India has expressed concern over the entry of a controversial Chinese research vessel into Sri Lanka. New Delhi has also complained to Colombo about this. However, despite Delhi’s concerns, the country’s government allowed the ship to enter Sri Lanka.
Chinese research vessel Xian-6 arrived in Colombo last week. The ship began a two-day survey off the coast of Sri Lanka from Tuesday. It is the first scientific research vessel there, which will focus on geophysical exploration. It has an operational schedule of about 80 days at sea. It has 13 research teams.
According to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, this ship will conduct scientific research on marine issues. The research is being carried out on the west coast of the country in collaboration with Sri Lanka’s National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) and the University of Ruhuna.
Regarding the nature of the research, the spokesperson said, ‘The Chinese marine research fleet has been in Sri Lanka since December 2020. The research vessel Xi’an-6 is connected with it. This ship has come to fill the empty space created by the Chinese ship in the port of Colombo.
China’s state-run China Global Television Network reported in September that it would conduct 28 scientific projects within 12,000 nautical miles.
India and the US have expressed concern over the ship’s visit. They have expressed such concerns in the past as well. India has been claiming that those Chinese ships sailing in Sri Lanka are working on espionage basis.
According to Sri Lankan media reports, the issue was discussed when President Ranil Wickremesinghe visited Beijing earlier this month. In September this year, India’s first destroyer ‘INS Delhi’ went on a goodwill visit to Sri Lanka.
India has repeatedly raised concerns over the visit of Chinese ships since last year. Sri Lanka has informed that Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) will be followed regarding the visit of foreign ships.
Sri Lanka is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean. New Delhi is very concerned about Beijing’s growing hegemony in the Indian Ocean and strengthening China’s influence over Sri Lanka. India considers China as one of the adversaries within its sphere of influence.