Lanka to Allow Chinese Subs Visit

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

October 19, 2015

Ranil Wickremesinghe. Photo: Official Facebook Page

Ranil Wickremesinghe. Photo: Official Facebook Page

 Sri Lanka will allow future submarine visits by China provided they are not too frequent, and will keep the neighboring India informed of the visits, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said.

In future, Sri Lanka will set out definite criteria for calls by foreign naval ships. 
"We have put out the criterion for visits by naval ships. Under that, ships including submarines from all countries can visit Sri Lanka. As far as we are concerned if it is a friendly visit we will inform the neighbouring countries and we will spread out the (frequency of the) visits," he said in an interview published in The Straits Times.
"The problem with the last visit by a Chinese submarine was that India claims it was not informed. So far, from what we found out, that seems to be correct," the Singapore daily quoted  Wickremesinghe as saying.
Wickremesinghe suggested that some of the mistrust could have been avoided if India had been kept in the picture about the visit by the Chinese submarine, which was en route to deployment in the Gulf of Aden.
Wickremesinghe returned to power earlier this year as prime minister of a national unity government led by President Maithripala Sirisena, who is from the rival Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
New Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has unnerved China though with his re-examination of relations, including a $1.5-billion Chinese-invested "port city" project in the capital Colombo. 
Visiting Beijing in February, Sri Lanka's foreign minister said future visits by Chinese submarines were unlikely.  
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