Jeevan Thondaman, a Ceylon Workers’ Congress (CWC) MP, has urged the government to be mindful of recognising and respecting India’s sentiments and security concerns regarding the visit of a Chinese research vessel to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka confirmed on Monday that it had communicated with China to postpone the visit of the Chinese vessel Yuang Wang 5 to Hambantota port.
India had previously expressed security concerns about the vessel docking at Hambantota because it was depicted as a research vessel, whereas the spy ship can map the ocean floor, which is critical to the Chinese Navy’s anti-submarine operations.
In response to India’s concerns, CWC General Secretary Jeevan Thondaman urged the government to respect India’s concerns, pointing out that Sri Lanka has benefited the most from India’s “neighbourhood first” policy.
Thondaman stated that given Sri Lanka’s current economic situation, India had provided nearly 4 billion USD in financial assistance without any expectations or conditions.
“It should also be noted that India supported us during the IMF discussions, which provided us with much-needed credibility,” he added.
MP Thondaman stated that India is justified in being concerned about the issue because it could be viewed as a potential threat.
“Given the refreshing turn in Indo-Lankan ties,” he added, “it should be understood that this is not a mere coincidence, but rather an act to potentially destabilise our relationship with our neighbour, thereby disrupting trade and socioeconomic activities in this region.”