New Delhi, August 13
In a reversal of its earlier stand, the Sri Lankan government has allowed a Chinese research ship to dock at the Hambantota port from August 16 to 22. Analysts believe the Yuan Wang 5’s tracking systems and surveillance equipment can be used to scan India’s coastal defence facilities.
Meanwhile, denied permission to dock in Bangladesh, newly commissioned Pakistani warship PNS Taimur arrived at the Colombo port and will conduct a joint exercise with the Sri Lankan Navy on August 15.
A war of words had ensued between New Delhi and Beijing after new President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry requested the Chinese embassy in Colombo last week to postpone the visit of the vessel. He was reversing the permission granted for the docking of the Chinese ship by then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa a day before he fled Sri Lanka. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry said it was “completely unjustified for certain countries to cite the so-called security concerns to pressure Sri Lanka”. Responding to the Chinese spokesperson’s remarks, Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, had on Friday rejected the insinuations, saying : “Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and makes its own independent decisions.”
Asked if the arrival of the ship in the vicinity of the Indian coast affected the country’s security, Bagchi said, “We will make the best judgment in our own interests. This naturally takes into account the prevailing situation in the region, especially in our border areas. In the context of India and China, we have consistently maintained the necessity of mutual respect, mutual sensitivity, and mutual interest as the basis of development of ties.”
Concern for India
Yuan Wang 5 has tracking systems and surveillance equipment. Analysts believe these can be used to scan India’s coastal defence facilities
Reiterate support: China to India
China on Saturday called for India to reiterate its support for the “one-China” policy in the backdrop of the crisis in Taiwan Strait, a day after New Delhi suggested that there was no need for any “reiteration” on it.
My understanding is that India’s stand on ‘one-China’ policy has not changed...We hope that India can reiterate support for the ‘one-China’ principle. — Sun Weidong, Chinese envoy
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