Is Sri Lanka handing over its sovereignty to India?


Historically there have been 17 invasion attempts by South Indian leaders but no one has succeeded in taking over entire Sri Lanka. Ironically, none of the 3 Europeans who arrived were also able to conquer the island. A common trait in all of these external elements holding power in the island was as a result of the betrayal of those who led the nation. It happened then & it is happening even now. We now again see history repeat itself. Connect the dots to all of the handovers taking place & piece the puzzle.

For accepting $4b after declaring default in April 2022, what has Sri Lanka had to hand over to India? Not only government-to government tie-ups but openly for Indian private companies to operate in Sri Lanka & joint ventures with pro-Indian local companies in the areas of logistics – energy & tourism, which include development of ports in Colombo, Trincomalee & Kankasanthurai, ferry services between India & Sri Lanka, air connectivity between India & Sri Lanka and even people-to-people movement. Is Sri Lanka to be “sovereign” in only name?

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry has very proudly outlined Sri Lanka’s fate & it is left for Sri Lanka’s citizens to decide whether Sri Lanka will remain sovereign or not after

Maritime connectivity with India

  • Ports, logistics infrastructure & consolidating shipping
  • Passenger ferry service where unlimited inflow of Indians will arrive (who will monitor their return)

Air connectivity with India

  • Flights between Chennai & Jaffna as well as to Trincomalee, Batticoloa
  • Cooperation in civil aviation, airport infrastructure at Palaly airport

Energy & Power connectivity with India

  • Offshore wind & solar project monopoly to a controversial Indian businessmen
  • Power grid electricity connectivity with India
  • Sampur solar power project & LNG infrastructure
  • Cooperation in green hydrogen & green ammonia
  • Trincomalee oil tank farm development
  • Economic zone exclusively to India where Sri Lankans cannot even enter
  • Multi-product petroleum pipeline from South India to Sri Lanka
  • Exploration & production of hydrocarbons in Sri Lanka’s offshore basins

Trade, Economic & Financial Connectivity

  • Facilitate investments from India in the divestment of Sri Lankan SOEs & in manufacturing/economic zones in various sectors in Sri Lanka
  • Resume ECTA
  • Designate INR as currency for trade settlements between India & Sri Lanka
  • Operationalize UPI based digital payments & transactions
  • Aligning India’s Digital Public Infrastructure with Sri Lanka

People-to-People Connectivity:

  • Popularize bogus Ramayana Trail
  • Cooperation between educational institutions & establish new higher education & skills campuses in Sri Lanka
  • Cooperation between research & academic institutes in agriculture, IT, business, finance, management, health, medicine, earth & marine sciences, oceanography, space applications, history, culture, languages, literature, religious studies & other humanities
  • Establish land connectivity between India & Sri Lanka to develop land access to the Ports of Trincomalee & Colombo

Defense cooperation since 2015

  • Capacity building training for Sri Lankan officers in India (Central Detective Training Institutes & National Security Guard) funded by India & free for Sri Lanka Police & includes VIP security, religious extremism. 130 Police officers were sent in 2024 alone.
  • Indian Coast Guard Ship Sachet arrived to deliver spare parts to Sri Lanka Coast Guard ship Suraksha ($1.2m worth as grant)
  • Noteworthy is that Maldives stopped all exchange programs with India & asked Indian military personnel to leave Maldives as they feared Indian “development” projects could impact Maldivian national security. How many in Sri Lanka’s Parliament are even bothered about this aspect!

India strengthening economic stronghold in Sri Lanka

  • Adani Group granted monopoly on large-scale renewable energy projects in Sri Lanka.
  • Plans to hand over management of Sri Lankan airports to Indian companies
  • Plans to establish a land bridge
  • Plans to establish a grid connectivity between India & Sri Lanka

Energy tie-ups:

  • India to build an oil pipeline from India to Sri Lanka & connect electricity grids of both nations.

Digital tie-ups:

  • Digital public infrastructure in government service
  • February 2024 – MOU between Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA) & National Centre for Good Governance India to facilitate Capacity Building Programs for senior & mid-level civil servants in Sri Lanka over the next 5 years – includes training curriculum, training sessions for over 1000 officials
  • July 2024 – Sri Lanka cabinet nods approval to India to issue Sri Lanka NIC cards raising concerns about data privacy (which Sri Lanka’s MPs appear not concerned about) for Indian Rs 450m India is to get access to Sri Lanka’s biometric information, facial, iris & fingerprint data!

Currency tie-ups:

  • Using Indian rupee to settle bilateral trade
  • Operationalizing India’s unified payment interface (UPI) digital payment in rupees (already launched)

Chamber tie-ups:

  • Indo-Lanka Chamber of Commerce & Industry launched to facilitate joint ventures.

January 2024 – Sri Lankan President invited Indian firms to invest in state enterprises being re-structured while further liberalizing trade & service sectors.

India’s Reliance Group has expressed interest in Sri Lanka’s Telecom privatization.

If we have issues with our politicians, we have to equally question the credibility of our top private sector, many of whom were shortsighted enough to take part in the bankruptcy drama that unfolded in 2022 & trapping us to Indian credit line & IMF structural reforms, while they are happy to be the local partners of the western take overs & privatizations. Are their loyalties to themselves or the nation?


