INDIA SAYS IT WILL PROTECT ITS INTERESTS AS CHINESE BOAT HEADS TO SRI LANKA
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.