Covid-19: PM Modi says India stands ready to extend support to Sri Lanka
Days after Colombo sought a $1.1 billion currency swap facility from New Delhi to boost foreign currency reserves amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Rajapaksa that India “stands ready to extend all possible support”.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa sought the currency swap facility, in addition to $400 million the country has sought from India under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) framework, during a telephone conversation with Modi on May 23.
Modi spoke on Wednesday with Mahinda Rajapaksa to congratulate him on completing 50 years since first entering Sri Lanka’s Parliament. He recalled Mahinda Rajapaska’s contributions to Sri Lanka’s development and wished him the best for his future.
“The leaders discussed the health and economic impact of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic and the measures being taken in the two countries to counter them. Prime Minister assured H.E. Rajapaksa that India stands ready to extend all possible support to Sri Lanka during this challenging time,” the external affairs ministry said in a readout.
Modi also conveyed his condolences at the sudden demise of Arumugan Thondaman, a prominent leader of Indian-origin Tamils in Sri Lanka, on Tuesday. He recalled Thondaman’s role in taking forward the development partnership between the two countries.
Sri Lanka has been battered by the pandemic, which has led to the complete drying up of revenues from tourism, one of the mainstays of the economy. China’s development bank provided a $500 million loan to Sri Lanka in March to bolster the country’s official reserves.