China has docked another submarine and a warship in the Indian Ocean Region in Sri Lanka, its second naval adventurism in the region in two months, much to the chagrin of Indian authorities who are looking at it as a security threat.
China docked submarine Changzheng-2 and warship Chang Xing Dao at a port in Colombo on Friday, which are expected to stay there at least till Tuesday for refuelling and crew refreshment, Reuters reported.
"India has raised concerns over this but not aggressively," an Indian official said.
What has further irked India is the fact that Sri Lanka has chosen to ignore concerns raised by authorities.
"For the first time, Chinese submarines are being made part of the PLA (the People's Liberation Army) in the Indian Ocean Region fleet operation in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy, which is not a common practice," R Hariharan, a retired colonel from the Indian army and an associate at the Chennai Centre for China Studies told Reuters.
However, Sri Lankan authorities denied that this exercise was 'unusual', citing it as a 'goodwill' visit.
"This is nothing unusual. Since 2010, 230 warships have called at Colombo port from various countries on goodwill visits and for refuelling and crew refreshment," Sri Lankan navy spokesman Kosala Warnakulasuriya told Reuters.
China has also brushed off the topic as a 'common practice'.
India, however, has been monitoring Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean Region.
"We continuously monitor them, see what are their deployments, and what challenges they can pose for us... IOR is our area of operations...Our warships, submarines and aircraft are always ready to face any challenge," new Navy Chief Admiral Robin Dhowan had said in September.
What has further made India sit up is the heavy Chinese investment in the south Asian island nation, which is directed largely towards funding airports, roads, railways and ports.
India and Sri Lanka had signed an accord in 1987 relating to the respective territories to be free from activities that could be detrimental to the security of either of the nations.
The Congress party has demanded the BJP-led central government to take serious note of the reports.
The latest reports come a week after Sri Lankan Navy chief Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera called on Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi on 27 October.