The Indian Navy is monitoring the movements of a Chinese research vessel that is bound for Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port, sources in the defence and security establishment said.
The military and strategic implications of the ship- ‘Yuan Wang 5’ in the Indian Ocean Region are manifold and it is expected to raise major consequences for the Indian security architecture.
The ship has a role in missile, space and satellite tracking; and its presence in the neighbourhood has series implications, a report in Economic Times said.
The ship is said to be lethal in its capabilities compared to the Chinese submarine that was docked at the Colombo port in 2014.
According to reports, the ship has the capability for aerial reach of more than 750 kilometres thereby snooping the centre in the vicinity including Kalpakkam, Koondankulam and the acomic research centre.
The vessel can track ports of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh leading to as many as six South Indian ports will be under China’s focus and can gather vital information about significant installations along South India.
New Delhi has conveyed its concerns to Colombo and the Indian security officials are monitoring it at the highest levels of security.
The Chinese, on the other hand, is trying to make inroads from Myanmar to Eastern Africa and the Indian Ocean, which is of traditional influence for New Delhi.
Reports claimed that Yuan Wang 5 is sailing at 35.2 kilometres per hour and headed towards Hambantota. Beijing has a major stake in the Hambantota Port, which was leased to China Merchant Port Holdings, after Sri Lanka was unable to repay the loans.
Sri Lanka’s defence ministry has confirmed on Saturday that the vessel would be docking at the port between 11 and 17 August.
According to reports, the Yuan Wang 5 is a third generation ship in the Yuan Wang class series and entered into service in 2007. The vessel has a displacement of 25,000 tonnes and can hold out against a maximum wind scale of 12.