China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is having profound impacts on recipient countries. Recently, Chinese outbound investment in Sri Lanka has come under scrutiny due to intensifying geopolitical rivalries in the Indian Ocean as well as Sri Lanka’s prime location and ports in the region.

Much of the analysis on this topic so far has focused on how the economic relationship has informed Chinese geopolitical ambitions, via a so-called ‘debt-trap diplomacy’. Such a framing may be misleading, while also overlooking other dimensions of Chinese investment that warrant closer examination.

A recent Chatham House paper examines the pattern of Chinese investment in Sri Lanka to reveal a nuanced picture of benefits and costs. Speakers draw on the findings from this paper to discuss the lessons that may improve future BRI projects in Sri Lanka and elsewhere in the region.

Participants

Alyssa Ayres, Senior Fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia, Council on Foreign Relations
Dinusha Panditaratne, Non-Resident Fellow and former Executive Director, Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI)
Ganeshan Wignaraja, Executive Director, LKI 
Lee Jones, Reader in International Politics, Queen Mary University of London
Chair: Gareth Price, Senior Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific Programme, Chatham House