Chinese spy ship in Hambantota

New Delhi is concerned over Yuan Wang series ship docking in Hambantota for a week

New Delhi is concerned over Yuan Wang series ship docking in Hambantota for a week
New Delhi is concerned over Yuan Wang series ship docking in Hambantota for a week

Worried India warns Sri Lanka – Should we continue to help you?

A Chinese spy vessel is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka on August 11, to snoop on Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh from Hambantota[1]. China is to snoop borders of Tamil Nadu positioning a Yuan Wang-series ship, a powerful spy vessel that will reach Hambantota port on August 11.

A top secret report of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), after the Indian Navy alerted New Delhi, has resulted in a flurry of behind the scene activities begun in South Block at the office of Ajit Doval the National Security Advisor.[2]

India is primarily concerned that in the next 15-20 years the trade, economy, and fiscal policies of India will undergo a thorough change. For this China plans to throttle India by encouraging Sri Lanka.

India is concerned that the Tamil youth in both Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu, should not get radicalized against Indian borders and especially fringe elements in Tamil Nadu.

Top secret report

A top secret report also indicated that China through Sri Lanka will dominate the Indian side of Tamil Nadu to push China’s agenda against New Delhi. Serious consequences are expected from the China spy ship. The aerial reach of the ship is more than 750 kilometers and that would indirectly mean that Kalpakkam, Koodankulam, and atomic research centre within Indian borders can be spied upon. The ship can capture ports of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. 6 South Indian ports will be under China’s focus. The Modi government is seized on this crucial issue.

Indian opposition parties and state governments are kept in the loop

From time to time government is taking opposition parties in India also into confidence. South Block is keeping the three southern state governments in the loop through its security apparatus. The Chief Secretary and Director General of Police are kept informed of the possible threat from Sri Lanka apart from refugees and militancy.

India is keeping a close watch across its southern neighbourhood following a report that a Chinese scientific research vessel ‘Yuan Wang 5’ will enter Hambantota port on August 11 for a week to allegedly conduct satellite control and research tracking in the Indian Ocean Region[3]. What is interesting is that little is known about the Series 5 of the Yuan Wang ship family.

What has raised eyebrows here is the timing of the docking of the vessel at the port built by China, probably taking advantage of the political crisis in the island nation.

New Delhi is examining the level of local political and military support that China has received for the proposed plan.

Should Rajapaksa and Ranil, after India’s help, support China?

India has long been worried about dual-use facilities of Chinese infrastructure projects spanning Myanmar to Eastern African states in what comes as a direct challenge to New Delhi’s interests.[4]

The island nation has been reeling under a massive crisis following over 100 days of protests by its people, witnessing a change of regime with the ousting of former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who eventually fled the country.

Subsequently, Ranil Wickremesinghe was elected as president and Dinesh Gunawardena as prime minister. “Sri Lanka is an economy having three main sources of revenue — exports, tourism, and remittances. Due to Covid, some of these sources dried up completely. Sri Lanka is now trying to come back to normal levels of functioning and the economy will benefit from more investments. As a result, we are now looking at bringing in more investments in this country.”

India to urge Sri Lanka to reconsider the decision of the spy ship

According to highly places security sources, there is a direct correlation between the deteriorating economy and Chinese vessel trying to snoop on India from Lankan waters.

Since January this year, India has offered aid and humanitarian assistance to the tune of around $4 billion to Sri Lanka, the largest ever given to any country, to help the island nation meet its shortage of food, fuel, medicines, and other essential items[5].

Focus on Lankan govt’s role in giving clearance despite India helping with an Rs.25000 cr financial package for reviving the Lankan economy

How the Chinese vessel will dock at Hambantota port on August 11, for a week, to conduct satellite control and research tracking in Indian Ocean Region, is the question uppermost in the minds of many.

This is the first time since 2014 that such a Chinese naval vessel is visiting Lanka. In 2014, a Chinese submarine docked at Colombo drawing India’s ire and the matter was raised at the highest level[6].

The ship is expected to depart Hambantota on August 17 after replenishment. The ship could conduct satellite control and research track in the north-western part of the Indian Ocean region, according to Y Ranaraja, Director, Belt & Road Initiative, Sri Lanka (BRISL).

“China’s Yuan Wang-5 space-tracking vessel conducting a space-ground information exchange and especially provide significant data support to Zhongxing-2E satellite’s orbit determination and entry. Now the vessel is sailing pass Taiwan towards Hambantota in Sri Lanka,” Ranaraja tweeted.

China violating Territorial Sea Pact

China has a major say in the Hambantota Port area and much of its activities in the area remain under wraps, according to critics both local and foreign. Sources explained that Yuan Wang 5 is also potentially violating innocent passage requirements in territorial seas as per UNCLOS. The vessel, according to experts, has the capability to snoop on a coastal state.

Yuan Wang 5 is the third-generation tracking ship of the Yuan Wang series and entered service in 2007[7]. Built by Jiangnan Shipyard, Yuan Wang 5 has a displacement of 25,000 tonnes and can withstand wind scales up to 12. It is important to note that the Yuan Wang class is not a single class of identical designs, but a group of different designs under the same series that share one name. What would be the future repercussions Indian side is seriously debating at the top level of the Cabinet Committee on Security.


[1] China’s powerful spy ship reached Hambantota port of Sri Lanka, India alerted by the action of the dragonJul 28, 2022, Suspense crime


[3] India says it will protect its interests as Chinese boat heads to Sri LankaJul 28, 2022, Indian Express

[4] India Feels the Squeeze in Indian Ocean with Chinese Projects in NeighborhoodSep 16, 2021, VOA News

[5] Long-term investments in Sri Lanka are India’s plan to fix economic crisis, envoy Baglay saysJul 25, 2022, The Print

[6] Chinese submarine docks in Sri Lanka despite Indian concernsNov 02, 2014, Reuters

[7] Yuan Wang – Space Event Ships – 3rd Generation – Global Security

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