Colombo, Oct 3 (IANS): Amidst pressure by China on Sri Lankan government to have the joint research program as planned using controversial Chinese vessel Shi Yan 6, Sri Lankan state university that was to represent Sri Lanka has decided to step aside.
The University of Ruhuna, the government-run university on Tuesday announced that it will stay away from the planned geophysical scientific research with the Chinese ship.
The university had decided to drop the joint research with China as one of the lecturers who agreed to join the research had migrated while another lecturer had already left his duties with the university.
According to the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) the Chinese geophysical scientific research vessel was to enter Sri Lankan waters following an agreement with the University of Ruhuna.
Even though Sri Lanka Navy had earlier announced that the vessel was to dock in Sri Lanka on October 25, country’s Foreign Ministry is yet to give clearance for the research.
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry has said that Sri Lanka has not given green light for the Chinese vessel Shi Yan 6 as Indian security concerns were important to the country.
The FM has said that the negations are still continuing and the vessel could enter the island nation if China agreed to comply with the standard operating procedures of Sri Lanka.
According to reports Sri Lanka also wanted to delay the research till November and also to avoid research on Northern seas closer to India.
However, China is adamant on having the research as scheduled in October.
Despite awaiting clearance the vessel last week entered the Indian Ocean and on Tuesday it was located around 474 nautical miles away from the China-run Sri Lanka’s southern Hambantota Port on Tuesday.
According to Beijing, the vessel was to conduct a joint military scientific research in the Sri Lankan EEZ and beyond in October-November 2023.