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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping. India and China see a chance to deepen their geopolitical influence in cash-strapped and increasingly vulnerable Sri Lanka and the Maldives, both strategically located in the Indian Ocean.   © Nikkei montage/Source photos by Reuters
Asia Insight

India and China compete over Indian Ocean debt-relief diplomacy

Sri Lanka and Maldives seek bailouts as Asian giants dangle dollars to gain edge

MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR, Asia regional correspondent | Sri Lanka

COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka's navy scours the island nation's northern waters in search of Indian smugglers hauling boatloads of turmeric, a staple spice used widely in South Asian cooking. The ultranationalist government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa this year added the yellow seasoning to a list of banned imports in a desperate bid to prevent an outflow of precious U.S. dollars.

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