A DAY after Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship “Yuan Wang 5” arrived at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday that India monitors any development in its neighbourhood which has a bearing on its security.
Jaishankar, who is in Bangkok to attend the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting, made the remarks when asked about the docking of the ship at the Hambantota port on Tuesday.
“What happens in our neighbourhood, any development, which has a bearing on our security issues, is of interest to us,” Jaishankar said while replying to a question during a press conference along with his Thai counterpart Don Pramudwinai after the joint commission meeting.
“I think a spokesman had said some time ago, we obviously monitor any development, which has a bearing on our interests very, very carefully. So, I think I will leave at that,” he said.
On Tuesday, China had said the activities of its vessel will not affect the security of any country and should not be “obstructed” by any “third party” – a reference to India and its security concerns.
Asked about Delhi’s concerns and the delay in the visit of the Chinese ship, Qi Zhenhong, Beijing’s envoy in Sri Lanka, who was present at the Hambantota port during the ship’s arrival on Tuesday, told reporters, “I don’t know, you should ask the Indian friends… I don’t know. Maybe this is life.”
Last Saturday, Sri Lanka, which had deferred the visit of the Chinese military vessel following concerns raised by India, made a U-turn and allowed the ship to dock at the Hambantota port from August 16 to 22.
The Yuan Wang 5 is a powerful tracking vessel whose significant aerial reach — reportedly around 750 km — means that several ports in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh could be on China’s radar.
On Sunday, ahead of the ship’s arrival, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickemesinghe said China will not be allowed to use the port of Hambantota for military purposes.