India, under its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, has always come forward to help debt-ridden Sri Lanka, and in the latest instance, New Delhi distributed the ration in Kalmunai, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.
Taking to Twitter, the High Commission of India in Colombo said, “Support by @IndiainSL to needy sections continues!! Glimpses of ration distribution in Kalmunai.” The island-nation plunged into a financial crisis after the Covid-19 pandemic affected tourism, which is considered the country’s economic backbone, and remittances from citizens working abroad fell. The war in Ukraine escalated the crisis as prices for imports, particularly fuel, rose sharply due to soaring inflation. And in such a situation, India offered its help to the debt-ridden country.
Recently, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry was on an official visit to New Delhi to attend Raisina Dialogue, 2023, India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geo-economics which was jointly hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs of India from March 2-4.
During the Raisina Dialogue, Sabry in ‘Ideas Pod,’ said India helped Sri Lanka more than any other country, especially when the island-nation was struggling to come out of an unprecedented crisis.
While the Indian government took some bold decisions to help the country tide over its economic crisis, even the Indian public came forward to support Sri Lanka, the country’s foreign minister said in the podcast.
Sabry said, “Your real friends are tested when bad time comes. India has stood by us, a friend in need and a friend indeed that they say. So we are very grateful to India, for what it has done for us.”
The Sri Lankan Foreign minister also stated that the Indian government took some very bold, decisive actions by providing the island nation with about 3.9 billion worth of bilateral credit and accreditation. He further stated that it is the line of credit from New Delhi that gave Sri Lanka the lifeline to fight the battle for another day.
Recalling India’s effort in saving Sri Lanka from drowning in debt, Sabry said India comes at the very beginning, adding that India’s intervention was higher than the others countries.
India sent financing assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), becoming the first of Sri Lanka’s creditors to officially back the crisis-hit island nation’s debt restructuring programme.
“This takes Sri Lanka one step closer to getting a crucial USD 2.9-billion package from the IMF, made contingent on “receiving financing assurances from Sri Lanka’s official creditors and making a good faith effort to reach a collaborative agreement with private creditors,” Sabry said.
Notably, China, Japan, and India are Sri Lanka’s three largest bilateral lenders.