regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Economic crisis: Indian delegation meets Sri Lanka's leadership

A local official says country’s key need is to secure bridging finance until realisation of the IMF facility

PTI Colombo Published 24.06.22, 01:58 AM
Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Ranil Wickremesinghe. File photo

A four-member Indian delegation led by foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra on Thursday met Sri Lanka’s leadership, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and underlined that India is ready to help the nation’s quick economic recovery through promoting investments, connectivity and strengthening economic linkage.

The delegation first met Gotabaya, during which Kwatra told the President that India, as a close friend, will extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka in overcoming the difficult situation, the website reported.


The delegation includes secretary in the department of economic affairs of the finance ministry, Ajay Seth; chief economic adviser to the government of India Dr V. Anantha Nageswaran; and joint secretary of the Indian Ocean Region Kartik Pande.

The delegation reviewed the assistance already provided in terms of fuel, medicine, fertiliser and other essentials and said the Indian government was committed to support Sri Lanka, the report said.

The delegation also met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and discussed Sri Lanka’s economic situation.

In a tweet, external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said Kwatra, accompanied by Seth and Nageswaran, met President Gotabaya and “held productive discussions on the current situation in Sri Lanka and India’s ongoing support”.

During the meeting, the delegation underlined that India stands ready to help Sri Lanka in its quick economic recovery through promoting investments, connectivity and strengthening economic linkage, he said.

“Reiterated Sri Lanka’s centrality to India’s #NeighbourhoodFirst policy. Both sides reaffirmed commitment to development of India-Lanka ties,” Bagchi tweeted.

The Indian delegation’s trip coincides with a visit by an IMF (International Monetary Fund) delegation that is engaging Colombo for a proposed staff-level agreement that should eventuate with a possible bailout.

In another tweet, Bagchi said Kwatra along with Seth and Nageswaran called on Wickremesinghe and discussed Sri Lanka’s economic situation and highlighted India’s continuing support and assistance to the people of the island nation.

On Wednesday, Wickremesinghe had told Parliament that India had stretched its maximum thus far by providing $4 billion worth of emergency assistance since January when the economic crisis began to unfold.

He is banking on extended credit lines for further purchase of fuel, the Prime Minister said.

The nearly bankrupt country, facing an acute foreign currency crisis that resulted in foreign debt default, had announced in April that it was suspending nearly $7 billion foreign debt repayment due for this year out of about $25 billion due up to 2026. Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt stands at $51 billion.

The Indian credit lines since January have provided a lifeline to Sri Lanka amid growing public dissent over the worsening economic condition. Sri Lanka’s key need right now is to secure bridging finance until the realisation of the IMF facility, a local official said. India will continue to be a key partner in this endeavour, he added.

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