Chinese surveillance vessel docks in Sri Lanka despite Indian concerns

Sri Lanka, on Saturday, had agreed to allow the docking of the ship at the Chinese-owned Hambantota port, situated in the southern part of the country.

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A Chinese surveillance vessel belonging to the People’s Liberation Army Navy docked at the Chinese-owned Hambantota in southern Sri Lanka on Tuesday, 16th August.

This ship is named Yuang Wang 5. It is China’s latest generation of space tracking ships which is used to monitor satellites, rockets and inter-continental ballistic missile movements.

The movements of this ship in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) have been a matter of concern for the Indian Government as they have been urging Sri Lanka to not grant access to the dock.

Sri Lanka, on Saturday, had agreed to allow the docking of the ship at the Chinese-owned Hambantota port, situated in the southern part of the country.

The Hambantota port was built by the Chinese under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Under this initiative, the Chinese lent the Island Nation several billion dollars. When Sri Lanka defaulted on payments, the Chinese made the Lankan Government lease the port to them for 99 years. It is speculated that the current economic disaster in Sri Lanka was partly caused by Chinese debt mismanagement.

The Hambantota Port is situated at a strategic location as it sits miles away from one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, connecting Europe and the Middle East to East and South East Asia.

India is concerned that the port will be used as a Chinese overseas military base in its neighbourhood.

According to a report from Reuters, the ship will be berthed for 3 days to restock on essential items like fuel, food and water.

“Even before this, there have been ships from the United States, India and other countries coming to Sri Lanka,” Media Minister Bandula Gunawardana told reporters.

“We have allowed these ships to come. In the same way, we have allowed the Chinese ship to dock.” he added.