India rejects China's 'insinuations' on Chinese ship's proposed visit to Sri Lanka


NEW DELHI: India on Friday rejected China’s “insinuations” that New Delhi pressured Colombo against a planned visit by a Chinese research vessel to the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota but asserted that it will take decisions based on its security concerns.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Sri Lanka, as a sovereign country, makes its own independent decisions and noted that India would make its judgment on its security concerns based on the prevailing situation in the region, especially in the border areas, seen as a veiled reference to the eastern Ladakh row.
Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship Yuan Wang 5 was scheduled to dock at Hambantota port from August 11 to 17, but reports from Sri Lanka said it has not berthed as planned.
“We reject the insinuations in the statement about India. Sri Lanka is a sovereign country and makes its own independent decisions,” Bagchi said when asked about the issue at a media briefing.
In a veiled reference to India, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin on Monday said it was “senseless” to pressure Sri Lanka to prevent the ship’s visit to Hambantota.
“With regard to our security concerns, this is the sovereign right of every country. We will make the best judgment in our own interest. This naturally takes into account the prevailing situation in our region, especially in the border areas,” Bagchi said.
The Harbour Master of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) said that the ship did not arrive at the Hambantota port port as planned.
There were apprehensions in New Delhi about the possibility of the vessel’s tracking systems attempting to snoop on Indian installations on while being on its way to the Sri Lankan port.
“As regards India-China relations, we have consistently emphasized the necessity of mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests as a basis for the development of ties,” Bagchi said.
On India’s ties with Sri Lanka, Bagchi said New Delhi is fully supportive of the island nation’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.
“Insofar as India-Sri Lanka relations are concerned, you are aware of the centrality that Sri Lanka occupies in our Neighbourhood First policy,” he said.
“India has extended this year itself unprecedented support of over USD 3. 8 billion for ameliorating the serious economic situation in Sri Lanka. India also is fully supportive of its democracy, stability and economic recovery,” Bagchi added.
The ties between India and Sri Lanka had come under strain after Colombo gave permission to a Chinese nuclear-powered submarine to dock in one of its ports in 2014.
It is understood that India apprised Sri Lanka about its concerns over the planned visit of the Chinese vessel to Hambantota port.





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