China-Sri Lanka: On 16 September, China and Sri Lanka agreed to enhance bilateral military cooperation. The announcement came during a meeting between General Chen Bingde, Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China, and Sri Lankan Defense Minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
NIGHTWATCH Comment: The terms and value of the agreement are not yet known. Nevertheless, any new Chinese defense cooperation initiative with any South Asian country will draw the attention of the Indians. This reinforces China's defense connections with the country immediately south of India and in which India has strategic interests, albeit badly managed most of the time.
Following the near trebling of the armed forces to achieve victory over the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan Army requires a major overhaul, downsizing, retraining and re-equipment. It is significant about Sri Lankan leadership views of India that they turned to China. India, China and Pakistan all have helped Sri Lanka in fighting the Tigers.
For India, this will reinforce suspicions that China plans and intends to encircle India with client states.
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