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‘Serious Matter’: Jaishankar As India Commits Billions in Support of Sri Lanka

The MEA’s comments come after thousands of protesters stormed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s residence on 9 July.

Updated
India
3 min read
‘Serious Matter’: Jaishankar As India Commits Billions in Support of Sri Lanka
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Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Sunday, 10 July, called the economic crisis in Sri Lanka is a “serious” matter and said that India has committed $3.8 billion as support to Sri Lanka during the island nation’s ongoing economic crisis.

“This year alone, we have committed around 3.8 billion (US) dollars to them in terms of supporting them. We have been their biggest supporter. It is one of the reasons why they have been able to prevent the situation from becoming worse,” the minister said in response to queries by reporters at a press conference.

The MEA’s comments come after thousands of protesters stormed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence on the weekend and set Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private house on fire, following months of agitation over the economic crisis.

Jaishankar mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s neighbourhood-first policy where the government makes special effort to try and support neighbouring countries.

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“In case of Sri Lanka, we have given them a line of credit which has kept essential commodities flowing to them from India over the last several months. We also gave them a line of credit for purchase of fuel. At the moment, our focus is on helping them recover," S Jaishankar said.

Adding that the Sri Lankan people have appreciated efforts from India, Jaishankar said that there were no security concerns the political unrest in Sri Lanka.

“The answers to Sri Lanka’s problems are in Sri Lanka itself,” he added.

'No Refugee Crisis'

The Union minister also said there was no refugee crisis as of now. “I do not think we can call it a crisis. Occasionally, some people have come from there, but right now I do not think there is any justification for calling it a refugee crisis,” he said.

On Sunday, Jaishankar called the crisis a “serious” matter and highlighted measures India is undertaking to extend support to the island nation.

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“The Sri Lankan crisis is a serious matter. It is something which has been built over a period of time. Prime Minister Modi has a policy called ‘Neighbourhood First.’ We try and support our neighbours in a way which meets their requirements,” the MEA said, addressing media persons in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram.

Jaishankar also emphasised that managing finances is a bigger issue and India’s focus is on helping Sri Lanka.

“There is a bigger issue about how you manage your finances…About how you have a prudent fiscal policy. There are issues pertaining to the management of the economy. Our focus is on helping them,” Jaishankar said.

Jaishankar also fielded queries on purchase of oil from Russia and how it was viewed by the West, the fate of Indian students who had returned from China during the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the gold smuggling through diplomatic bags case and the alleged involvement of the UAE consulate.

India High Commission Dismisses Reports on Sending Troops to Sri Lanka

The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka on Sunday dismissed all speculations around media reports which suggest New Delhi sending troops to Colombo following public unrest.

"The High Commission would like to categorically deny speculative reports in sections of media and social media about India sending her troops to Sri Lanka. These reports and such views are also not in keeping with the position of the Government of India," the Indian High Commission said in an official statement.

India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realise their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and a constitutional framework, the MEA spokesperson said.

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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