is a reflection of the wolf Warrior diplomacy that China has been putting across. So India's high Commission comment was appropriate", said Srikanth Kondapalli, Professor in Chinese Studies, School of International Studies JNU to ANI.
"The Chinese Ambassador forgets to mention the historical links that India and Sri Lanka have. More importantly in the current crisis, India had extended four billion dollars in assistance while China had extended 98 million dollars. Apart from that India had extended a lot of energy resources and food, including fertilizers.
Moreover,Sri Lankan government was requested to provide necessary assistance and positive consideration to the request by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China.China's strategy to lure countries into its debt trap beguiled Sri Lanka to be dependent heavily on China for economic support, and military equipment. Sri Lanka also took loans in bulk for various development projects.
But during the recent crisis in the country, when for months, Sri Lanka has been pleading with China for more support, but to no avail, Channel News Asia reported.
Beijing has done little to help the country through its devastating economic meltdown, providing far less aid than India.
India moved in to alleviate Sri Lanka's desperate food and fuel shortages with over USD 3.8 billion of assistance. Beijing, by contrast, provided a relatively paltry USD 74 million.
While India extended a currency swap arrangement with Sri Lanka in April, the People's Bank of China has suspended its own swap line because the country lacks sufficient foreign exchange reserves.
China has also expressed a reluctance to write off its Sri Lankan loans, playing into accusations of stinginess when it comes to debt renegotiations. Indeed, China's record in this area shows a refusal to negotiate debt relief with other creditors and a preference for engaging in secretive, bilateral loan restructurings.
The Indian Air Force has flown over a lakh of tons of organic fertilizers to Sri Lanka, none of these came from China", added Kondapalli.
Lt Gen Sanjay Kulkarni,(Retd) former DG Infantry, too said that the Chinese Ambassador has probably overstepped the authority. He has crossed the basic etiquette.
This spat comes days after Sri Lanka's U-turn to allow Yuan Wang 5, the Chinese military research and survey vessel, to dock at its Hambantota port from August 16 to 22 -- despite India's concerns.
Yesterday, in a strong-worded Twitter thread, the Indian High Commission said it had noted the remarks of the Chinese Ambassador. "His violation of basic diplomatic etiquette may be a personal trait or reflecting a larger national attitude," the Indian mission said.
This was a response after Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong wrote in Sri Lanka media about countries "far or near bullying Sri Lanka". The Ambassador had also observed that Sri Lanka overcame "aggression from its northern neighbour 17 times".
The Indian High Commission also said: "Opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. Recent developments are a caution. Sri Lanka needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies to serve another country's agenda." (ANI)