Sri Lanka thanks India for stabilising economy with generous support

During his maiden visit to Sri Lanka after the formation of a new government six months in the island country Jaishankar emphaized on the importance of ‘neigbourhood first’ policy of India as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 

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By: Urvashi Khona
Updated: 21 January, 2023 4:03 pm IST
EAM Jaishankar with his Sri Lankan counterpart Ali Sabry.

Financial support amounting to four billion dollar worth of credit line provided by India for the import of essential Goods during the worst phase of the crisis helped Sri Lanka regain some measure of economic stability, said Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry.

“It is no exaggeration to say that, it was for the most part due to the enormous support amounting to US dollars four billion worth of credit line provided by India for the import of essential Goods as well as other in-kind humanitarian assistance that we were able to regain some measure of Economic and financial stability,” Sabry said during External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s two-day visit to Colombo.

During his maiden visit to Sri Lanka after the formation of a new government six months in the island country Jaishankar emphaized on the importance of ‘neigbourhood first’ policy of India as envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“My primary purpose of coming to Colombo at this time is to express India’s solidarity with Sri Lanka during these difficult moments. For us, it was an issue of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and not leaving a partner to fend for themselves,” he said in a press statement in the presence of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Jaishankar, in his two-day official visit, met Sri Lanka’s top leadership, including President Ranil Wickremesinghe, counterpart Ali Sabry and former presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as well as the opposition leader Sajith Premadasa.

India extended financing assurances to the IMF to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move forward. “We felt strongly that Sri Lanka’s creditors must take proactive steps to facilitate its recovery. India decided not to wait on others but to do what we believe is right. We extended financing assurances. Our expectation is that this will not only strengthen Sri Lanka’s position but ensure that all bilateral creditors are dealt with equally.” Jaishankar added.

Sabry extended his gratitude saying, “On behalf of President Wickremesinghe and the government and the people of Sri Lanka I convey a profound gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Indian government, to you Dr Jai Shankar and the people of India.”

He said India was the first country to officially back the Sri Lankan government’s debt restructuring program by conveying Financial assurances to the International Monetary Fund. “At such a crucial moment we needed timely assurances from our creditors once again India has extended its hand in support of the first country to officially back our debt restructuring program by conveying Financial assurances to the International Monetary Fund. Jaishankar, we are profoundly grateful to India for once again demonstrating your confidence in and solidarity with Sri Lanka in the areas of bilateral cooperation,” he said.

Jaishankar concluded his two-day trip to the crisis-hit country Sri Lanka where the focus was debt restructuring talks. He met all Sri Lanka’s top leadership and assured them of India’s commitment to increase investment flows to hasten the debt-ridden island nation’s economic recovery.
Since last year, India has extended about US $ 4 billion in terms of credits and rollovers to help Sri Lanka to get through an economic crisis.

The EAM also stressed the need to pay special attention to the requirements of the Indian-origin Tamil community. Jaishankar said full implementation of the 13th amendment in the island country is critical for achieving reconciliation with the minority Tamil community.

The 13th Amendment provides for the devolution of power to the minority Tamil community which India has been pressing Sri Lanka to implement. This amendment was brought in after the Indo-Sri Lankan agreement of 1987.

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