File image of Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. (Photo: Reuters)
Colombo: Sri Lanka’s former president Mahinda Rajapaksa on Thursday claimed that India was “silent” on growing Chinese influence in the island nation while it was more vocal on the issue during his administration.
“All my Indian friends were shouting against me when Chinese submarines came to Colombo port. But now they are silent like rats,” he said addressing foreign correspondents.
Asked on what basis he can claim that Indians were no longer worried about Chinese influence in Lanka, Rajapkasa said, “They were openly expressing it then”.
He said he stands opposed to Chinese being given 15,000 acres in his hometown of Hambantota for an industrial park.
“We welcome the industrial park but 15,000 acres would be too much,” he said.
He thought India might also be waiting to see if the Trincomalee harbour or the Palaly airport in the north may be given to them by the Maithripala Sirisena government.
Rajapaksa said India, which had backed him in the war against the LTTE, was influenced by the US to work against him.
“I wanted them to come (actively support the military campaign) they did not because of the South Indian attitude,”Rajapaksa said.
Rajapaksa alleged his ouster was due to a sustained campaign by the West, India’s RAW and others which had stared two years before the 2015 January presidential election which he called two years ahead of schedule.