India must stand up for democracy in its own backyard as Sri Lanka’s current political turmoil points to China’s increasing role, the Financial Times said in an editorial on Thursday.
“China is again becoming a supplier of political instability” along its strategic ‘string of pearls’ in the Indian Ocean, the editorial board writes, referring to Sri Lanka's recent political crisis.
Highlighting a tweet sent by Mahinda Rajapaksa following his purported appointment as prime minister, in which he was greeted by China’s ambassador to Colombo, as a sign of Chinese influence in the political drama that has been unfolding in Sri Lanka, the editorial states “it is clear that China is now enmeshed in the internal affairs of many other countries, especially those that happen to be in the backyard of rival India”.
China’s acceptance of Rajapaksa’s appointment as prime minister was in contrast to concern expressed by countries including India, the US, UK and Canada.
However the editorial concludes that “India, too, must share some of the blame for the turmoil afflicting its neighbours.”
“New Delhi has often seen countries such as Sri Lanka and the Maldives as supplicants it can push around or neglect. The best antidote to the current political chaos in the Indian Ocean would be an engaged and supportive India that stands up for democracy in its backyard.”