Sri Lanka has said a Chinese state-operated research and survey ship will only visit the country to refuel as tensions in the region rise.

India had expressed concern about the voyage of the 11,000-dwt Yuan Wang 5 (built 2007) to the port of Hambantota, a $1.5bn Chinese-built facility that India worries could be used as a military base.

“It is coming to refuel and not for any other purpose,” cabinet spokesman Bandula Gunawardana told reporters, adding that the country’s foreign minister had briefed Sri Lanka’s new President Ranil Wickremesinghe on the matter.