China says nothing unusual in submarine docking at Lanka port
Beijing: Brushing aside India's concern, China today defended its submarines making port calls in Colombo, saying there is “nothing unusual” as it is an international common practice for warships to stop for refuelling at ports abroad.
“It is nothing unusual for the naval vessel to dock at Colombo port,” official media here quoted the Chinese Defence Ministry as saying.
“It is an international common practice for navy submarines to stop for refuelling and crew refreshment at an overseas port,” an official from the Defence Ministry has been quoted as saying by state-run Xinhua news agency.
Nuclear submarine Changzheng-2 and warship Chang Xing Dao docked at the Colombo port on Friday, seven weeks after another Chinese submarine, a long-range deployment patrol, had called at the same port ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Maldives, Sri Lanka and India.
The official said the Chinese submarine docked during its escort missions in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. China has been deploying its warships in the Gulf of Aden operations to fight piracy.
Observers say that this is perhaps the first time that China began to deploy submarines, which would be frequenting the Indian Ocean.