CNN-News18 has accessed India’s assessment report on the Chinese spy ship Yuan Wang-5 docked in Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port.
Sources said Delhi, Beijing, and Colombo did a lot of footwork over the movement of the ship and, finally, it was delayed and the trip shortened.
Sri Lanka realised, they said, that things won’t be easy for it in the future if it allowed this ship to stay in its waters.
According to the sources, the stationed ship is sensitive to anything in the electronic spectrum. This is a military ship run by the Chinese PLA Strategic Support Force, they added.
This is a dual-use vessel, and the Strategic Support Force is responsible for space, cyber, and other warfares, said the sources.
China’s game plan
According to the new assessment, China is misusing the fact that it has a large void on the earth’s surface to monitor its satellites and is trying to create a new normal.
These satellites are not all benign, said officials, but some are like Yaogan 34-02 or Yaogan 25, transported by Long March rockets recently, and are for the national defence system.
These are not systems used for rain predictions for farmers, they added, and can go deep down into the Indian Ocean, bring important data and upload it to Yuan Wang-5, which can send it to the Central Military Command.
It is also feared that there could be a repeat of 2008, when in the name of privacy, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) entered the Gulf of Aden, normalised its naval presence in the Indian Ocean, and never left after that.
It is important to note that Diego Garcia, the US foothold in this region, is not far off and equally concerns America, which has been discarded by Sri Lankans.
Wake-up call for Sri Lankans
The excuse by the present Sri Lankan government that the previous Gotabaya Rajapaksa government had given the go-ahead for the move appears weak, said sources.
Now Gotabaya is gone and the mandate is against him, so the new government should have reversed the decision, they said.
It is important to note that China’s port of choice is not Colombo but Hambantota, responsible for drowning Sri Lankans into debt and now used by Beijing for military stopovers, officials pointed out.
It’s time, they said, for Lankans to understand that Chinese money is quick but without due diligence and long-term viability.
It is high time for the world and countries in the Indian Ocean Region to sit together and decide that Chinese adventures of this nature cannot go on, officials added.