The Yuan Wang VI is a Chinese spy ship can monitor Indian missile tests.
China has sent another spy ship into the waters of the Indian Ocean, just days ahead of a planned missile test by India. This comes less than three months after a similar ship had docked in the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota.
According to defence sources, the Indian Navy has been “actively tracking” the movement of the Chinese spy ship Yuan Wang VI for several days.
The spy ships being deployed in these waters by the Chinese Navy are of the same class and are designed to monitor missile tests and the movement of satellites.
The the Yuan Wang VI has already crossed into the Indian Ocean and is sailing off the coast of Bali as indicated by MarineTraffic, an online service which tracks the movement of ships.
The Chinese spy ship Yuan Wang VI is currently near Bali, according to MarineTraffic.
The arrival of the Yuan Wang VI comes at a time when India is believed to have issued a NOTAM or Notice to Airmen announcing its intention to test a missile on a particular date and time.
According to the leading Open-Source Intelligence expert Damien Symon, the coordinates of this planned test indicate that a missile may be fired from Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha between November 10-11 and that the missile may fly to a range of 2,200 km.
Accordingly, an area between Sri Lanka to the West and Indonesia to the East has been blocked as an area over which the missile is expected to operate.
India’s worry is that China may now be trying to track the missile it is likely to test, in the process getting vital information about its capabilities such as its trajectory, speed, range and accuracy.
India frequently tests ballistic missiles off Wheeler Island, a designated missile test range.
In August this year, a sister ship of this vessel, the Yuan Wang V, docked in the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota before returning to the South China Sea.
India’s concerns have been focused not just on the deployment of ships of the class of the Yuan Wang but also on Hambantota port, which was leased to the China Merchant Port Holdings for 99 years after Sri Lanka was unable to repay loans taken for its development. This has led to constant fears of its use for military purposes.
China, which is engaged in a protracted border standoff with India, holds significant sway over Sri Lanka by being its main creditor with investments in infrastructure. India, however, has been Sri Lanka’s essential-supply lifeline amid its festering economic crisis.
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