Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar assured that India will extend financing assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move forward to recover from the economic crisis and had decided not to wait on others, but to do what is right.
He also said that India expects that this measure will not only strengthen Sri Lanka’s position but ensure that all bilateral creditors are dealt with equally.
He said further that India is confident that Sri Lanka will overcome its current economic challenges and will stand by Sri Lanka during this period as a trustworthy partner.
He made these observations during a joint press conference held at the Presidential Secretariat today (20) with the Participation of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Ali Sabry, to express India’s solidarity with Sri Lanka at this difficult moment.
He also said that Indian Prime Minister HE Narendra Modi invited President Ranil Wickremesinghe to visit India at an early date to discuss how the partnership between the two countries can facilitate Sri Lanka’s strong recovery and handed over an invitation to the President.
He added that India is a reliable neighbour and a trustworthy partner and is prepared to go the extra mile to assist Sri Lanka to meet its obligations. His presence in Sri Lanka is also a statement about Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to the neighbourhood first policy.
He further said that India encourages greater investments in the Sri Lankan economy, especially in core areas such as energy, tourism and infrastructure to assist in its speedy recovery.
He said that Sri Lanka has enormous renewable energy potential that can become a sustainable source of revenue and Trincomalee can emerge as an energy hub. In its support for Sri Lanka, India is prepared to be a reliable partner in such initiatives. He added that the two countries agreed on a renewable energy framework that would take this cooperation forward.
He further said that Sri Lanka should provide a more business-friendly environment to create a powerful pull factor. “I’m confident that the gravity of the situation is realized by policymakers. So energy security is today one of Sri Lanka’s most serious challenges. A search for solutions must necessarily encompass the larger region. Only then will Sri Lanka get the full benefit of scale,” Dr S. Jaishankar said.
He further said tourism is the lifeblood of the Sri Lankan economy and Indian tourists are expressing their positive sentiments to visit Sri Lanka. He added that there are many more steps the two countries can take to make the tourism industry sustainable. Strengthening connectivity and promoting travel is therefore a very high priority for both countries.
He said that the primary purpose of his visit to Colombo was to express India’s solidarity with Sri Lanka during these difficult moments. He added that last year India extended about USD 4 billion in terms of credits and rollovers to help Sri Lanka get through the economic crisis as it for India, was an issue of the neighbourhood first and not leaving a partner to fend for themselves.
He said that with the same sentiment, India feels strongly that Sri Lanka’s creditors must take proactive steps to facilitate its recovery this year. “India decided not to wait on others, but to do what we believe is right. We extended financing assurances to the IMF to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move forward. We expect that this will not only strengthen Sri Lanka’s position but ensure that all bilateral creditors are dealt with equally.”
He said that India has always supported both the political and economic stability of Sri Lanka. “The President briefed me on the question of political devolution and his thinking. I shared with him our considered view that the full implementation of the 13th Amendment and early conduct for provincial elections are critical in this regard.
He said that durable efforts towards reconciliation are in the interests of all sections in Sri Lanka. I also spoke of the need to pay special attention to the requirements of the Indian-origin Tamil community.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry recalled India’s significant assistance to Sri Lanka last year when it was going through the most serious economic crisis ever experienced. On behalf of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, he extended gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the Indian Government for the support of a US$ 4 billion credit line provided for the import of essential goods as well as other in-kind humanitarian assistance which enabled Sri Lanka to regain some measure of economic and financial stability.
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said that Sri Lanka is at a decisive juncture in discussions with the assurances to the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) to reinvigorate the country’s economy with the assistance of the IMF. As a creditor, once again, India has extended its support to officially back Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring program by conveying financial assurances to the IMF.
He said further that India would soon be or perhaps already is one of the largest and fastest-growing economies. Sri Lanka is watching India’s economic success and international prestige with great admiration.
He further added that India’s growth will be beneficial to the region as well as to Sri Lanka. For its part, Sri Lanka is confident it would recover from the current crisis with the goodwill and partnership of India for mutual benefit.