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International relations

Sri Lanka's India ties strained as Rajapaksa rethinks port deal

New president keeps 'Quad' at arms length and cozies up to China

Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa, left, has appointed a committee to examine concerns about the East Container Terminal project at Colombo Port. Critics charge the project is an attempt to distance Sri Lanka from India, led by Prime Minister Modi. (Nikkei Montage/Source photo by AP/Getty Images/Rie Ishii) 

COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka's strong ties with neighboring India are being tested after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that his government is reviewing a port deal worth millions of dollars that was signed between the previous Sirisena government and New Delhi.

Political observers say the move is the latest effort by Rajapaksa to distance himself from grants and other funding offered by the "Quad" nations -- the U.S., India, Japan and Australia -- which are trying to counter China's growing geopolitical influence. Sri Lanka's government recently shelved the Japan-funded Colombo Light Railway project and a $480 million Millennium Challenge Corporation grant from the U.S.

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