After an alert from the Union government on the scheduled arrival of Yuan Wang 5, a Chinese research vessel at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port on August 11, the Tamil Nadu police have decided to scale up security at vital installations along the coastline. The vessel is involved in space and satellite tracking and intercontinental ballistic missile launches.
Col. Nalin Herath, media spokesperson of Sri Lanka’s Defence Ministry, had earlier confirmed the vessel will be in Hambantota from August 11 to 17, “mainly for replenishment, including of fuel”.
The alert was issued to Tamil Nadu since there are many vital installations such as sea ports and nuclear power reactors along its 1,076-km coast.
The State has already enhanced its surveillance in coastal districts in view of the ongoing political crisis and worsening economic crisis in Sri Lanka. The economic crisis has resulted in illegal entry of fleeing Tamils. There were also intelligence inputs that some extremist elements could sneak into the country.
“The organisations supporting the cause of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and Tamil chauvinist outfits could stage protests against Sri Lanka for allowing China’s military presence in its territory since it would be against India’s defence interests,” a senior police officer said.
The Superintendents of Police of the coastal districts were told to deploy enough manpower at all sensitive establishments and intensify checks on roads leading to the coastal areas.
On Tuesday, senior Indian diplomats working in Indian missions abroad met Tamil Nadu Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu and Sandeep Mittal, ADGP, Coastal Security Group, at the State police headquarters in Chennai.
Senior officials described the meeting as “routine”, where the foreign service officers were briefed about the functioning of the Tamil Nadu police and maritime challenges.