Fully supportive of Lanka’s democracy and stability: India

Published on May 11, 2022 02:54 AM IST

“India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

Ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.(ANI file photo)
Ministry of external affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.(ANI file photo)

India on Tuesday said it is “fully supportive” of Sri Lanka’s democracy, stability and economic recovery, adding that it had historical ties with the nation, a day after the island’s prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa reigned amid deadly protests over the its financial crisis.

“India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

“As a close neighbour of Sri Lanka, with historical ties, India is fully supportive of its democracy, stability and economic recovery,” he added.

Sri Lanka’s armed forces have been ordered to shoot at any “person damaging public property or threatening lives”. The island nation has been hit by violence that has left at least eight people dead and 200 injured amid its worst economic crisis in history.

“In keeping with our Neighbourhood First policy, India has extended this year alone support worth over US$ 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka for helping them overcome their current difficulties,” the external affairs ministry said.

“In addition, the people of India have provided assistance for mitigating the shortages of essential items such as food, medicine etc.”

Angry protesters have clashed with police and resorted to violence in Colombo and some other places. The ancestral home of the Rajapaksa family in Hambantota was set on fire by a group of anti-government protesters on Monday.

Sri Lanka’s energy crisis, especially the shortage of fuel and cooking gas, is one of the most worrying aspects of the economic crisis. Diesel-fired power plants account for almost a third of the country’s electricity generation. There are also reports of a shortage of cooking gas across the country.

Sri Lanka sought India’s help in garnering international support to bridge financing as it enters negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout programme. India later urged IMF to urgently provide financial assistance to Sri Lanka to help the island nation.

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