China Island in Sri Lanka: Is it dangerous for India?

An artificial island built by China just outside Colombo, with no Sri Lanka jurisdiction means China has a listening post within 100 km of India

An artificial island built by China just outside Colombo, with no Sri Lanka jurisdiction means China has a listening post within 100 km of India
An artificial island built by China just outside Colombo, with no Sri Lanka jurisdiction means China has a listening post within 100 km of India

China developing Island in Sri Lanka

China is developing a $1.4 billion port city near the Sri Lanka port of Colombo. It is formed as a sand-dune-based artificial island in the sea. This is a terrific project to create a separate landscape outside the map of Sri Lanka. It can be said that it is an attempt to change the map of Sri Lanka. But the Sri Lanka government says that it is a special economic zone to attract Foreign Direct Investment.[1]

The bill was passed by the Sri Lanka Parliament on May 20. The name of the bill is Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill[2]. Sri Lanka’s leading political commentator Nilanthan Niruthan describes the dangerous content of the commission bill. According to him:

  1. The port city does not fall within the jurisdiction of any local council.
  2. The port city is governed by a special commission appointed by the President. The members of this commission do not have to be Sri Lanka citizens.
  3. The representatives of this Commission cannot be prosecuted in any court on the island of Sri Lanka.
  4. The Commission may maintain a separate fund without the approval of the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
  5. This Commission is empowered to grant tax concessions. This is equivalent to parliamentary power.
  6. The government cannot monitor the financial activities of this city. They will be audited by a private company.
  7. Only foreigners can invest in the port city. If Sri Lanka wants to invest, he can only do so with a foreign company.
  8. The Chinese currency, the yuan, is the salary of those working in the port city. It can be paid in cash or by the bank. This introduces the influence of the Chinese currency on Sri Lanka. Little by little the Chinese currency is being introduced into circulation.
  9. Sri Lanka citizens can pay for the services of the port city of Colombo. However, when goods purchased there are brought out of the city, they must be taxed. That is, the system of taxation is introduced into the system of one country within another.
  10. The Colombo Port City Economic Authority is exempt from the 21 laws currently in force in Sri Lanka.

That is why former Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga is worried that “Sri Lanka is becoming a colony of China[3].”

M A Sumanthiran, a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP and senior lawyer said, “Sri Lanka has lost its territory to China. You have talked a lot about Eelam. Now you are creating a mess. That is to say, you are creating Chinese Eelam.[4]

Doubts that arise

What we now suspect is that China could have implemented a special economic zone within the city of Colombo. But why would China think of creating a separate island in the middle of the ocean and operate it from land that is not on the map? Probably because if the map operates within the territory, it will have to be included as being part of Sri Lanka. When remaining off the map – is it possible to get the freedom to stay outside of Sri Lankan law?

Up to 12 km from the low tide stretch of any country falls within its jurisdiction. The area beyond that is international water. Now that an artificial island is being created in Sri Lankan water, it would effectively push out the international waters of Sri Lanka. It is suspected that China and Sri Lanka are jointly involved in a conspiracy to expand land and water in violation of international norms.

Is it dangerous for India?

With this project being carried out by China, the risk to India has increased. About 70 per cent of India’s container traffic passes through the port of Colombo. The formation of a Chinese port city in the vicinity of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in this area – within the Indian Ocean – has created an extraordinary situation. This is a sign that China has settled in India’s backyard.

Colonel Hariharan, an outstanding expert in strategy class affairs, presents some important points. This special economic zone will not only bring trade benefits to China, but it would also expand Intelligence and counter-intelligence operations[5]. China can use this land to tap and steal Indian telecommunications. He says the island of China could also be used as a hub for infiltrators of those opposed to Indian interests.

It was developed as part of the Silk Road Project, part of the Belt and Road Plan in China. Also known as the “String Of Pearls” program. The trilogy plans to bring each of the South Asian countries to its side and create a ring – a garland – that will circle India.[6]

At this time, we must remember the guarantee given by Sri Lanka last year. Sri Lanka has assured that Sri Lanka’s strategic defence policy will be based on “India first.” It was stated that Sri Lanka’s strategic security policy will have an “India first” approach[7]. Sri Lanka President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has clarified this policy, Sri Lanka Foreign Secretary Admiral Jayanath Colombage said in a statement in November 2020.

But given the current situation, Sri Lanka seems to be moving away from that guarantee. There are six lakh Chinese in Sri Lanka right now. This is not good news for India. It is time for India to make moves of its own.

1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.


[1] Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port City: The Frontline Of China And India’s Geopolitical ShowdownAug 12, 2016, Forbes

[2] The Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill passed in ParliamentMay 20, 2021,

[3] Sri Lanka has become a Chinese colony, says ex-President KumaratungaFeb 19, 2021, ANI

[4] Eelam, Cheelam & The Port CityMay 21, 2021, Colombo Telegraph

[5] China’s Strategic Presence In Sri LankaSep 01, 2013, Colombo Telegraph

[6] Here Is All You Should Know About ‘String Of Pearls’, China’s Policy To Encircle IndiaJun 23, 2017, India Times

[7] Sri Lanka’s ‘India-First Policy’: Should India be complacent?Oct 15, 2020, Financial Express


  1. I guess no one knows Rajapaksa better than Swamy since the days of elimination of LTTE Prabhakar..
    Maybe he can throw some light on it.


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