Updated October 12th, 2020 at 10:54 IST

China grants $90M to Sri Lanka after Rajapaksa tells Xi's envoys 'prove not a debt trap'

President Rajapaksa said that he wanted to disprove the perception that China was funding projects in the country to gain "influence in local affairs

Reported by: Ananya Varma
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China on Sunday announced that it was providing a $90 million grant to Sri Lanka, following the latter's request to the communist nation. This comes days after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa asked a visiting Chinese delegation, led by former foreign minister Yang Jiechi, to help him in disproving the perception that China-funded megaprojects were “debt traps”. 

On October 9, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that he wanted to disprove the perception that the Communist country was funding developmental projects in the country to gain "influence in local affairs." 

Critics have expressed their apprehensions regarding such heavy Chinese-funded projects alleging that they were not "financially viable" adding that Sri Lanka would face difficulties in repaying the loans. This, after the island nation leased out a Chinese-funded port to a Chinese company for 99 years in order to recover from the debt of the loan the country received to build it.

“Many geopolitical analyses interpret this project as a ‘debt trap’ set up by China to gain control over Sri Lankan affairs. I want to prove that it is not the case and that this large-scale project will help improve the living standards of the people. Assist us in this endeavor," Rajapaksa told the Chinese delegation, according to a statement released by his office.

Read: Pompeo Says 60,000 PLA Soldiers At LAC, Urges QUAD Countries To Hit Back At China's Threat

Read: Sri Lankan Leader Insists Chinese-funded Projects Are Viable

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy has said that the $90million "timely grant" to Sri Lanka would be used for medical care, education and water supplies in Sri Lanka's rural areas. It would also be directed to improving the lives of the citizens in a "post-COVID era."

The Chinese delegation's visit, led by the Communist Party Politburo member comes days after India, US, Japan, and Australia met for the second edition of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, also known as Quad, an informal strategic forum formed to ensure peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific along with checking China’s expansionist efforts in the region.

Read: Sri Lanka Orders Closure Of Bars And Restaurants After Surge In COVID-19 Cases

Read: Quad Group To Deepen Cooperation To Promote Inclusive And Open Indo-Pacific: Aus FM

(With Agency Inputs)

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Published October 12th, 2020 at 10:54 IST