In a U-turn of its stance, Sri Lanka on Saturday allowed Chinese ship Yuan Wang 5 to dock at its Hambantota port from August 16 to August 22, reported The Hindu.

The space and satellite tracking vessel was earlier scheduled to dock at Hambantota between August 11 and August 17 for refuelling. However days ahead of the docking, Cololmbo asked Beijing to defer the visit. This was after several reports claimed that India had asked Sri Lanka not to allow the Chinese vessel in its ports due to security reasons.

New Delhi did not express its objections on the matter publicly, but Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said on July 28 that the “government carefully monitors any development having a bearing on India’s security and economic interests and takes all necessary measures to safeguard them.”

On August 8, without naming India, China had said that it was “completely unjustified” for other countries to pressurise Sri Lanka and “grossly interfere” in its internal affairs by not allowing docking of the vessel.

However, on Friday India rejected China’s “insinuations”, saying that Sri Lanka being a sovereign country, makes its own independent decisions

A day later, Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Ministry said on Saturday allowed docking of the ship. The ministry said it held talks with all parties concerned through diplomatic channels with the aim of resolving the matter in the spirit of “friendship, mutual trust and constructive dialogue”.

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.