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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Sunday, 21 April 2024 9.20 PM IST

Indian navy monitors Chinese spy ship in Maldives amid strained relations

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MUMBAI: In the midst of tense relations with India, the Indian Navy is closely tracking a Chinese military spy ship, the Xiang Yang Hong 03, set to anchor in the Maldives on February 8. The ship, allegedly engaged in military espionage disguised as maritime research, recently crossed Indonesia's Sunda Strait and is now traversing the Indian Ocean.

Diplomatic tensions escalated following derogatory remarks about Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi by three Maldivian ministers during his visit to Lakshadweep. In response, Maldives President Mohammad Muizzu visited China, holding talks with President Xi Jinping. The Indian Defense Department has alerted that the Navy is vigilant, closely monitoring the movements of the Chinese ship.

In a bid to compensate for the declining number of Indian tourists to the Maldives due to strained relations, President Muizzu has urged China to boost tourism to the island. The Maldivian authorities' statement expressing a warm welcome to ships from 'friendly countries' is perceived as an indirect jab at India.

This incident adds to India's existing concerns about the presence of Chinese ships in the Indian Ocean. Notably, Sri Lanka permitted a Chinese ship, Yuan Wang 5, to conduct marine research for two days last year. The Xiang Yang Hong 03, weighing 4300 tons, has a history of military espionage under the guise of ocean research. In 2019 and 2020, it mapped the floor of the Indian Ocean, specifically targeting deep-sea areas for Chinese submarines and paving the way for drone operations.

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TAGS: INDIA, CHINA, SPY WORK, SHIP, MALDIVES
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