India and China nervous spectators in Sri Lanka crisis
Rival Asian giants India and China are anxiously watching the constitutional conflict between contending prime ministers in Sri Lanka to see whose interests get the upper hand in their own strategic battle.
It is the second time in barely a month that the Indian Ocean has become a battleground between the powers, after the Maldives’ hotly disputed presidential election saw the eviction of a pro-Chinese leader.
Both may be minnows compared to the two giant neighbours that loom over it to the north.
But they sit on the key sea trade and oil routes from Asia to the Middle East and Europe making them vital strategic interests for the rival powers.
New Delhi and Beijing insist that they are watching from outside the political ring as Sri Lanka’s ousted prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe slugs it out with Mahinda Rajapakse, the island’s former authoritarian leader named to take over by the president.