Sri Lanka crisis: Oppn leader Sajith Premadasa appeals to PM Modi to ‘keep helping regardless of…’

Published on Jul 19, 2022 09:23 PM IST

Premadasa’s appeal comes shortly after the Modi government held an all-party meeting to discuss the Lanka crisis earlier in the day.

Demonstrators shout slogans against interim Sri Lanka's President Ranil Wickremesinghe during a protest in front of the Fort railway station in Colombo on July 19, 2022. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP)(AFP)
Demonstrators shout slogans against interim Sri Lanka's President Ranil Wickremesinghe during a protest in front of the Fort railway station in Colombo on July 19, 2022. (Photo by Arun SANKAR / AFP)(AFP)
Written by Ishika Yadav | Edited by Sohini Goswami

Sri Lanka’s opposition leader Sajith Premadasa made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ‘all political parties of India’ on Tuesday for providing continued help to the crisis-hit island nation ‘regardless of who becomes the President (of Sri Lanka) tomorrow.’

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Taking to Twitter, Premadasa wrote, “Irrespective of who becomes the President of Sri Lanka tomorrow, it is my humble and earnest request to Hon. PM Shri Narendra Modi, to all the political parties of India and to the people of India to keep helping mother Lanka and its people to come out of this disaster (sic).” He tagged Modi in the post.

The country, currently facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, is unable to pay for essential imports such as fuel and medicine due to a severe shortage of foreign exchange.

Premadasa’s appeal comes shortly after the Modi government held an all-party meeting to discuss the Lanka crisis earlier in the day. Sri Lanka is facing "a very serious crisis" and India, being a close neighbour, is naturally worried, external affairs minister S Jaishankar said at the meeting.

"It is a matter which pertains to a very close neighbour and given the proximity, we naturally worry about the consequences, the spillover it has for us," he added.

Sri Lankans have been suffering under and protesting against the skyrocketing inflation, severe power cuts, and food shortages for months now. The country has run short of money to pay for the import of basic necessities for its 22 million people. Economic hardships led to protests and political upheaval, first forcing Mahinda Rajapaksa (ex prime minister) and the cabinet to resign and then Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president.

India has delivered assistance as well as support worth about $3.8 billion to help Sri Lanka deal with the current crisis, news agency ANI reported. The assistance has been in the form of currency swaps and deferment of repayment of Sri Lanka's liabilities to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

India has also helped Sri Lanka with thousands of tonnes of diesel and petrol, apart from food and medical supplies.

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