In News: Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry denied reports that a Chinese research vessel involved in space and satellite tracking would enter the Hambantota port in August this year
- India sent a clear message that it was monitoring the ship’s progress carefully
- The vessel’s arrival was highlighted by BRISL (Belt & Road Initiative Sri Lanka), a Colombo-based organisation studying China’s ambitious connectivity project.
- India has traditionally taken a stern view of Chinese military or suspected dual-purpose vessels in the Indian Ocean, and the MEA has protested such visits with Sri Lanka in the past.
- In 2014, Sri Lanka’s decision to allow a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine Changzheng 2 in Colombo became a diplomatic flashpoint, as New Delhi expressed serious concern.
- In 2019, the Indian Navy had pushed out a Chinese Naval ship Shi Yan 1, that had come into waters close to the Andaman Islands, and in 2020, two Chinese Research vessels in the Indian Ocean near the Andaman islands had also sparked concerns similar to the current proposed visit of the satellite tracking ship.
- Hambantota port is located right in middle of vital energy supply lines in Indian Ocean, connecting Middle East and East Asia.
- Hambantota port is a deep-water port in the southern tip of Sri Lanka.
- In 2017, Colombo leased the southern port to China Merchant Port Holdings, after Sri Lanka was unable to keep its loan repayment commitments, fanning fears over potential use of the port for military purposes.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Which one of the following statements best reflects the issue with Senkaku Islands, sometimes mentioned in the news? (2022)
- It is generally believed that they are artificial islands made by a country around South China Sea.
- China and Japan engage in maritime disputes over these islands in East China Sea.
- A permanent American military base has been set up there to help Taiwan to increase its defence capabilities.
- Though International Court of Justice declared them as no man’s land, some South-East Asian countries claim them.