October 26, 2023
NEW DELHI – Despite India raising its objections, Sri Lanka on Wednesday allowed Chinese Survey and Research Vessel Shi Yan 6 to dock at Colombo port, raising serious security concerns in New Delhi.
Sri Lankan authorities, according to reports, have described the docking of Shi Yan as a maritime survey with the Island nation’s National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
This is not the first such instance when Sri Lanka allowed a Chinese ship to dock at its ports. Earlier last year, Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship Yuan Wang 5 had docked at Hambantota port.
Sri Lanka’s decision had triggered sharp reactions from India, with New Delhi raising security concerns over the docking of the vessel.
While the Chinese claimed it was a research vessel, the spy ship can map the ocean bed which is critical to anti-submarine operations of the Chinese Navy. Similarly, Shi Yan 6 can also map the ocean bed to help Chinese in their operations in the Indian Ocean region.
In August 2022, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said that he would emphasize the government to carefully monitor any development having a bearing on India’s security interests and to take necessary measures.
“I’ve seen reports of a Chinese ship there. I’m not sure whether it is a warship or not. I will only say that having seen these reports, I would emphasize the government carefully monitors any development having a bearing on India’s security interests and takes all necessary measures to defend them,” Bagchi had said.