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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh To Visit Sri Lanka, After It Allows Chinese Spy Vessel To Dock In Colombo Port: Report

Ujjwal Shrotryia

Aug 29, 2023, 05:20 PM | Updated 05:21 PM IST

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. (Image via Twitter)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. (Image via Twitter)

Just a day after Sri Lanka reportedly allowed Chinese spy vessel 'Shi Yan 6' to dock at Colombo port, despite India's concerns, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will visit Sri Lanka this weekend, reported The Hindu.

According to the report, the Defence Minister is scheduled to visit Trincomalee, where India is engaged in jointly establishing an oil tank farm for the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).

The announcement of this visit follows a day after a prominent Sri Lankan English daily, The Daily Mirror, reported that the Sri Lanka Defence Ministry had permitted the Chinese spy vessel Shi Yan 6 to dock at the Colombo port.

The spy ship is also scheduled to conduct research activities in collaboration with Sri Lanka's National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).

However, a Hindustan Times report introduced some confusion by stating that the spokesperson of the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry has been quoted as saying that the docking request of the Chinese ship is still being processed, and a decision is yet to be reached.

Previously, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Sri Lanka in July, he emphasised the significance of collaborative endeavors between India and Sri Lanka, underscoring the necessity to address each other's security apprehensions.

Just two weeks ago, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy warship 'Hai Yang 24 Hao' arrived in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit.

Notably, when the other Chinese spy ship, Yuan Wang 5, made a port call in Hambantota, Sri Lanka, last year, India voiced its concerns.

The financially challenged Sri Lanka views both India and China as pivotal partners in its endeavor to restructure external debt. 

China ranks among the foremost lenders to Sri Lanka. The country owes $7.1 billion to bilateral creditors, with a significant portion, $3 billion, attributed to China.

The negotiations for restructuring Sri Lanka's external and domestic debt must be concluded by September. 

This timeframe aligns with the International Monetary Fund's review of the $2.9 billion bailout granted in March this year.

In 2022, the island nation confronted an unparalleled financial crisis, the most severe since gaining independence from Britain in 1948, primarily stemming from a critical shortage of foreign exchange reserves.

Staff Writer at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.

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