In an effort to show its willingness to go above and above the $4 billion in loans, swaps, and help that it has already given its cash-strapped neighbour, India’s top diplomat met with the president and prime minister of Sri Lanka on Thursday.
With a severe foreign exchange shortage impeding the purchase of necessities like food, fuel, and medications, Sri Lanka is experiencing its worst economic crisis in seven decades.
The island nation off the southern edge of India will require roughly $5 billion over the next six months to provide for its 22 million residents, who have been suffering from long lines for commodities, deteriorating shortages, and power outages.
According to a statement from the president’s office, Vinay Kwatra, the foreign secretary of India, met with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to discuss extending the nation’s financial aid.
The statement read, “India’s government will provide its fullest support to Sri Lanka in overcoming the current tough situation as a close friend. This is according to Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra.”
It said, “The Indian delegation stated that the political leadership and the government of India are committed to providing ongoing support to Sri Lanka.
An official from the prime minister’s office reported that the Indian team met separately with Wickremesinghe, the governor of the central bank, and representatives from the finance ministry.
According to Wickremesinghe, who spoke to parliament this week, India has provided more than $4 billion in foreign aid to Sri Lanka this year.
As Sri Lanka works to avert a food crisis, the neighbours are also in discussions for extra assistance, including a $500 million credit line for gasoline and help with importing fertiliser and rice, officials said.
As it continues discussions with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout package of roughly $3 billion, Wickremesinghe stated that Sri Lanka aims to attend a donor conference with China, India, and Japan.