But some have accused Beijing of using projects such as this to increase its regional political power, noting the length of the lease agreed by Sri Lanka is the same as that which gave Britain control over Hong Kong in the 19th century. Constantino Xavier, a fellow at foreign policy think-tank Carnegie, said: “This is part of a larger modus operandi by China in the region. Hambantota port lying virtually empty last month © Simon Mundy 🔴“Beijing typically finds a local partner, makes that local partner accept investment plans that are detrimental to their country in the long term, and then uses the debts to either acquire the project altogether or to acquire political leverage in that country.” New Delhi has become so concerned about Beijing’s plans at Hambantota that it has entered talks with Sri Lanka to operate an airport nearby. In recent months, however, there have been signs that China’s partners are starting to become wary over the terms being dictated to build projects under the One Road banner. Pakistan, Nepal and Myanmar have all recently cancelled or sidelined major hydroelectricity projects planned by Chinese companies. The projects would have been worth a total of $20bn.