Two Chinese research and survey vessels sailing in Sri Lankan waters have caught the eye of Indian Navy, which can be a possible threat on data vital for the conduct of naval operations. The two vessels have been sailing in Colombo owned waters since the past one month claiming to probe into shipwrecks, sources from the Indian defence ministry speaking to The Print revealed. Since 2012, Beijing owned navy vessels are a regular sight in the Indian Ocean, despite critics claiming that it may increase the threat to the Indian subcontinent.
In 2014, CCP head Xi Jinping signed an agreement with his Sri Lankan counterpart allowing marine surveys by Chinese vessels, defencenews.in reported. While Beijing has claimed that its marine research is related to a 15th-century wreck of Chinese Admiral Zheng He’s treasure fleet, the Indian navy sees a possible conspiracy. Speaking to The Print, Defense Ministry personnel questioned why did the ships not probe near the Sri Lankan shore where the possibility of wreck and finding lost artefacts would be more and so would be the sociality of the vessels to Sri Lankan monitoring agency.
Chinese vessels have repeatedly attracted flak from International players and neighbouring countries due to its "provoking" navy exercises. Last month, Japanese coast guards revealed that the two Chinese vessels that had entered the country's territorial waters off Senkaku islands were still present. According to news agency ANI, this is the longest intrusion into the Japanese waters by the Chinese side in the last eight years as the last time a similar kind of incident took place was in 2012 when the Japanese government had bought some portion of the islands from a private owner.
Earlier in August, at least three Australian warships encountered Chinese war vessels in the disputed South China Sea as the two naval forces were locked in a confrontation on the former's way to Vietnam, as per international media reports. Australia’s Defence Department said in a statement that its three warships were on a course to traverse the northern Spratly Islands to its eventual destination of Ho Chi Minh City. It added that the ships had nearly sailed towards China’s artificial islands.