India flags concerns of Yuang Wang docking in Lanka, says it gives Chinese navy a comfort zone
New Delhi, Aug 17: Sri Lanka gave into immense pressure from China and allowed a surveillance vessel to dock at the Hambantota port. India has expressed concern over the development as it worries about the presence of more naval presence in the regional waters by the Chinese.
Under pressure Sri Lanka reversed a decision to defer the visit to Hambantota by the Yuan Wang 5 which docked at the southern port on Tuesday morning. India and the United States both conveyed concerns to Sri Lanka about the docking of the vessel used by the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) to track satellites and ballistic missiles.
A Hindustan Times report quoting Navy officials said that the Indian Navy keeps a close watch on extra-regional activity in the Indian Ocean region, especially the movement and presence of Chinese vessels such as the Yuang Wang 5.
India had conveyed its concerns to Sri Lanka long before the vessel had entered regional waters. The report also said that more than the military or strategic capabilities of the vessel it is the overall comfort level of the Chinese navy in operating in these waters.
India has also expressed concern that the vessel did not go to Colombo, but to Hambantota which is under the control of the Chinese. This makes it clear that it is not about the replenishment of the Yuang Wang 5.
The Indian side has in the past too flagged such visits by the Chinese military vessels such as calls by conventional submarine to the Colombo port in September and October 2014. India will continue to flag its concerns in view of the Chinese navy's growing efforts to establish a presence in the regional waters.