In response to the opinion of the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong published in Sri Lanka Guardian last Friday, India stated that what Colombo needed now was “support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversies” to serve another country’s agenda. Referring to India’s concerns about the docking of a Chinese spy ship in Hambantota, China on Friday said that “external obstruction” based on so-called security concerns without any evidence is a “thorough interference” into Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence.
“We have noted the remarks of the Chinese ambassador. His violation of basic diplomatic etiquette may be a personal trait or reflecting a larger national attitude,” the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka tweeted. It said Qi’s view of India may be coloured by how his own country behaves. “India, we assure him, is very different,” the Indian mission here said. The ambassador’s imputing a geopolitical context to the visit of a purported scientific research vessel is a giveaway, the mission said, adding that “opaqueness and debt driven agendas are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. Recent developments are a caution”.
In a statement hinting at India’s objection to the docking of a Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship ‘Yuan Wang 5’ ship at the Hambantota port, Zhenhong said that China was happy that the matter was dealt with and Beijing and Colombo jointly safeguard each other’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. “External obstruction based on so-called security concerns but without any evidence from certain forces is de facto a thorough interference into Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and independence,” the Chinese Ambassador noted in his opinion.
The high-tech ship ‘Yuan Wang 5’ was initially scheduled to arrive at the Chinese-run port on August 11 but it was delayed due to the mounting pressure from Indian officials on Sri Lankan authorities. However, respecting the diplomatic values Sri Lanka finally decided for the ship to dock in the port of Hambantota on August 16 for replenishment.
There were apprehensions in New Delhi about the possibility of the Chinese vessel’s tracking systems attempting to snoop on Indian defence installations while being on their way to the Sri Lankan port. However, independent Indian defence excerpts rebuked the tizzy of Indian media and some Indian officials reaffirming that the Chinese research vassal called in a port in Sri Lanka for purely genuine reasons.