The government has allowed the high-tech Chinese research ship Shi Yan 6 to dock at Hambantota and Colombo Ports following a request by the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) and the Foreign Ministry, amidst India’s serious concern about its presence in its neighborhood.

A senior government official who wished to remain anonymous said that the Chinese ship will be involved in research operations in Sri Lankan territorial waters for a period of 17 days.

However, he said that dates of arrival have yet to be finalized. He admitted that the government of Sri Lanka has made a request to the Chinese embassy in Colombo to defer the dates amidst serious security concerns raised by India.

He added that Sri Lankan naval personnel, along with NARA officials, will be on board the vessels during their operation in the Sri Lankan Sea. However, the NARA said the vessel’s arrival is part of an agreement reached with Ruhuna University of Sri Lanka.

A senior officer of the Sri Lanka Navy said that the exact dates of the Chinese ship’s arrival will be announced by the end of this week.

Over the past few years, a large number of vessels have reached Sri Lankan ports, and the majority of them are Chinese research and survey vessels. Meanwhile, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Sri Lanka on September 2.

Indian media reports say that he is also expected to be in Trincomalee, where India has embarked on strategic investment with the final aim of establishing a pipeline linking the two countries for the transfer of petroleum products.