  • Integrating Sri Lanka into India’s supply chain framework
  • Liberalizing FDI entry regulations & cutting red tape through digitalization
  • Resumption of ETCA
  • Central Bank cooperation between India & Sri Lanka & formulating a bilateral system

Building houses

  • Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Mannar, Jaffna

Ferry service

  • between Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai (Oct 2023) maiden ferry 50 passengers


  • Maho-Anuradhapura-Vavuniya-Omanthai
  • Railway line between Medawachchiya to Madu (opened May2018)
  • Railway line between Omanthai-Kilinochchi-Pallai (opened Sept 2013)
  • Railway line between Pallai-Jaffna-Kankasanthurai (opened Oct 2014)
  • Railway line between Madhu to Talaimannar Pier (opened Mar 2015)
  • Signaling & Telecommunication system between Anuradhapura to Kankasanthurai / Medawatchchiya to Talaimannar Pier (opened Mar 2015)
  • Supply of diesel multiple unit train (Uttara Devi) between Colombo & Kankansanthurai (Jan2019)


  • Upgrading Palaly airport
  • International flights commenced in October 2019 – Indian airline Alliance Air started flights between Palaly & Chennai

Cultural/Sports & Religious

  • Cultural Centre Jaffna
  • Restoration of Thiruketheeswaram Temple in Mannar
  • Renovating Duraiappah Stadium (Jun2016)


  • 79 schools damaged during conflict repaired in North (Jul2012)
  • Renovating 27 schools in North
  • Information Technology Park in Jaffna
  • 44 ICCR Scholarships (2017-2019)
  • Setting up a Faculty of Engineering, University of Jaffna at Kilinochchi
  • Setting up a Faculty of Agriculture, University of Jaffna in Kilinochchi (Dec2015)
  • Setting up India Corner at Jaffna Public library (Dec 2015)

Agriculture / Farming

  • 3000 rain water harvesting systems in Jaffna district
  • 500 tractors to agrarian centres in North


  • 200 bed ward complex at General hospital Vavuniya (completed Dec 2015)
  • 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service-297 ambulances (launched July 2018)
  • Medical equipment to general hospitals in Kilinochchi & Mullaitivu


  • Upgrading Kankasanthurai harbor
  • 150 fishing boats & 150 outboard motors to 300 fishermen in Mullaitivu (completed 2018) while Indians are engaged in illegal fishing on Sri Lanka’s waters.
  • Equipment for fishing net factory in Gurunagar, Jaffna with training given.

Industrial Zones & Financial Assistance

  • Setting up Atchchuveli industrial zone
  • Supply of equipment, lab items & vehicles to Palmyrah Research Institute, Kaithady, Jaffna (Jul 2012)
  • 1230 small business premises in Mullaitivu & Kilinochchi given financial assistance between Rs25,000 to Rs.200,000

IDPs / Demining

  • 260,000 family packs (clothing, utencils, food, personal hygiene items) distributed to IPDs immediately after conflict.
  • Distributing 10,000 bicycles to IDPs in 5 districts in North (Feb2013)
  • Artificial limb fitment camp at Menik Farm & Jaffna for 2563 victims
  • Emergency medical unit in Menik Farm & Pulmoddai to treat 50,000 patients & conduct 3000 surgeries on IDPs.
  • 175 fishing boats with outboard motors & fishing nets given to 350 IDPs in Mannar (Dec2012)
  • 95,000 agriculture tool kits & 48,500kg of seeds to IDPs
  • Demining by Indian NGOs – Sarvatra & Horizon demining 70sq.m (completed Nov2012)
  • 10,400mt galvanized iron corrugated sheets as shelter – each IDP family given 12sheets (95,000 families)
  • 20,000mt (4 lakh bags) cement for IDPs – 8 bags to each IDP family (50,000 families)

Island-wide Projects

  • Setting up English language laboratories in all 9 provinces
  • 600 houses in 25 districts (120 houses in Northern Province)
  • 110 buses to educational institutions islandwide

Humanitarian assistance

  • Rice & milk powder under Akshaypatra program in Mannar (May 2022) to 25,000 families (40,000 Mt of rice & 500mt of milk powder)

When  QUAD partners India & US envoys are going out of their way to “help” the estate workers of the Central Province & drawing unnecessary attention to Sri Lanka’s tea plantations, these are signs that they are both up to mischief  Equally, when the Governor of the East had his birthday celebrated in 100 villages in Tamil Nadu in 2020 where he promotes bull taming as a sport. How far Sri Lanka’s land & resources are safeguarded is indeed questionable.

In late 1970s and 1980s Tamil youth were clandestinely trained in India under state patronage to launch a military offensive against Sri Lanka. The arms that India supplied killed & assassinated many. India prevented the capture of Prabakaran in May 1987 by threatening to attack Sri Lanka, this followed the infamous parippu drop violating Sri Lanka’s airspace & the signing of the Indo-Lanka Accord under virtual duress, under emergency law & with media banned from covering event. That Accord followed the passing of the 13thamendment breaking up the unitary state into a quasi-federal one by introducing provincial council system. Inspite of 2/3 majority in Parliament, no government has had the backbone to repeal the 13th amendment. The above interferences took place even without India securing much stake in Sri Lanka’s internal governance system. With the current level of stakes India now holds, one should be able to imagine the level of pressure India can now exert & when we lacked leaders to stand up on behalf of Sri Lanka then, we are in a pitiful state now!

Unfortunately, none of Sri Lanka’s political players realize that Sri Lanka will never be allowed to develop by India while none of them want to find ways to deal with this key obstacle & prefer to weather it so long as they can be kept in power. This is why Sri Lanka is always kept in limbo by default. If India aspires to balkanize Sri Lanka, India forgets that the real plan is to eventually balkanize India.

If US plays role of global bully, India is following in America’s footsteps by being Asia’s bully.


Shenali D Waduge

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