A Navy officer stands in front of India's and Sri Lanka's national flags as Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Shoor is in the Colombo port during its visit in Colombo, Sri Lanka April 2, 2018. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
Reuters - July 28, 2022

India, which is trying to expand its influence in crisis-hit Sri Lanka after China made deep inroads there, said on Thursday it was aware of reports about the planned visit of a Chinese vessel to a Sri Lankan port built with money from Beijing.

Shipping data from Refinitiv Eikon showed research and survey vessel Yuan Wang 5 was en route to the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota and was expected to arrive on Aug. 11.

"The government carefully monitors any developments having a bearing on India's security and economic interests, and takes all necessary measures to safeguard them," India's foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi told a weekly media briefing.

"I think that should be a clear message."

He did not say what measures India was taking and who the message was addressed to.

China's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Sri Lankan officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

A Sri Lankan government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Indian diplomats in Colombo had lodged a verbal protest with the Sri Lankan foreign ministry on Monday.


A Sri Lankan consulting firm, the Belt & Road Initiative Sri Lanka, says on its website that Yuan Wang 5 would be in Hambantota for a week.

"The vessel will conduct space tracking, satellite control and research tracking in the north-western part of the Indian Ocean region through August and September," it says, without citing a source.