Colombo: On behalf of Sri Lanka, it was said to postpone the scheduled voyage of a high-tech China research vessel or ‘spy ship’ at the strategic Hambantota port. After this, the Embassy of China in Sri Lanka has demanded an immediate meeting with the Sri Lankan officials. China Research Ship ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was to stop at Hambantota port from 11 to 17 August.
Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry told the Chinese embassy in Colombo on August 5,”The ministry would like to request that the arrival of the vessel ‘Yuan Wang 5’ at the port of Hambantota be postponed until further consultations on the matter.”
According to PTI, sources here said that the Chinese embassy in Colombo sought an immediate meeting with the Sri Lankan high officials to discuss the issue after receiving such a message from the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry.
However, the President’s Office denied the media reports about the meeting. On July 12, amidst the political turmoil in Sri Lanka, the then government had given permission to stop the Chinese vessel at the Hambantota port.
Hambantota port is considered strategically important. The port, located in the home area of the Rajapaksa family, has been largely developed with Chinese debt.
According to media reports here, New Delhi has told Sri Lanka that India’s national security may be threatened by the halt of a high-tech Chinese research ship at the Hambantota port. Reports said that Sri Lanka has received a strong message of protest from India and said that the Chinese ship has the capability to detect satellites and transcontinental ballistic missiles.
When asked about the news of the proposed visit of a Chinese ship in New Delhi, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said,”We are aware of the news of this ship’s proposed visit to Hambantota in August.”
“The government keeps a close watch on any developments affecting India’s security and economic interests and takes all necessary measures to protect them,” he said last month.
What is India worried about?
New Delhi is concerned about fears that the ship’s surveillance system may try to spy on Indian installations en route to the Sri Lankan port. India has traditionally taken a tough stance on Chinese military ships in the Indian Ocean in the past and has lodged a protest with Sri Lanka over such visits.
In 2014, relations between India and Sri Lanka became strained after Colombo allowed China’s nuclear submarine to stay at one of its ports. China’s IPO market has made a mark in the world, raised $ 58 billion in 2022, know where America stands China is a major lender to Sri Lanka with investments in infrastructure. India, on the other hand, has been Sri Lanka’s lifeline in the current economic crisis.
India has been at the fore in providing nearly $4 billion in aid to Sri Lanka during this period, as the island nation is facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.