When India celebrates its Independence Day on Monday, a warship from arch-rival Pakistan will take part in a drill with an advanced offshore patrol vessel from its Indian Ocean neighbor Sri Lanka near its South side.
The Pakistan Navy’s PNS Taimur will conduct a “passing exercise” with the Sri Lankan Navy’s SLNS Sindurala as it leaves the port of Colombo, where it arrived on August 12 for an official visit. The exercise will include maneuvers as well as search and rescue drills and aims to enhance interoperability and partnership as well as exchange best practices between the two navies, the Sri Lankan Navy said in a statement released on Sunday. .
The joint exercise of PNS Taimur and SLNS Sindurala will coincide with India’s 75th Independence Day. It will take place a day before the Chinese surveillance vessel “Yuan Wang 5” docks at the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka.
The Yuan Wang 5 is one of four currently used by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force to track satellites and intercontinental ballistic missiles. His proposed visit to the port of Hambantota, which Sri Lanka leased from a Chinese state-owned company in 2016, raised concerns in New Delhi. Sri Lanka postponed the ship’s visit for days after India raised safety concerns, but has now decided to allow it to dock at Hambantota port on Tuesday to refuel and replenish stocks of other essential products.
The PNS Taimur – built by China and then handed over to Pakistan – arrived at the port of Colombo on August 12 after taking part in exercises in Malaysia and Cambodia. After Dhaka denied the Pakistan Navy frigate permission to dock at any port in Bangladesh, Islamabad appealed to the Sri Lankan government to allow it to stop at the port of Colombo for refueling.
New Delhi has not made public whether it has raised any security concerns with the Sri Lankan government over the visit by PNS Taimur. He did, however, take note that the Sri Lankan Navy had chosen to deploy its SLNS Sindurala for a “passing exercise” with PNS Taimur off the south coast of India, that day also India would celebrate its 75th Independence. Day.
The Sri Lankan navy, however, sought to downplay the exercise as “a routine engagement”, saying it had conducted such “passing exercises” with foreign navies’ ships when they left the island after have made official stops. “The Sri Lankan Navy has conducted similar passing drills with navies from countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Germany, UK, Russia and Australia at several occasions,” she said in a statement on Sunday. as “false” reports of SLNS Sindurala conducting “wargames” with PNS Taimur.
SLNS Sindurala was built by India’s Goa Shipyard and was inducted into the Sri Lankan Navy in April 2018.
The navies of India and Sri Lanka regularly organize bilateral exercises and the ninth and latest edition of SLINEX (Sri-Lanka-India-Naval-
Sri Lanka has drifted into the orbit of China’s geopolitical influences in recent years, triggering security concerns for India.
New Delhi, however, has been trying to claw back much of the strategic space it lost to China in Sri Lanka in recent months.
After Sri Lanka plunged into an economic crisis earlier this year, India has so far provided aid worth more than US$3.8 billion to help the financially strapped island nation. money and also sent consignments of food, fuel, medicine, fertilizer and other essentials. India is set to hand over a Dornier 228 maritime patrol aircraft to the Indian Ocean nation to help it keep eyes on its exclusive economic zone and beyond.
Colombo’s decision to allow Chinese vessel Yuan Wang 5 to berth at Hambantota Port and deploy SLNS Sindurala for passing exercise with PNS Taimur coinciding with India’s 75th Independence Anniversary was not well received by New Delhi. India, however, reached out to President Ranil Wickremesinghe after taking over as Sri Lanka’s prime minister on July 21, following weeks of political instability caused by the economic crisis and waves of protests against his predecessor Gotabaya Rajapaksa. .
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held a bilateral meeting with new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the sidelines of ASEAN conclaves on August 4. Jaishankar reassured Sabry of India’s commitment, as a reliable friend and reliable partner, to the economic recovery and welfare of Sri Lanka.