Thursday, July 18, 2024

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India assists Sri Lanka in maritime surveillance amidst Chinese vessel issue

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): At a time where India and Sri Lanka strengthening  bilateral maritime surveillance, another Chinese marine research vessel, Shi Yan 6 is expected to dock at Colombo and Hambantota deep sea ports in Sri Lanka by October this year arousing India’s concerns, Indian media reported.

Commemorating the 77th Independence Day, India officially handed over a substitute Dornier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft to President’s Senior Advisor on National Security, Sagala Ratnayake yesterday

Accordingly, the substitute Dornier-228 maritime surveillance aircraft, to be used by the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF), was handed over at a ceremony held at the Sri Lanka Air Force Base in Katunayake today, the President’s Media Division (PMD) reported.

The substitute surveillance aircraft was handed over today as the Dornier-228 aircraft handed over to Sri Lanka a year ago was sent to India for obligatory yearly maintenance, the PMD said.

During the bilateral security discussions that transpired between India and Sri Lanka on January 9, 2018, in New Delhi, the potential acquisition of maritime surveillance aircraft akin to the Dornier type from India was brought to attention. The aim was to bolster Sri Lanka’s capabilities in maritime surveillance

Although Sri Lanka has not given the green signal to Shi Yan 6 yet, reports said India’s strategic community is expecting the island nation to give its nod.

Indian media raised concerns that the development comes as Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe recently visited India and assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the country will take care of India’s sensitive security and strategic concerns.

According to Indian media reports, Shi Yan 6, a substantial weight of 3,999 tons and originating from Guangzhou, is presently situated within the South China Sea and is currently navigating in a southern direction.

Speculations are rife that researchers affiliated with Sri Lanka’s National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) are set to commence a scientific expedition aboard the vessel Shi Yan 6, while the primary objective is to carry out an extensive survey encompassing both the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the island nation and the region of the southern Indian Ocean.

The Indian government has released no official word on the matter but as per Hindustan Times, the officials are engaging with Sri Lanka at the highest diplomatic levels.In August 2022, controversy prevailed as Chinese high-tech research vessel known as Yuan Wang 5, successfully moored at the harbour of Hambantota.

India is paying close attention to a new Chinese marine research vessel, Shi Yan 6, which is expected to dock at Colombo and Hambantota deep sea ports in the Sea of Sri Lanka in late October 2023.

The National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) said the vessels’ arrival has already been planned.

However, the Sri Lanka Navy said that it was not made aware of the vessels’ visit to Sri Lankan shores.

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