Indian media reported that another Chinese marine research vessel, Shi Yan 6, is expected to dock at Colombo and Hambantota Ports in late October 2023.
However, the vessel has not yet received the permission from Sri Lankan authorities.
India, which has expressed its concerns over the arrival of the vessel, has taken up the issue at the highest level.
Indian media reported that the issue of the vessel comes after Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently visited New Delhi and reportedly assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Colombo will take care of India’s security and strategic concerns.
In August last year, when the Chinese research vessel Yuan Wang 5 arrived at the Hambantota Port, India expressed serious concern.
Vessel was scheduled to arrive even before COVID pandemic?
However, according to Newsfirst, the Sri Lanka Navy has said that it was not made aware of the vessels’ visit to Sri Lankan shores.
Sri Lanka Navy said that if such a vessel is to reach Sri Lankan shores, it should be made aware via the Ministry of Defence.
Meanwhile, the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) has said the vessels’ arrival is part of an agreement reached with the Ruhuna University of Sri Lanka.
NARA officials said that it would link with the vessel in order to obtain water samples for its own research.
The NARA said the Shi Yan 6 was scheduled to dock in Sri Lankan ports before the COVID pandemic, and it was delayed multiple times.
NARA officials said that the Shi Yan 6 will engage in research operations only along the Southern Coast and they believe it would not be an issue for India.
Non-aligned policy; Equal opportunities for all countries
Commenting on the issue during the Cabinet news briefing held yesterday (15), Cabinet Spokesman Minister Bandula Gunawardana said that he was not aware of any report of India expressing concern and that the government would pay attention to it.
“Under our non-aligned policy, countries are given equal opportunities without any favours,” he added.