Amid growing concerns from India, the government of Sri Lanka has permitted a second military vessel of China to be docked at the Colombo port in two weeks, reported Sri Lanka’s leading English daily, The Daily Mirror.
Per the report, Sri Lanka’s government has permitted the “research” ship of China — Shi Yan 6 — to dock, and it is also expected to reach the port in October.
Colonel Nalin Herath, the Media Director of Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defense, disclosed that the appropriate ministry had given authorization for the vessel in question based on a formal request put forward by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (abbreviated the NARA).
Herath added that NARA is all set to undertake research activities associated with China’s research vessel.
However, the accurate date of the vessel’s arrival in Sri Lanka is yet to be confirmed.
Per China’s broadcaster CGTN, the Shi Yan 6 is a scientific research vessel that can carry a crew of 60 members; it is dedicated to conducting marine ecology, oceanography, and geology tests.
In 2022, India expressed its concerns when a research vessel from China, the Yuan Wang 5, ended up making a port call in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota.
India characterized the vessel as specializing in thorough spacecraft tracking, deeming it a spy vessel.
Following a long wait in mid-seas for many days, the vessel was berthed at the Chinese-built Hambantota Port in southern Sri Lanka.
India had opposed its entry, citing probable espionage on India’s nuclear and military installations in the area.
About two weeks back, the warship of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy dubbed Hai Yang 24 Hao reached Sri Lanka for its two-day visit.
The arrival of the 129-meter-long vessel encountered massive delays owing to concerns raised by India.
The financially challenged Sri Lanka perceives India and China as key partners in restructuring external debts.
China’s rank is among the foremost in terms of lenders to Sri Lanka. The country reportedly owes $7.1 billion to its bilateral creditors, with a massive portion, nearly $3 billion, attributed to China.
The negotiations to restructure Sri Lanka’s domestic and external debt must be concluded by September 2023.
The timeframe also aligns with the International Monetary Fund’s review of the whopping $2.9 billion bailout granted in 2023 (March).
In 2022, the island nation reportedly confronted an unmatched financial crisis, the most severe since achieving independence from Britain in 1948, arising from a crucial shortage of foreign exchange reserves.
References: swarajyamag.com, etvbharat.com, news18.com
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