External affairs minister S Jaishankar has said any
development in India's neighborhood that would have a bearing on its security
will be monitored by the country as a high-tech Chinese research vessel docked
at a strategic port in Sri Lanka last week
happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our
security obviously are of an interest to us," Jaishankar said while speaking at the 9th India-Thailand
Joint Commission Meeting in Bangkok. He addressed the 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 when asked
about the docking of the ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship 'Yuan
Wang 5' at the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday. It will remain there
till August 22 for replenishment, Sri Lankan officials have said.
The ship was originally scheduled to arrive at the
Chinese-run port on August 11 but it was delayed in absence of permission by
the Sri Lankan authorities. Colombo had reportedly asked Beijing to defer the
visit amid Delhi's concerns over the issue. This followed a meeting between
external affairs ministers of both India and Lanka when they met in Indonesia
when the former took strong exception to the visit of the Chinese spy ship to
the Sri Lankan Port.
On Saturday, Sri Lankan authorities granted the port
access to the vessel from August 16 to 22 on condition that it will keep the
Automatic Identification System (AIS) switched on within the Exclusive Economic
Zone (EEZ) of Sri Lanka and no scientific research to be conducted in Sri
China said the
ship is used for scientific research, but the US Defense Department said the ship is under the
command of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) and is capable of tracking
satellites and missile launches.
of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday 17
August the ship is conducting scientific research "in accordance with