South Asia | China and the BRI Countries

Sri Lanka

Bhagya Senaratne

Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Global Asia

In 2013, the Chinese President, Xi Jinping, proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to promote greater connectivity and cooperation among regions. From its modest beginnings, 130 countries have now partnered with the BRI. Each of these countries has a story to tell about their relations and experiences with the BRI. Therefore, this space will provide an overview of these relationships, the projects and initiatives that were launched under the BRI etc. The series of blogs and interviews commences by initially analyzing the BRI and South Asia. Those interested in contributing to this series can write to me at

Sri Lanka

China’s relations with Sri Lanka have various nuances that, although less well known, continue to dominate the conduct of relations. Bilateral relations can be dated back to the 1st century CE, when the Ancient Silk Route enabled greater interactions between the two countries fostering close bonds in the cultural, political, and trade spheres. Regardless of these ties, however, the discourse on China and Sri Lanka is dominated by misconceptions and misinterpretations. This blog will examine the nuances between China and Sri Lanka from when Sri Lanka recognised the People’s Republic of China in the 1950s and will attempt to clarify some of the misconceptions that have dominated their conversations, especially since Sri Lanka joined the BRI in 2013. Those interested in contributing to this series can write to me at

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