India has been at the forefront of partnering with Sri Lanka in helping it come out of the economic crisis as soon as possible, Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said on Friday. The island nation is facing the worst economic crisis in decades that has led to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, and fuel across the country.
“I think India has been at the forefront of partnering with Sri Lanka to ensure that the country essentially gets back to its feet as early as possible,” the foreign secretary said at a media briefing. His comments came a day after he visited Sri Lanka and assured it that New Delhi stands ready to help the island nation’s quick economic recovery through promoting investments, connectivity, and strengthening economic linkage. Kwatra said India has also conveyed to a number of its partner countries that the economic situation in Sri Lanka is a matter that needs to be addressed seriously.
The foreign secretary said India assisted Sri Lanka as a “true first responder” to the crisis in the neighborhood and that the island nation is a central part of New Delhi’s “Neighbourhood First Policy”. He said peace and prosperity, and stability in Sri Lanka are principal drivers of India’s approach to the country.
“With those aspects in mind, we have been at the absolute forefront of going and assisting Sri Lanka in this hour of need. We have flagged this to other partners also and we hope that those partners would take a more serious look at how they would want to approach Sri Lanka in days, weeks, and months ahead,” he said. Since the beginning of this year, India provided roughly around USD 3.5 billion worth of financial assistance essentially under four brackets that included currency swap under the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) arrangements, USD one billion Line of Credit for the trading arrangements, and a rollover of Asian Clearing Union’s settlement of dues, he said.
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