India is closely monitoring the movement of a Chinese vessel, the Xiang Yang Hong 03, slated to reach the Maldives next week, Economic Times reported.
While Beijing asserts its purpose as an ocean research mission, Indian authorities are vigilant, tracking the vessel's activities amid concerns of data collection on regional resources.
This development comes amid the Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu's recent visit to China.
Currently navigating Southeast Asian waters, the timing of China's ocean research mission raises eyebrows, especially after Sri Lanka imposed a one-year moratorium on Chinese research vessels.
India had earlier raised concerns about allowing Chinese spy ships in Sri Lanka, fearing data gathering on its southern states.
These visits were seen as attempts to collect info about India's strategic assets and ecological and mineral resources in the Gulf of Mannar.
As Sri Lanka said no, China shifted focus to the Maldives.
Meanwhile, India remains watchful, considering the potential impact on regional security and ecological assessments.
The worry is that these vessels are claimed to be meant for research but might have intelligence-gathering capabilities.
With the Xiang Yang Hong 03 under close observation, the region is on alert, highlighting concerns over vessels that appear as research entities but might have dual roles in intelligence gathering.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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