The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China’s growing involvement in Sri Lanka has raised severe security concerns in Tamil Nadu. In a recent report, the state’s intelligence agency said that Chinese operations in the neighbouring countries pose a threat to national security and urged more vigilance along the coastline.
The alert addressed to all towns and districts in the State stated that the movement of PLA cadres and the deployment of high-tech tools like satellites, drones, and other communication equipment in northern Sri Lanka necessitated regular surveillance in coastal districts.
The notice cited sources to support its assertion that the PLA used cutting-edge technology to start sea cucumber cultivation.
The security advice was released a few days after the same agency warned that a few Chinese people had secretly entered India through the maritime route with the help of cadres from a political party with roots in Sri Lanka.
The Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group also called for adequate security arrangements in light of crucial installations like nuclear establishments and seaports along the Tamil Nadu coast, citing a Central Intelligence Agency in its alert on the Chinese ship used to monitor satellite, rocket, and intercontinental missile launches of China docked at Hambantota Port.
Discontent among Tamil fisherman was brought on by Chinese nationals’ freedom of movement in several areas of northern Sri Lanka, including Mullaitheevu, Paruthitheevu, Analaitheevu, Meesalai, and Chavakkacheri. They had voiced concern that the Chinese were stealing their only source of income—the vast marine resources.
According to the alert, the local Tamils were concerned that the current circumstances would cause discord among Sri Lankan citizens and limit India’s influence over Tamils living in the island’s northern and eastern regions.
Hambantota’s Chinese research vessel is causing security worries.
After receiving a warning from the Union government about the August 11 arrival of the Chinese research vessel Yuan Wang 5 to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port, Tamil Nadu increased security measures around the southeast coast. The State activated its intelligence apparatus at crucial locations along the 1,076-km long coastal strip, according to sources, using the vessel outfitted with space/satellite tracking and intercontinental ballistic missile launch facilities.
India voiced its disapproval of the visit after Sri Lanka approved the entrance of a Chinese satellite-tracking ship to its Chinese-funded Hambantota port in August of this year. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India closely monitors events that might affect its security and economic interests.
When asked for his thoughts, Sandeep Mittal, Additional Director-General of Police and Head of the Tamil Nadu Coastal Security Group, remarked that it was undeniable that there were more Chinese people in Sri Lanka. The events were suspicious since the Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka frequently visited islands near to the International Maritime Boundary Line and because a drone study was carried out in the region under the pretence of evaluating the potential for sea cucumber harvesting.
“While China funds postgraduate Sri Lankan students studying in their own nation, India offers scholarships to Sri Lankan students attending undergraduate programmes in India. It is clear that they [the Chinese] are attempting to win over Sri Lankan youngsters to back their long-term goals, the man stated.
There is no certainty that only Chinese saboteurs will enter Indian seas, according to Dr. Mittal, who is also the State Maritime Security Coordinator. The porous border along the southeast coast is open to entry by “anyone groomed by them to promote their objective… All coastal districts have received a warning from Tamil Nadu to activate their intelligence and step up security around the coastline, the official said.
Security organisations in Tamil Nadu claim that the Union government has to activate the Phase-III financing of the Coastal Security Scheme immediately. Funding and infrastructure assistance for the Coastal Security Group halted when Phase-II concluded in 2020.