The Russian training ship Perekop which is presently on a long-distance deployment docked at the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka. The government of Sri Lanka had earlier leased the strategic port of Hambantota to China for 99-year after falling prey to Chinese debt-trap.
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“The training ship Perekop accomplishing long-distance oceanic training deployment missions has made a business call at the Sri Lankan port of Hambantota,” the press office said in a statement.
The Perekop will stay at the Hambantota port for three days, during which its crew will replenish freshwater, fuel and food supplies and carry out the ship’s technical inspection. Also, the ship’s sailors will meet with Sri Lankan Navy sailors, go on an excursion and visit the city’s historical sites, the statement says.
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The Baltic Fleet’s training ship departed from Kronstadt on August 23. During its training deployment, the ship will sail across four oceans and along the Northern Sea Route, overcoming a total of over 20,000 nautical miles.
The Project 887 training ship Perekop was built at the Szczecin Shipyard in Poland in 1967. It features advanced radio-technical and navigation equipment and carries armament. The vessel Perekop can take up to 300 future navigators, mechanics and skippers on its board for training missions.
Hambantota, which sits on Sri Lanka’s southern coast, provides access to critical Indian Ocean sea lanes. The acquisition of the port by China has spurred alarm in India, which is concerned about Beijing’s growing strategic and economic footprint in the Indian Ocean region.
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Despite Sri Lankan assurances, Indian experts express concerns that Beijing could operationalize Hambantota as a resupply node for the People’s Liberation Army-Navy in the future.