Sri Lanka announces a one-year moratorium on foreign research vessels.

Amid geopolitical strain, Sri Lanka has decided to have a one year moratorium in allowing foreign vessels in conducting research in the country’s territorial waters, a minister said.

The government has taken such a decision and communicated it to the relevant countries. The decision has been taken in the wake of China seeking permission to berth yet another research vessel in Sri Lanka’s waters in January, next year.

Chinese Survey and Research Vessel Shi Yan 6 docked at Sri Lanka’s Colombo port in October despite India’s objection and carried out research activities along with the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) on the water column of the Indian Ocean.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry told Daily Mirror that the government had announced a twelve-month moratorium on research vessels from any country starting from January, next year.

“That is for us to do some capacity development so that we can participate in such research activities as equal partners,” he said.

Sri Lanka is also facing elections next year and seeking to act without antagonizing any country in its dealings with matters of geopolitical significance.

Besides, Sri Lanka has also evolved the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for foreign military vessels and aircraft arriving in the country. The minister said the guidelines set under the SOP had been sent all the countries that deployed their vessels to Sri Lankan waters during the last ten years.

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