NEW DELHI: Sri Lanka has sought India’s assistance in garnering international support to secure bridging finance as it negotiates a bailout package with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to mitigate the island nation’s worsening economic crisis, its embassy said.
The issue of securing bridging finance as well as the IMF economic packet came up during a meeting of Sri Lankan envoy Milinda Moragoda with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman here on Wednesday.
“High Commissioner Moragoda and Minister Sitharaman discussed how India could assist Sri Lanka in garnering international support to secure bridging finance and for the economic adjustment programme itself, through both bilateral and multilateral partners,” reads a statement issued by the Sri Lankan high commission.
During the meeting, High Commissioner Moragoda thanked the finance minister for the assistance India is extending to Sri Lanka in the form of credits for essential commodities and fuel, and also for balance of payment support extended at a time when the Rajapaksha government is facing massive protests triggered by the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities.
The Sri Lankan envoy also requested the minister to review the present status of India-Sri Lanka economic cooperation, the statement said.
A Sri Lankan ministerial delegation led by Finance Minister Ali Sabry is all set to meet an Indian delegation on the sidelines of IMF spring meetings in Washington DC, the mission said.
India extended financial assistance of USD 2.4 billion to the crisis-hit island nation in various forms.
Moragoda and Sitharaman also explored the possibility of enhancing and restructuring some of the assistance already provided by India in the form of credits for essential commodities and fuel.
They observed that “this assistance could form part of the bridging finance required by Sri Lanka until the economic adjustment programme with the IMF would be negotiated”, the statement reads.
In the meeting, Sitharaman and Moragoda expressed satisfaction over the ongoing official-level discussions between Sri Lanka and India to establish a cooperation framework and to monitor the progress of economic activities between the two countries.
Finance Minister Sitharaman expressed her concern over the worst economic crisis Sri Lanka facing and committed India’s position to overcome its challenges.