Friday, August 19, 2022
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India focuses on helping Sri Lanka economically: Minister Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar recently reiterated that the situation in Sri Lanka is very sensitive and New Delhi is focusing on ways it can help Colombo economically at this time of need.

Addressing a press briefing in Kerala, Jaishankar said, “The situation in Sri Lanka is very sensitive and complicated. Even as we speak there are developments taking place.

The Indian government’s commitment is to support the Sri Lankan people because they are our neighbours.

Sri Lankans are friendly people. India wants to help them as they are going through a very difficult phase.

Indian government wants to help because of this feeling of friendship, he said adding that thery have been extremely supportive of the island nation in the last few months.”

“India’s focus is on Sri Lanka’s economic situation and how it can help them. We are not involved in the other matters.

Only focused on economic aspects of the issue and we are not concerned about other factors. We can not respond to everything that comes on social media,” the Minister added.

Under the ‘neighbourhood first policy’, India has responded with urgency to the government of Sri Lanka’s request for assistance for overcoming hardships and will enhance economic linkages between the two countries be it through infrastructure connectivity and renewable energy.

“India has delivered aid of around 3.5 billion dollars which has been given through currency swap, financing of food, and fuel. medicines and fertilisers,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said earlier.

In line with its “neighbourhood first” policy, India has been highly active to help Sri Lanka during its economic crisis.

More than 25 tons of drugs and medical supplies which were donated by the Government and people of India during the last two months are valued at close to Rs 370 million.

This is in addition to the economic assistance of around US$ 3.5 billion and supply of other humanitarian supplies such as rice, milk powder, kerosene.

These humanitarian supplies are in continuation of the Government of India’s ongoing support to the people of Sri Lanka in multiple forms such as financial assistance, forex support, material supply and many more.

These efforts prove that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Neighborhood First’ policy which places people-to-people engagement is still active.

India is becoming a stronger and more mutually beneficial partner to Sri Lanka. Apart from assistance during the pandemic and fertilizer chaos, India is also donating basic products to the island nation.

Sri Lanka has been suffering a diesel shortage since February, which led to hours of daily power cuts. Presently, Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours.

The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a clampdown on tourism during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country is unable to buy sufficient fuel and gas, while the people are being deprived of basic amenities as well, he claimed.

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