Ukraine War Results Crisis to Sri Lanka and Pakistan,
Credit by International Crisis Group

Just two years after the Covid-19 pandemic, Sri Lankans started to go out in public places like roads, public recreation grounds, railways and seashores without legal permission provided by the government.

But the restrictions were not made for public health. Instead, controlling conflict among economic chaos was a desperate attempt, which has seen the prime minister along with the cabinet resign, multiple deaths, parliament attacked and worries about a military suppression.

Food and fuel prices are radically increasing, following Russia’s invasion to Ukraine. This way, almost each of the countries experience a crisis of cost-of-living with growing political implications. Now it is happening more in South Asia where the government has been collapsed in both Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

In both cases, geopolitical implications are unavoidable, putting the country in a danger more than a decade of expansion with the investment and engagement from China. This time, Beijing is now the primary economic backer for both countries, helping promote the political elite to fight against the debts repayment. That makes China has a big risks of having no power and sum of money, leading India to find chances.

The Ukraine war-related price spike has also drastically increased the raising humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, a country with which Beijing is still doubt about what approach to use and where there is not even neighbors and supporter that Pakistan intended to notice its Taliban rules.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was appearing last month to be the first Pakistan leader removed by unconfident vote. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan President, also experiences mounting calls to follow Mahinda, his brother, a former president, to quit as a prime minister. An angry crowd also torched the family house in Southern political heartland of Hambantota.

China Challenge

In both cases, inflation caused by the Ukraine war grew a pre-existing economic and currency collapse, devastating the limited forex reserves – leaving Sri Lanka to struggle for important goods imports and manage repayments on approximately $51 billion in foreign debt.

Chinese-backed providing a support for Sri Lanka significantly increased after Mahinda Rajapaksa became a president from 2005 to 2015, and again after brother Gotabaya took office in 2019. Primarily, it was a good way of funding a military expansion to love ethnic Tamil Tiger rebels, making the infrastructure investment focused on the region of southern Hambantota.

Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, appreciated Rajapaksa as a “friend” to China. However, younger brother with president Gotabaya was already negotiating China to loan debts forgiveness.

Foreign lending and infrastructure projects have been dominant to Beijing’s Belt and Road infrastructure program for strategic influence across Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.

The price spike in Pakistan has been getting worse dramatically. An unexpected diplomatic gift was given by continuing to follow its association with the US against China while the relationship with Moscow is still open. This way, New Delhi keeps its access to discounted Russia gas and oil.

Despite the pandemic, India’s economy is relatively healthy. However, inflation is rising in that country. Narendra Modi government has not decided yet how much to export.

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