New Delhi: Amid concerns over the movement of a Chinese vessel which India dubbed for “spying” and “research” purposes in the Maldives Special Economic Zone, the Ministry of External Affairs, on Thursday, said New Delhi has been keeping a close eye on the movement of the ship.
“We always keep a close eye on developments which impact our economic as well as security interests and take necessary steps to safeguard them when required,” said MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal during a weekly presser in New Delhi.
According to Marine Traffic, a private website keeping a watch on the movement of ships, the highly advanced Chinese ship– the Chinese ship– XIANG YANG HONG 03– is likely to dock at a Male port on February 8.
The permission to allow the Chinese ship comes amid strained relations between India and Maldives after its new President Mohamed Muizzu came to power and made Beijing his first port of call early this month after assuming office. Traditionally, New Delhi has been the first port of call for a Maldivian President.
Maldives claims Chinese vessel will not conduct any research
In a statement on Tuesday, the Maldivian Foreign Ministry said a diplomatic request was made by the Chinese government for the necessary clearances to make a port call, for the rotation of personnel and replenishment. The statement, however, said the Chinese Research Vessel Xiang Yang Hong 3, will “not be conducting any research while in the Maldivian waters”.
Earlier on Wednesday, a new revelation by Maldivian media could further escalate tension as the vessel reportedly did not appear on any of the usual tracking sites. According to a report by Maldivian vernacular daily, Adhadhu, the last location of the vessel was reported near the coast of Indonesia in the Java Sea. “The vehicle has not been displayed on public tracking sites since the 22nd of this month. Some of the vehicle’s tracking systems are believed to have been switched off. The sites show that the Chinese vessel was in the Java Sea off Indonesia that day,” according to the report.