India fears spy attack
Sri Lanka allows Chinese spy ship to dock
08/14/2022 03:01 am
Beijing is one of Sri Lanka’s largest lenders. The island state is now allowing a Chinese surveillance ship to enter. In India, the news caused alarm.
After days of delay, a military surveillance ship from China is allowed to dock in a port in the crisis-ridden country of Sri Lanka – despite security concerns in neighboring India. According to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo, the “Yuan Wang 5” will arrive in the southern port of Hambantota next Tuesday and will anchor there until August 22.
The ship, which belongs to China’s People’s Liberation Army and which, according to media reports, is used to track satellite and ICBMs and is also described as a spy ship, was originally scheduled to dock there last Thursday. True, Sri Lanka did not give specific reasons for postponing the arrival of the ship. However, security concerns on the part of India are suspected to be behind this.
The Indian government had expressed concern that the surveillance ship could spy on military installations given Sri Lanka’s proximity to mainland India. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo assured that the Chinese ship would dock in Sri Lanka only to load supplies.
India has provided extensive aid, including food, fuel, medicines and gas for cooking, to neighboring Sri Lanka, which is mired in a severe economic crisis. At the same time, Sri Lanka is dependent on China, one of the country’s largest lenders, agreeing to a loan restructuring. This is considered a condition of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) bailout program hoped for by Sri Lanka.
China has loaned Sri Lanka billions for development projects, some of which critics say are of little benefit to the small but strategically important island nation in the Indian Ocean. This includes the port of Hambantota, which Sri Lanka leased to China in 2017 because it was unable to repay its debt. According to media reports, India fears that the port of Hambantota Beijing could serve as a military base in the future. It is close to the main shipping routes from Asia to Europe.