As Sri Lanka is located along one of the busiest shipping routes in what India views as its strategic backyard, China has been seeking to increase its influence there.
An apparent security concern expressed by India caused the port call of a Chinese scientific research ship to be postponed; however, the ship finally landed at a southern port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday.
Chinese representatives from the shipping firm and Sri Lankan port officials greeted Yuan Wang 5 at the Hambantota port.
The ship was initially scheduled to arrive on August 11, but Sri Lanka's foreign ministry requested that the docking be delayed until after additional negotiations. Last Friday, the government said that the ship had been granted permission to port in Hambantota until August 22. It stated that while on Sri Lankan seas, the ship would have its identification systems activated and would not engage in any scientific activity.
Though it didn't say who had brought up the concerns, Sri Lanka said that it was delaying the ship's arrival due to them. The proximity of the ship to India's southern borders and subsequent security worries are probably a role.
Sri Lanka received a maritime reconnaissance aircraft from India on Monday to bolster its maritime security. The aircraft will be operated by Sri Lankan navy and air force personnel who received their training in India, according to the Indian embassy. Indian soldiers will provide operational assistance.
"The aircraft would function as a force multiplier, enabling Sri Lanka to better address several issues like smuggling, other organized forms of crime, and human and drug trafficking in its coastal seas. Given the current threats to Sri Lanka's marine security, the introduction of the aircraft is appropriate, according to the embassy.
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