However, sources in India’s defense and security establishment have said the purpose of visiting the ship cannot be solely for resupply and that it could be used to spy on Indian installations.
They said India had also told Sri Lanka of its opposition to such incursions in the past and that India’s concerns were not limited to just one visit.
The ship was originally scheduled to arrive at the port of Hambantota on August 11, but was delayed due to lack of clearance from the Sri Lankan authorities.
Sri Lanka had asked China to postpone the visit amid India’s concerns over the matter. On Saturday, Colombo granted the port access to the ship from August 16 to 22.
There were apprehensions in New Delhi that the ship’s tracking systems might try to spy on Indian installations as it headed for the Sri Lankan port.
“We are closely monitoring the ship’s visit,” a source said.
A day before the ship docked in the port of Hambantota, India handed over a Dornier maritime surveillance plane to Sri Lanka.
The aircraft would act as a force multiplier, enabling Sri Lanka to more effectively address challenges such as human and drug trafficking, smuggling and other forms of organized crime in its coastal waters, the Ministry of External Affairs.
“The introduction of the aircraft is timely given Sri Lanka’s current maritime security challenges,” he said.