China in Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands: Role of Littorals in the Geopolitical Competition


This issue brief discusses the growing Chinese sphere of influence in Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands, its impact on the region and on the regional powers, India and Australia. The Rajapaksa regime in Sri Lanka and Sogavare administration in Solomon Islands face significant geostrategic competition where security agreements and multiple infrastructure projects are carried out in the littorals by extra-regional powers. Both regimes faced public protest, and are seen as fragile democracies where Chinese maneuvers are visible. China is making inroads using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to expand into Sri Lanka’s regional provinces. How do Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands threaten their immediate regional power? How can the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)/Quad help vulnerable nations to realign with a rules-based order? What is the role of littorals in the security balance?

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