Saturday, July 2, 2022


Earlier this month, Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ali Sabry, who was brought in to clear the mess created by his predecessor Basil Rajapaksa, said that the country has less than 50 Million USD in usable foreign exchange reserves, against the official figure of 1.7 Billion USD. He clarified that most of the FOREX includes a […]

Earlier this month, Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Ali Sabry, who was brought in to clear the mess created by his predecessor Basil Rajapaksa, said that the country has less than 50 Million USD in usable foreign exchange reserves, against the official figure of 1.7 Billion USD. He clarified that most of the FOREX includes a Chinese currency swap, which cannot be used for trading with other countries. As a result, the country cannot provide even the basics like food, electricity, fuel, medicines, and education to the populace, and it may take over two years for things to stabilise. The finance minister was being decent by blaming the tax cuts, ban on fertilisers and Covid 19 restrictions as the causes for current crisis. But he, and the whole world is cognizant of the fact that the foundation of this crisis was laid long back, and China was its ‘Principal Architect’. The collapsed economy of Sri Lanka is a consequence of the guileful Chinese plans to secure more strategic influence in the Indian Ocean Region, executed through their ‘Agents’, the Rajapaksas.

The story started in 2004 when Mahinda Rajapaksa became the 13th Prime Minister of Sri Lanka by a fluke, along with the portfolio of Minister of Highways, Ports and Shipping. This was the time when China was trying to extend its reach in the IOR and looking for basing and supporting facilities for its warships. CCP found a suitable ‘Agent’ in form of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was ambitious, corrupt, and leading an unstable government with slim majority – a vulnerable politician who could be compromised easily. The Chinese showered the new PM with the enticements he could not refuse, and slowly had him trapped into the Dragon’s claws. A year later, Mahinda managed to reach the top office of the President, catapulted by ‘behind the scenes’ support from China. Subsequently, other Rajapaksas also joined the ‘Agent Army’ and Sri Lanka was offered to the Dragon for a grand feast. Massive money was pumped into the country in form of loans for infrastructure projects, a part of which was siphoned off by the Rajapaksa family. It is appreciated that over 15 Billion USD were looted by the family between 2005 to 2015.

Maiden PLA Navy’s deployment in Western Indian Ocean for Anti-Piracy patrol, commencement of construction of Hambantota Port (and other infrastructure projects), and the final crackdown on LTTE, all in 2008, were certainly not coincidental, but a well-planned scheme orchestrated by the CCP as part of its overall IOR strategy. In 2010, Mahinda Rajapaksa won the elections again, but this time his main opponent General Fonseka, openly accused him of corruption and being a Chinese ‘Agent’. With his ‘Agents’ firmly in power in Mahinda’s second term, the Dragon started digging its fangs more deeply into the Sri Lankan soil. The ‘Debt Trap’ was set, and Sri Lanka was pushed towards it by the same Rajapaksas, who were considered ‘War Heroes’ by the Sri Lankans. By this time the Sri Lankans realised that the Rajapaksas were working as ‘Chinese Agents’, their immoral relationship with the CCP had partly ruined their country. With Hambantota port already lost and debts continuously mounting, the ‘Great Rajapaksas’ were kicked out in the 2015 elections. Maithripala Sirisena was given a sweeping mandate primarily to cancel deals with China that had plunged the country into debts. But political tricks by the CCP ensured that in 2018, Sirisena had to fire his Prime Minister Wickremesinghe in-absentia and appoint their ‘Agent’ Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place again.

CCP’s Mandarins were now preparing for the final blow. In 2020 elections, massive Chinese money was pumped in to ensure Rajapaksas get a clear majority. The Sri Lankan government was now being remote controlled from Beijing. All the ‘Agents’ on pay roll of CCP were made in-charge of important ministries to ensure that more than 75% of country’s budget remains under the control of Rajapaksa family. Sri Lanka was now Xi’s Lanka.

Soon Beijing’s interference became uncomfortable for Rajapaksas too, but they were at a ‘point of no return’. Corruption, human rights violations, tax cuts, banning of fertilisers etc – everything for which Rajapaksas are being blamed now, were actually Chinese directives. The ‘Agents’ had no other way than to follow orders of their ‘Masters’. China pushed Sri Lankan economy to a point from where it was impossible to recover. External debts had surged to more than 45 billion USD, sources of income had drained out, the country was dropped from ‘Aid Disbursement List’ by Western governments and IMF was hesitant to help.

When the matter started going out of the hands, Beijing was approached with a request of loans rescheduling. But instead of loans ‘roll over’, Rajapaksas only received some ‘Interesting Assurances’ and lots of fancy quotes on ‘China-Sri Lanka Deep Rooted Friendship’. The ‘Agents’ realised their mistake and approached IMF for help, but it was too late. Presently, China’s plan is executing with a ‘clockwork precision’ and they are waiting for a good time to enter a debt-to-equity swap and acquire land in Sri Lanka. Such a swap would turn past loans into equity, giving China ownership of various infrastructure projects. This is exactly what happened with Hambantota port. China not only refused rescheduling but offered another loan that could lead to selling more national assets. When the ‘Agents’ realised the true colours of their ‘Master’ and the people of Sri Lanka started taking matters in their hands, Rajapaksas did exactly what a coward would do – they Vanished.

Only Gotabaya is left behind as a caretaker of the family’s enormous property and to ensure that a backdoor entry is available to other Rajapaksas in the Sri Lankan politics, as and when conditions improve. Though media has indicated that Mahinda Rajapaksa along with his family members is hiding in some Naval Base, there are confirmed reports that they have already fled to China. His brothers, Chamal and Basil and sons, Yoshitha and Namal are also believed to be in China along with their families. The ‘Agents’ have ditched their countrymen and are probably sitting on the Dragon’s lap leading a comfortable life, as the Sri Lankans suffer for survival.

The Rajapaksa story and the Sri Lankan crisis provides numerous lessons to the world. Firstly, it is a wakeup call for all the countries who have blindly believed in China or BRI or Chinese funded infrastructure projects and have handed over their fortunes to the Dragon in a hope of better future. Second, it is a reminder to those leaders, who in their passion to transform their countries are falling in a trap and becoming Chinese ‘Agents’ without even knowing it. Third, citizens of every country must realise that democracy is a great power, but imprudent and emotional use of democratic rights can bring someone like Rajapaksas at the helm. And lastly, policy makers must understand that policies without thorough analysis or reasoning could destroy a nation. It is a known fact that China is an expansionist nation, with no regards for international law or sovereignty of others. But what the Rajapaksas did for their political ambitions have made them the biggest villains in the Sri Lankan history. By shifting base to China they may be able to bypass the law, but the insulting title of ‘Chinese Agents’ will always haunt them.










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