Why is China not helping longtime allies Pakistan and Sri Lanka? Best friends no more?

Why is China not helping longtime allies Pakistan and Sri Lanka? Best friends no more?

Pakistan and Sri Lanka have been facing their worst economic disasters of all time. Sri Lankan ex-PM Mahinda Rajapaksha was forced to resign, just months after Pakistan’s ex-PM Imran Khan was voted out of the office. The countries have been gripped with acute food shortages, riots, civil unrest, power cuts etc. since many months. The Pakistani rupee has plunged to an all time low against the US dollar.

Long term ally China has been reluctant to help out Sri Lanka and Pakistan to bail out of the current situation. Sri Lanka needs 2.5 Bn USD for economic restructuring, for which they approached China for help to which Beijing has not responded. China has not offered much needed help to Pakistan as well. Both these countries have been burdened under debt from their long term friend.

IMF had been in discussion with Sri Lanka for a loan program and has asked the island nation for assurances that the country’s debt be put under a sustainable path. China played hardball on helping Sri Lanka and eventually agreed to help but no progress has been seen so far.

Pakistan has been overly dependent on China for their economic growth. Pakistan was supposedly to be the biggest beneficiary of economic relief from China. On the contrary they got grappled in an economic trap. Pakistani PM Shariff has approached Saudi Arabia for economic relief. Saudis promised them with an 8 bn USD bailout.

Pakistan owes about 20% of external debt to China. China is infamous for lending money to developing nations for questionable projects which may not be sustainable in long term or profitable at all. Similar funding has been provided to Pakistan for so called economic development and Sri Lanka for building ports and cities. But due to lack of profitability, these projects have largely failed and burdened the countries with economic failure.

China itself is facing economic setbacks since few months, China’s zero covid policy has put many residents under lockdown which led to slowdown in business and overall growth.

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