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Home / India / China and India spar over 'research/survey' ship in Sri Lanka

China and India spar over 'research/survey' ship in Sri Lanka

High Commission spokesperson says opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations
Yuan Wang 5.
Yuan Wang 5.
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Our Special Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 29.08.22, 03:29 AM

China this weekend revealed that it was still smarting over Sri Lanka deferring the docking of its “research/survey” ship Yuan Wang 5 at the island’s Hambantota port by six days on India’s request, with Chinese ambassador in Colombo billing it as “thorough interference”.

Ambassador Qi Zhenhong’s signed article “From One-China Principle to Yuan Wang 5: Let’s Join Hands and Resolutely Safeguard Our Sovereignty, Independence and Territorial Integrity” in the Sri Lanka Guardian on Friday drew a sharp response from the Indian High Commission on Saturday night. “His view of #SriLanka’s northern neighbour may be coloured by how his own country behaves. #India, we assure him, is very different.”

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Billing the ambassador’s remarks a “violation of basic diplomatic etiquette”, the High Commission spokesperson said it “may be a personal trait or reflecting a larger national attitude”.

“Opaqueness and debt-driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. Recent developments are a caution. #SriLanka needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies to serve another country’s agenda,” the  spokesperson added.

The Chinese ambassador had not named India  but left no one in any doubt his target was New Delhi. “Looking back at the great history of the island, Sri Lanka who overcome aggression from its northern neighbour for 17 times, colonisation by the west for 450 years, and an anti-terrorism war for nearly 3 decades, is now still standing in the world bravely and proudly. Any infringement on the national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka shall not be tolerated,” Qi wrote.

“Approving a foreign vessel’s port call at Hambantota or any other port for replenishment is a decision made by the Sri Lankan government completely within its sovereignty….”



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