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International relations

India seeks to contain China presence in new Sri Lanka government

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to steer between big global powers, experts say

Sri Lankans rally after voting in the presidential election in Colombo on Nov. 16. India fears Chinese influence may once again surge in Sri Lanka.   © Reuters

COLOMBO -- India has mounted a charm offensive to woo the Rajapaksas, Sri Lanka's most influential political clan, in a race for diplomatic influence in a strategic stretch of the Indian Ocean where China is gaining.

New Delhi made its intentions clear when Indian external affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar rushed to the South Asian island on Tuesday to meet President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who was sworn in the day before. Rajapaksa's electoral victory came during the weekend.

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