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IMAGE COPYRIGHT Damien Symon @detresfa_

A Chinese research vessel, the Shi Yan 6, has entered the Malacca Strait and is on its way to visit two Sri Lankan ports, Colombo and Hambantota, as part of an 80-day sea operation in the Indian Ocean Region. This development has raised concerns in India.

The Shi Yan 6 was a significant project under China’s 13th Five-Year Plan for science and education infrastructure construction. Two years after its launch, the vessel embarked on its maiden voyage to the eastern Indian Ocean in 2022.

India has scheduled several missile tests later this year, including the test of the K-5 Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) and potentially additional tests of the Agni-5 Mk2, which boasts greater range than its predecessor.

During the scientific survey conducted by the Shi Yan 6, the project leader emphasized, “The Indian Ocean is one of the oceans we know least about so far. One of the fundamental reasons is the lack of sufficient on-site observations.” This voyage utilized a methodology involving traveling surveys, fixed-point observations, and sampling at specific stations.

China’s increased maritime presence in the Indian Ocean has prompted concerns in neighboring countries, including India, as they closely monitor developments in the region.

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