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Home / World / China seeks meeting with Sri Lanka on ship India red-flagged

China seeks meeting with Sri Lanka on ship India red-flagged

Chinese space and satellite tracking research vessel Yuan Wang 5 is scheduled to dock at the port from August 11 to 17
According to media reports, India has informed Sri Lanka that the docking of the high-tech Chinese research vessel could pose a threat to its national security.
According to media reports, India has informed Sri Lanka that the docking of the high-tech Chinese research vessel could pose a threat to its national security.
File photo

PTI   |   Colombo   |   Published 08.08.22, 12:39 AM

China’s embassy here has sought an urgent meeting with senior Sri Lankan authorities after Colombo sought a deferment of the planned docking of a high-tech Chinese research vessel at the strategic Hambantota port over which India raised concerns, sources said.

The Chinese space and satellite tracking research vessel Yuan Wang 5 was scheduled to dock at the port from August 11 to 17, weeks after Sri Lanka witnessed a major political turmoil following massive mass protests over the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

A “third-person” note from Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry to the Chinese embassy in Colombo dated August 5 says “the ministry wishes to request that the arrival of the vessel Yuan Wang 5 in Hambantota to be deferred until further consultations are made on the matter”.     

The Chinese embassy in Colombo sought an urgent meeting with the higher Sri Lankan authorities to discuss the issue after receiving the note, sources here said.       

Some Sri Lankan news portals reported that President Ranil Wickremesinghe held a closed-door meeting with China’s ambassador Qi Zhenhong after Colombo sought a deferment of the planned docking. The President’s office denied the reports.       

On July 12, amidst the political turmoil in Sri Lanka, the then government approved the Chinese vessel’s docking at the Hambantota port. The Chinese vessel was expected to dock at the Sri Lankan port for “refuelling and replenishment” and would conduct satellite control and research tracking in the northwestern part of the Indian Ocean region in August and September.

According to media reports here, India has informed Sri Lanka that the docking of the high-tech Chinese research vessel could pose a threat to its national security. India has said it carefully monitors any development having a bearing on its security and economic interests.

“We are aware of reports of a proposed visit by this vessel to Hambantota in August,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in New Delhi when asked about the reports of a proposed visit by a Chinese vessel.       

“The government carefully monitors any development having a bearing on India’s security and economic interests and takes all necessary measures to safeguard them,” he said last month. 

New Delhi is concerned about the possibility of the ship’s tracking systems attempting to snoop on Indian installations while being on its way to the Sri Lankan port.

India has traditionally taken a stern view of Chinese military vessels in the Indian Ocean and has protested such visits with Sri Lanka in the past.



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