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India said on Thursday it was aware of reports about a Chinese vessel's planned visit to Sri Lanka's Hambantota port, built with money from Beijing, even as New Delhi tries to expand its influence in its southern neighbour facing an economic crisis.

"The government carefully monitors any developments having a bearing on India's security and economic interests, and takes all necessary measures to safeguard them," India's foreign ministry spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, told a weekly media briefing.

"I think that should be a clear message."

He did not say what measures India was taking and to whom the message was being sent. Officials from China and Sri Lanka could not immediately be reached for comment.

Sri Lankan consulting firm, the Belt & Road Initiative Sri Lanka, recently said on its website that the Chinese scientific research vessel "Yuan Wang 5" would enter the Hambantota port on Aug. 11 for a week.

"The vessel will conduct space tracking, satellite control and research tracking in the north-western part of the Indian Ocean region through August and September," it said https://brisl.org/chinas-major-scientific-research-vessel-in-hambantota-port, without citing a source. 

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