New Delhi: Navy monitors Chinese man’s whereabouts to research vessel which is heading for the port of Hambantota in Sri Lanka, sources in the defense and security establishment have told ThePrint.

The ship is expected to dock at Hambantota Port in mid-August, ThePrint has learned. However, the exact purpose of the ship’s visit to Hambantota is unclear. It remains to be seen whether it goes to the port to turn around, resupply, logistics or signaling, according to the sources.

The sources also explained that these ships begin their movement when China or any other country conducts missile tests, adding: “It is not a military vessel though. These Chinese vessels have operated in the area before and we have always monitored their activity.”

The Chinese research vessel – called Yuan Wang 5 – is would have involved in space and satellite tracking. After initially denying reports of its planned arrival at the port of Hambantota, the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense confirmed Saturday that the ship would dock at the port between August 11 and 17.

It came after Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson for India’s foreign ministry, hinted at the Chinese ship as tell the media Thursday that India “keep a close eye on any development affecting its security and economic interests”.

Therefore, Reuters reported that China said on Friday it hoped “relevant parties” would refrain from interfering with its “legitimate maritime activities.” According to the report, the “Yuan Wang 5 is one of China’s latest generation space tracking vessels, used to monitor satellite, rocket and intercontinental ballistic missile launches.”

The Yuan Wang 5 is a third Yuan Wang series generation vessel and entered service in 2007. It has a displacement of 25,000 tons and can withstand a maximum wind scale of 12. The Yuan Wang 5 was built by the state-owned Jiangnan shipyard in Shanghai. It would also have an air range of 750 km. Yuan Wang 5s are operated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Strategic Support Force.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

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