Beijing is spreading its influence across the region with huge investments – much to the worry of India and the west

Little disturbs the serenity of Guan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion, as her statue sits in contemplation at the centre of Mattala Rajapaksa international airport.

The last flight from the airport departed at 7.50am. The next is scheduled for 7.50am tomorrow. In the meantime check-in counters are empty, car rental desks deserted, and the only sign of life a handful of staff laughing around an information desk who disperse when a visitor arrives.

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