Amid rising concerns from India, the Sri Lankan government has allowed a second Chinese military vessel to dock at Colmbo port, in under two weeks, reported Sri Lankan leading english daily The Daily Mirror.
According to the report, the Sri Lankan government has granted permission for the Chinese "research" ship 'Shi Yan 6' to dock, and the ship is expected to reach the port sometime in October.
Colonel Nalin Herath, Media Director of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense, disclosed that the relevant ministry has granted authorization for the ship in question based on a formal request by Sri Lanka's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA).
Herath further conveyed that NARA is slated to undertake research activities in collaboration with the Chinese research vessel.
However, the precise date of the ship's arrival in Sri Lanka remains to be confirmed.
According to China's state broadcaster CGTN, the Shi Yan 6 is a scientific research vessel with a crew of 60 individuals, dedicated to conducting oceanography, marine ecology, and marine geology tests.
Notably, in the past year, India expressed concerns when a Chinese research vessel, the Yuan Wang 5, made a port call in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.
India characterized the vessel as specializing in spacecraft tracking, deeming it a spy vessel.
After waiting in mid-seas for several days, the vessel was ultimately berthed at the Chinese-constructed Hambantota Port in southern Sri Lanka.
India had opposed its entry, citing potential espionage on Indian military and nuclear installations in the region.
Merely two weeks ago, the Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy warship 'Hai Yang 24 Hao' arrived in Sri Lanka for a two-day visit.
The arrival of the 129-meter-long vessel reportedly faced delays due to concerns raised by India.
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.
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