Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry on Monday said that Colombo has not given permission to a Chinese vessel to dock, adding that Indian security concerns are “important” for Sri Lanka.

Asked about reports regarding a Chinese research vessel named Shi Yan 6 scheduled to be docked in Sri Lanka in October and India’s concerns regarding it, he said that they have a standard operating procedure (SOP) and they have consulted many friends, including India.

“That’s a conversation going on for some period of time. India has expressed its concerns over a long time, but we have come out with the SOP (standard operating procedure). When we were making that, we consulted many of our friends, including India. So, as long as it complies with the SOP, we have no problem. But if it doesn’t comply with the SOP, we have a problem,” Ali Sabry told ANI.

He said that Sri Lanka has not given permission for the Chinese vessel Shi Yan 6 to dock in October, adding that negotiations are going on.

“So, therefore, as far as I know, we have not given permission to come to Sri Lanka during October. Negotiations are going on. Indian security concerns, which are legitimate, are very, very important for us. We have always told that because we want to keep our region a zone of peace,” said Ali Sabry.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe too had said that an SPO had been worked out for foreign vessels.

The Chinese research vessel was expected in Sri Lanka in October to conduct research along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), media reports had said earlier.

US Under Secretary Victoria Nuland, during her meeting with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, had raised concerns regarding Shi Yan 6’s visit.

Taking to X, formerly Twitter, Victoria Nuland stated, “The US supports a strong and prosperous Sri Lanka. Our work together continues at #UNGA. I met with @MFA_SriLanka Minister Ali Sabry to discuss U.S. economic assistance, human rights, and our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific.” ANI