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After Shringla, NSA Doval also red flags Chinese presence in Colombo

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval with the new Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda (Photo: Sri Lanka High Commission)

National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Kumar Doval, met with the new Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda, and discussed strategic interests between the two countries.

The Times of India reports that the Sri Lankan high commissioner reassured India that Chinese investments in Sri Lanka will not undermine India's interests.

The Sri Lankan high commissioner reportedly told Doval that the Chinese investment in Sri Lanka will not impact India's security interests.

India's Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had earlier this week concluded a four-day visit to Sri Lanka and visited some of its territories with a substantial Tamil population to oversee the progress of development projects.

Shringla had also met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as well as Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The Sri Lankan President had assured Shringla that Colombo will not allow any activity that threatens India. The focus of Shringla's visit was to improve relations between the two countries and also discuss the 'China elephant' that stands between improving ties between the two neighbours.

Relations between the two South Asian nations have been rocky despite close cultural and civilisational affinity. Part of the reason has been the overwhelming Chinese presence in the island nation. Colombo has tried to pacify India over the large Chinese presence in its territory.

In a bid to allay Indian apprehensions, Colombo recently awarded the Western Container Terminal (WCT) at the Colombo Port to Indian company Adani Group.

During his visit, Shringla also stressed upon developing connectivity by enhancing air and sea links in a bid to improve people to people relations. The idea of better connectivity will also bolster tourism, including pilgrim tourism between the two nations.

India is aware that a large Chinese presence could impact its security as Beijing has been developing ports in countries all around India. Colombo had to lease the Hambantota port to China for 99 years as it could not repay the Chinese debt for the development of the port.