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President Wickremesinghe & India Discuss The Visit Of A Chinese Vessel

Story Highlights
  • The ship's visit has been justified by China, which has urged "relevant parties" to desist from interfering with its "legitimate maritime actions."
  • In response to the vessel's anticipated arrival, members of Sri Lanka's political opposition on Monday urged the government not to "accentuate" India's strategic worries

After the Ministry of Defence in Colombo confirmed the ship’s arrival, India brought up the planned visit of a Chinese research vessel to a Sri Lankan port with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, despite New Delhi sending a “clear message” about its concerns.

Although neither the President’s office nor the Indian mission in Colombo have made an official comment in this respect to far, the issue “was addressed at the highest level by the Indian side,” a Colombo government source acquainted with the development told The Hindu on Monday.

The Ministry of Defence refuted media allegations from the previous week that the Chinese space and satellite tracking vessel “Yuan Wang 5” would be calling at Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota Port.

But after retracting its denial a few days later, the ministry announced this Saturday that it had authorised the ship’s entry into the Hambantota Port, which was built in China and where it would dock from August 11 to 17.

Two days after Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told the media that India “closely monitors any development having an effect on its security and economic interests,” the revelation not only caused severe alarm in New Delhi but also raised questions in Colombo.The ship’s visit has been justified by China, which has urged “relevant parties” to desist from interfering with its “legitimate maritime actions.”

In response to the vessel’s anticipated arrival, members of Sri Lanka’s political opposition on Monday urged the government not to “accentuate” India’s strategic worries, particularly at a time when Colombo is relying on urgent financial assistance from both New Delhi and Beijing to get the island through its current economic crisis.

Harsha de Silva, an opposition lawmaker, tweeted on Monday in response to a story in the neighbourhood newspaper Daily Mirror, saying, “I truly hope the ‘highest level’ (as described) would address this before getting out of hand. We don’t need to change the fact that China and India are reliable allies. specifically at this time, when we so urgently need both of them.

In a flurry of tweets, the opposition Tamil National Alliance also commented on the event. “Tensions in the area have increased once more as a result of Chinese spacecraft tracking ship Yuanwang-5 entering the Hambantota harbour on August 11.

Regarding rivalries for dominance among other nations, we do not take sides. However, we have also frequently argued that China’s military presence in the Indian Ocean would give India a real reason for anxiety over its defence, and that Sri Lanka should not make matters worse by allowing Chinese troops to station themselves there, the Alliance said.

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