Navy to monitor Chinese ship in Indian Ocean headed to Maldives | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Navy to monitor Chinese ship in Indian Ocean headed to Maldives

Jan 24, 2024 07:53 PM IST

Maldives said it received a diplomatic request from China for necessary clearances for the ship to make a port call for rotation of personnel and replenishment

The Indian Navy will monitor Chinese surveillance ship Xiang Yang Hong 3 in the Indian Ocean region to ensure that it does not carry out any exploration activity in the Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zone.

Chinese spy ship Xiang Yang Hong 3. (James S/Marine Traffic)
Chinese spy ship Xiang Yang Hong 3. (James S/Marine Traffic)

On Tuesday, the Mohamed Muizzu government announced that the said ship was coming to Male for operational turn around (OTR), a common jargon for picking up food and oil supplies.

In its statement, Male said, "Concerning the media reports regarding the port call of the Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 3 at Male, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to inform that a diplomatic request was made by the Government of China to the Government of Maldives, for the necessary clearances to make a port call, for rotation of personnel and replenishment. The vessel would not be conducting any research while in the Maldivian waters.

"The Maldives has always been a welcoming destination for vessels of friendly countries, and continues to host both civilian and military vessels making port calls for peaceful purposes. Such port calls not only enhance bilateral ties between the Maldives and its partner countries, but also demonstrate the centuries old tradition of the Maldivian people welcoming vessels from friendly countries," the Maldivian government statement added.

According to official sources, the Chinese surveillance ship is currently in south west Indian ocean region and is expected to dock at Male seaport on February 5. India had already expressed its reservations over surveillance activity of the said Chinese spy ship to Sri Lanka and Maldives last year. The Narendra Modi government renewed its concerns to Male after Mohamed Muizzu-led government was sworn in on November 17.

It is on the basis of Indian concerns that Sri Lanka on December 22 announced that it will not allow any surveillance ship in its EEZ for the entire 2024.

The Muizzu government while conveying its no to deep sea exploration activity to the said Chinese ship has allowed a routine OTR at Male seaport. What remains to be seen is that whether the Chinese ship will strict to the rule of the Maldivian government or carry out surveillance in spite of the Tuesday order.

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