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Impact of Sri Lanka Crisis on India

Sri Lanka is not only our neighbour but owing to its strategic location in the Indian Ocean, an important country for India too. The current situation in Sri Lanka is certainly going to affect India in many ways. Sri Lanka or Ceylon has been witnessing its worst ever economic crisis. Prices of essential commodities have gone so high that the common person is unable to buy things. Protests against the existing Rajapaksa government started across the country and after they turned violent, the government of Sri Lanka was forced to impose a curfew and later state of emergency was declared in the country.

With such an economic situation and with the fact that Sri Lankan government has asked for 2.5 Bn USD emergency aid from China, there is a threat that China may gain influence in the island country. It is trying a lot for the last few years but owing to Indian diplomacy, things could not succeed the way the dragon wanted currently, things are different. Since the location of Sri Lanka is strategic, India must be cautious of every Chinese attempt to influence Sri Lanka.

Although India does not have many imports from Sri Lanka and less than 1 Bn USD worth of goods are imported, there is a serious economic threat in terms of handling of Indian Trans-Shipments. Sri Lanka is an important Trans-Shipment hub which handles nearly 48% of our International Cargo. Today due to the absence of labour, non-availability of vehicles to transport our containers between ports and the closing down of port facilities, a large number of Indian shipments are lying at Sri Lankan Ports.

It is not the only thing, nearly 22% of total Sri Lanka’s GDP comes from factors lined to India. These are trade, tourism & remittances. These factors will certainly get affected by the present situation in Sri Lanka. India witnessed that whenever there is a political or social crisis in Sri Lanka, a large number of refugees come from the Sinhala Land to India through the Palk Strait & Gulf of Munnar.

India may find it difficult to handle such a big influx of refugees. India is the only immediate neighbour of Sri Lanka and as we see, there is a bigger threat of a large-scale humanitarian crisis looming over the country.

There is no food, there are no medicines, and there is no law & order too and in case of a big crisis like civil war or any other humanitarian crisis, the entire onus will lie on India to help. India will be a via media to transfer International Aid too and this will put additional pressure on our economy. This will have positive as well as negative impacts too.

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