Arrival of Chinese ‘spy ship’ Yuan Wang 5: Sri Lankan minister Harin Fernando says India understands its situation

Fernado hopes it would not be diplomatic issue

Darshan DesaiUpdated: Saturday, August 20, 2022, 10:11 PM IST
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Harin Fernando | Photo: Twitter

Ahmedabad: Walking a tightrope between two warring neighbouring countries, small island country Sri Lanka is concerned that the berthing of a Chinese ship ‘Yuan Wang 5’ on its waters does not flare up into a major diplomatic row with India.

On a visit to Ahmedabad to promote tourism in their country, Sri Lanka’s Tourism Minister Harin Fernando on Saturday expressed a fervent hope that the docking of the Chinese ship would not create a diplomatic crisis since India understood its situation.

Similarly, he said China had made huge investments in Sri Lanka and “has been understanding its requirements in the past.”

Fernando was replying to questions from the media about New Delhi’s concerns over the ship’s snooping capabilities, suspecting it to be a “dual-use spy ship.”

The visiting minister almost made an appeal when he told a questioner, “Sri Lanka is a small country and has very good friendship with everyone. I am sure India understands that. We have a very good diplomatic relationship with India.”

Fernando claimed that Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Vickremesinghe and its foreign minister were in constant touch with Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “I think they understand our situation.”

As for China, he said, “There is a lot of investment by the Chinese in Sri Lanka and they have also been quite understanding of our requirements in the past. So, I am quite hopeful this is not a major diplomatic issue. This could be looked into.” The Chinese ballistic missile and satellite tracking ship is berthed at Sri Lanka’s southern port of Hambantota and will remain docked at the Chinese-run port till August 22.

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