Sri Lanka promises to protect India’s security amid Chinese ship visits

Ali Sabry

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry reiterated his country’s dedication to safeguarding India’s national security interests on Monday. Speaking to ANI, Sabry emphasized that Sri Lanka, as a responsible neighbour, would not permit any actions that could jeopardize India’s security.

Addressing India’s concerns about visits by Chinese research vessels to Sri Lanka, Sabry expressed a desire for transparent international cooperation without compromising the security of other nations. “We have very clearly stated that we would like to work with all countries, but any reasonable concerns regarding Indian security will be taken into note, and we will not allow anyone to harm that. Subject to that, of course, in a very transparent manner, we would like to work with all countries,” Sabry said in an interview with ANI.

Referring to China’s recent status as India’s largest trading partner, Sabry remarked, “I just got to know that recently China has become India’s biggest trading partner. So similarly, like you work with that. We would also like to work with everyone, but that should not come at anyone else, third parties cost. So therefore, let me reiterate, as a responsible neighbour and a civilizational partner we will not undertake anything that would harm the legitimate security concerns of India.”

Commenting on the ongoing elections in India, Sabry celebrated the democratic process and affirmed Sri Lanka’s willingness to collaborate with India regardless of the election results.

“It’s a celebration of democracy, the largest democracy in the world. Indian people are educated. Indian people will know what is good for them. I think when it comes to elections, it is a domestic matter. It is the public who must decide and others only should watch. We see this celebration is taking place in a democracy. We want a peaceful conclusion of this and we will work with any outcome the Indian public decides,” he said.

Last year, India had raised security concerns over the docking of a Chinese vessel at a Sri Lankan port, identified as a research ship capable of mapping the ocean bed—a key element in anti-submarine operations. The vessel had docked at Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port.

Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, addressing the issue of the Chinese spy vessel Yuan Wang-5, underscored India’s interest in regional security developments. “What happens in our neighbourhood, any developments which have a bearing on our security, obviously are of interest to us,” Jaishankar remarked at a joint press conference following the 9th India-Thailand Joint Commission Meeting.