Reacting strongly to recent remarks by the Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka, on the controversial visit of a Chinese naval vessel from August 16 to 22, the Indian mission in Colombo said it had “violated basic diplomatic etiquette” and ” revealed” the purpose of the ship’s visit.
In a strongly worded Twitter thread on Saturday evening, the Indian High Commission said it had taken note of the Chinese ambassador’s remarks. “His violation of basic diplomatic etiquette may be a personal trait or reflect a broader national attitude,” the Indian mission said.
“His view of Sri Lanka’s northern neighbor may be influenced by the behavior of his own country. India, we assure you, is very different. The fact that he attributes a geopolitical context to the visit of an alleged scientific research vessel is a gift,” he said.
India’s unusually direct response referencing the diplomat and China came a day after Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong wrote in Sri Lankan media about countries “from afar or near bullying Sri Lanka “. The ambassador had also observed that Sri Lanka had overcome “17 times the aggression of its northern neighbor”.
He had also linked US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan to the “successful” docking of the Chinese satellite tracking vessel. Yuan Wang 5 in the southern port of Hambantota, and pleaded for China and Sri Lanka to “jointly safeguard each other’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity”.
The ship, which postponed its arrival for a few days at the request of Sri Lanka after concerns from India and the United States, left on August 22 after a week.
The Indian High Commission further said, “Oopacity and debt-driven schemes are now a major challenge, especially for smaller nations. Recent developments are a caveat. Sri Lanka needs support, not unwanted pressure or unnecessary controversy to serve another country’s agenda.
Sri Lanka’s Chinese debt is in focus amid the island nation’s attempts to restructure its foreign loans to qualify for IMF support.