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'We stand ready to continue to help Sri Lanka': India

Source : Press Trust of India (PTI)

'We stand ready to continue to help Sri Lanka': India
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As Sri Lanka reels under a severe economic crisis that triggered a political upheaval, India on Thursday said it stands ready to continue assisting the island nation to recover from the difficulties in line with its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said India has been keenly following the evolving economic situation and other developments in Sri Lanka. He said India has extended assistance of about USD 2.5 billion in the past three months to Sri Lanka and it includes credit facilities for fuel and food.

“Since mid-March, over 270,000 metric tonnes of diesel and petrol have been delivered to Sri Lanka. In addition, around 40,000 tonnes of rice have been supplied under the recently extended USD 1 billion credit facility,” Mr Bagchi said at a media briefing.

“We have already conveyed to them on various occasions our readiness to extend whatever support we can and as has been demonstrated by our actions till now,” he said.

Sri Lanka witnessed massive street protests in the last few days view of the economic crisis and the public anger led almost all the cabinet ministers to quit the government.

There have been growing calls for resignation by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. However, he has rejected such demands so far.

Referring to India’s overall ties with Sri Lanka, he said the relationship is rooted in shared civilisational values and aspirations of the two peoples.

“Our cooperation, based on commonality and interests, has been strengthened in recent months. We see the recent developments in this perspective and stand ready to continue working with Sri Lanka for rapid post-COVID economic recovery in line with India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy,” Mr Bagchi said.

He said: “As a neighbour and close friend, India has been keenly following the evolving economic situation and other developments in Sri Lanka.” 

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