HomeIndian DefenceChinese spy vessel headed to Maldives, India keeping a close watch

Chinese spy vessel headed to Maldives, India keeping a close watch

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New Delhi: India is keeping a close watch on the movement of a Chinese spy vessel, or what Beijing claims to be an ocean research vessel, which is scheduled to reach the Maldives next week.

The vessel, Xiang Yang Hong 03, is currently in the SE Asian waters. India is tracking the activities of the vessel, including any attempt to gather data of the resources in the region, ET has learnt.

The development follows Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu’s visit to China earlier this month. China’s need may have been necessitated after Sri Lanka put a moratorium on the entry of Chinese research vessels for a year. Interestingly on Monday, Sun Haiyan, vice minister of the international department of the Chinese Communist Party, met Muizzu in Male. This call focused on exploring ways to promptly implement agreements signed during the president’s China visit, according to Maldivian president’s office. Muizzu reportedly conveyed his eagerness to implement the agreements signed between the two countries.

Sri Lanka had earlier turned down a request by China to allow Xiang Yang Hong 3 to call on Sri Lankan ports by early 2024 to conduct a survey. India had in the past expressed reservations several times with the Lankan authorities about allowing Chinese spy ships in the country’s ports as such vessels allow Beijing to gather critical information from India’s southern states.

The increase in frequency of visits by Chinese spy ships to Sri Lanka is part of a wider strategy of not only collecting information about vital strategic assets in southern India and New Delhi’s role in the region but also to gather information about ecological and mineral treasure in the Gulf of Mannar, ET had reported.

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