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India ‘contemplating additional help’ to Sri Lanka

India, on Thursday, assured Sri Lanka of its full help to assist the island tide over its unprecedented financial disaster whereas “contemplating additional monetary help”, stated the Sri Lankan President’s workplace stated on Thursday.

A delegation from New Delhi, led by International Secretary Vinay Kwatra, which included Secretary, Division of Financial Affairs, Ajay Seth; Chief Financial Advisor, V Anantha Nageswaran; and Joint Secretary to the Indian Ocean Area Division on the Ministry of Exterior Affairs, Kartik Pande, visited Colombo on Thursday. Throughout the go to, spanning barely half a day, the Indian officers met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and held discussions on New Delhi’s ongoing help, of over $3.5 billion since January 2022, to the island nation.

Indian help thus far has been prolonged by means of forex swaps, mortgage deferments and credit score traces for important imports. Colombo has sought an extra $500 million from New Delhi to import gasoline and is awaiting a response, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe just lately instructed The Hindu just lately.

The Sri Lankan authorities is at present holding talks with a visiting delegation of the Worldwide Financial Fund on a debt restructure programme, however can also be urgently on the lookout for bridging finance to deal with the acute shortages of necessities which have left residents struggling.

“Sri Lanka has already acquired important meals objects, gasoline, drugs and fertilizer beneath the Indian credit score line facility… The Indian delegation acknowledged that the Authorities of India and the political authorities are dedicated to offering continued help to Sri Lanka,” stated President Gotabaya’s workplace stated in an announcement.

“Each events mentioned on the longer term plan of action of the Indian assist programme to stabilise and revive the Sri Lankan financial system at size,” it additional stated, including that the Indian delegation arrived within the island “to think about additional monetary help” to Sri Lanka.

A press release from the Indian Excessive Fee stated: “Either side highlighted the significance of selling India-Sri Lanka funding partnership, together with within the fields of infrastructure, connectivity, renewable vitality, and deepening financial linkages between the 2 nations.”

From the start of this 12 months, India has signed key bilateral agreements with Sri Lanka, to collectively develop the Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm and arrange (by means of the Nationwide Thermal Energy Company) a solar energy plant in Sampur. Each are situated within the Japanese Province. Within the renewable vitality sector, India’s Adani Group signed an settlement to execute initiatives in Mannar and Pooneryn within the Northern Province, sparking an issue over its entry into the island’s vitality sector, outdoors of any identified aggressive bidding course of. Colombo has defended the $ 500 million deal.

Enhanced connectivity between the neighbours has additionally come beneath sharp focus. Earlier this week, Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, stated Sri Lanka will resume flights from the northern Jaffna peninsula to India subsequent month, in a transfer that Colombo hopes would help the nation’s tourism sector, and assist reviving the island’s crisis-hit financial system.

Meera Srinivasan is The Hindu’s correspondent in Colombo

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June 23, 2022

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