ECONOMYNEXT – The Chinese tracking vessel Yuan Wang 5, at the centre of an apparent geopolitical standoff between Sri Lanka, India and China, has docked at the Chinese-built Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka’s deep south.
Last Friday August 13, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the green light to the ship to dock at the southern port from August 16 to 22 for replenishing purposes.
This was after the governments of India and the United States had failed to provide “concrete reasons” for why they opposed its arrival.
Sri Lankan authorities had first given clearance to Yuan Wang 5 on July 12 to make a port call at the Hambantota Port from August 11 to 17.
However, after concern about the tracking vessel’s anticipated arrival were raised by the US and India, Sri Lanka’s foreign ministry requested China to defer the port call until “further consultations”.
Much diplomatic back and forth ensued, with the tracking vessel becoming a subject of some controversy both in Sri Lanka and abroad, prompting President Ranil Wickremesinghe to personally look into the matter according to at least one report by a major newspaper.
— Dasuni Athauda (@AthaudaDasuni) August 16, 2022
The foreign ministry eventually cleared the vessel for docking in Hambantoa where the ship will be anchored till August 22.
The ship arrived in Sri Lanka a day after India celebrated its 75th Independence Day, in commemoration which the island nation’s Air Force was donated a surveillance aircraft.