The Centre has called another all-party meeting to discuss the Sri Lanka crisis. The meeting will be chaired by the Minister of external affairs, Dr, S Jaishankar, and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the current crisis in Sri Lanka. The meeting will take place on July 19, said Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad.
External Affairs Ministry has earlier said that India will continue to stand with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values as well as established institutions and a constitutional framework. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that this year itself, India has expeditiously finalized and delivered assistance as well as support worth about 3.8 billion dollars to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka will go polls to elect a new president on Wednesday. Sri Lanka’s acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe and main opposition leader Sajith Premadasa are among four candidates who have joined the race to become the country’s next President.
Earlier last week, as a response to the flood of queries by the media to the MEA regarding the unrest in Sri Lanka. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi issues a public stamen stating that
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“India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbor, and our two countries share deep civilizational bonds.
We are aware of the many challenges that Sri Lanka and its people have been facing, and we have stood with the Sri Lankan people as they have tried to overcome this difficult period.
In pursuance of the central place that Sri Lanka occupies in our Neighbourhood First policy, India has extended this year itself unprecedented support of over US$ 3.8 billion for ameliorating the serious economic situation in Sri Lanka. We continue to follow closely the recent developments in Sri Lanka. India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and constitutional framework.”
Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour is India. The relationship between the two countries is 2500 years old. both sides have built upon a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious, and linguistic interaction. Under the “neighbourhood first policy” that India practices, it sent immediate financial, and humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka when the crisis broke out. India was one of the first countries to extend its helping hand to Sri Lanka amidst the crisis. India assured Sri Lanka that it will continue to support democracy, stability, and economic recovery in the country. Earlier, India had expeditiously finalized and delivered assistance as well as support worth about $3.8 billion in 2022. According to reports, India’s assistance has been in the form of currency swaps, deferment of repayment of Sri Lanka’s liabilities to the Reserve Bank of India under the Asian Clearing Union mechanism, credit assistance of more than USD 1.5 billion for fuel, food, medicines, fertilizers, and other essential commodities.
Sri Lanka Crisis so far?
The President fled the country last week after announcing his resignation. He will remain the President until a new one is elected.
The process of electing the new President began on Saturday last week. The new president will be announced on 20th July and will serve till rest of Rajapaksa’s term until November 2024.
The protest movement in Sri Lanka entered its 100th day on Sunday. Thousands of Sri Lankans stormed the official building and the President’s estate. The protesters broke into the President’s palace following the announcement regarding the country’s bankruptcy. A chaotic scene emerged from the palace as photos and videos were posted on social media showing Sri Lankans enjoying the luxuries of the president and PM’s estate. People recorded themselves lounging on the furniture, swimming in pools, and even so, working out in the home gym.
Protestors who broke into the estate insisted that they will occupy the building until President Rajapaksa and other government officials had left for good. The luxuries people witnessed for the first time at the estate stand in sharp contrast to the strained economic conditions the nation is currently suffering from due to the government’s economic mismanagement. It was only because of the President’s poor administration, economic mismanagement, and corruption that, Sri Lanka’s 22 million citizens have been forced to deal with food, fuel, and medical shortages.
An editor working for the Himal South Asian magazine who has been reporting on the unrest in Sri Lanka said, “Seeing the sheer number of people at the presidential secretariat, it was just completely unreal for me.” He further said, “I haven’t seen this many people congregating in one place and showing dissent, united in that common goal against the current government, and the president, and the PM. That is something that I have never seen.”
Sri Lanka needs about $5 billion in the next six months to cover basic necessities for its 22 million people, who have been facing long queues, worsening shortages, and power cuts. The island nation’s inflation topped 50 percent in June.