The West is becoming increasingly nervous as China ramps up financial aid and economic investment in the bankrupt country of Sri Lanka.

India has stepped up financial loans to the tune of $4 billion USD to thwart China’s advancement into the Indo Pacific region. Meanwhile, the West continues to push economic colonialism and draconian reforms upon the country via a $3 billion USD package through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Colombo Harbor

As Sri Lanka continues to descend into chaos, becoming the latest failed state due to Western policies and widespread internal corruption, China has secretly been expanding its Belt and Road projects for the island nation. Already in control of Sri Lanka’s largest port on a 99 year lease when Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt, China is keen to establish a naval base in addition to acquiring the largely defunct international airport in Hambantota and extracting precious resources in the waters surrounding the island nation.

This week, Chinese PLA Naval vessels visited Sri Lanka at the government’s invitation. The presence of PLA military vessels literally on the doorstep of India alarmed both India and the Western Liberal Order. Strategically, a naval base in Hambantota makes a lot of sense, as it firmly places China in the center of the Indian Ocean and also serves as a transit point between the mainland and its bases in Africa, such as Djibouti. The Indian government on the other hand, views any Chinese influence in Sri Lanka as a threat to its national interests in what has previously been India’s exclusive sphere of influence. India even went so far as to accuse the Chinese of spying on India and condemned the arrival of the PLA ship to the Sri Lankan port.

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A Chinese frigate entering port

As China steps out onto the world stage and becomes the latest greatest superpower on the planet, it willl increasingly need to protect its commercial investments and national security interests abroad. In addition to Sri Lanka, China has recently been suspected of building a naval facility in Cambodia. It has also secured a partnership with the Solomon Islands to permit naval vessel port visits for fuel , supplies, and maintenance. In South America, the largest port on the continent is being constructed in Peru by COSCO and will be the primary entry point for trade between China and South American countries.

In all cases, beyond the commercial implications of the vast global net cast by the Belt and Road Initiative, the military implications exist as well. As the age of Western Imperialistic countries wanes in the developing world, China has filled the gap and surpassed all of them. The age of multipolarism has arrived, and China is the preeminant player in the game.