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Sri Lanka restricts Chinese research ships following India’s security concerns

AsiaSri Lanka restricts Chinese research ships following India’s security concerns

Sri Lanka has informed India that Chinese research vessels are prohibited from operating within its exclusive economic zone and docking at its ports for a duration of one year. The decision comes in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s request to President Ranil Wickremesinghe last July, urging respect for India’s strategic and security concerns.

Reports indicate that the declared moratorium was communicated to India through high-level diplomatic channels last week. This means that Sri Lankan authorities will not grant approval for the Chinese scientific research ship Xiang Yang Hong 3, scheduled for “deep water exploration” in the south Indian Ocean from January 5 to May.

The action is perceived as a response to India’s persistent apprehensions regarding Chinese activities in the Indian Ocean region.

In the past, Chinese research ships, hydrographic vessels, and ballistic missile trackers have conducted surveys and research in the Indian Ocean Region.

Sri Lankan leadership has on several instances mentioned that it values India’s legitimate security concerns and pointed out that India, as a neighboring country, has established a standard operating procedure (SOP) in consultation with various partners, including Sri Lanka, for the maintenance of maritime security and the visits of such vessels.

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