Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Trilateral exercise ‘DOSTI-16’ kicks off in Maldives with Chinese research vessel nearby | India News – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: During the 16th edition of the India-Maldives-Sri Lanka trilateral exercise “Dosti” with Bangladesh as observer, ICGS Samarth (with integral helo), ICGS Abhinav & ICG Dornier arrived in Male. According to media reports, a Chinese research vessel was anchored near Male port.

“The Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 03 was moored close to Male City this morning.Around noon, the ship was shown to be near Thilafushi,” local media reported, quoting the Marine Traffic website that tracks all ocean liners across the globe.
The Maldives government granted permission for the research vessel, capable of conducting research and surveys, to dock at Male port on January 23. Authorities said that the vessel’s stopover was solely for replenishment purposes and assured that it would not engage in any research activities while in Maldivian waters.
India has expressed concern about the movement of the Xiang Yang Hong 03 vessel in Indian Ocean waters and also prevailed on Sri Lanka to refuse permission for the ship to dock at Colombo port.
In February, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said the ship’s activities complied with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
“China’s scientific research activities in relevant waters are for peaceful purposes and aimed at contributing to humanity’s scientific understanding of the ocean,” Wang said in response to a question on the research ship’s plan to dock at the Maldives.
Meanwhile, Thursday morning, Coast Guards of Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka, along with observers from Bangladesh, joined in at the Trilateral Joint Exercise ‘Dosti-16.’
“MNDF welcomes participating ships from India and Sri Lanka for the Trilateral Joint Exercise ‘Dosti-16’ from Feb 22-25. Coast Guards of Maldives, India, and Sri Lanka, along with observers from Bangladesh, join in this biennial event to enhance collaboration between the forces,” Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) said in a post on X along with the photos of the two vessels.

The visit of the Indian coast guard ship to the Maldives comes amidst Male’s demand for the withdrawal of 88 Indian military personnel manning three Indian aviation platforms in the island nation by March 15.

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