COLOMBO, SRI LANKA: Sri Lanka aims to take “right” policy decisions during a “short window” to limit the effect of the economic crisis, said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday, as he praised India and Japan for establishing a foreign aid consortium. The seasoned leader, who took over as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the sixth time, also stated that he spoke with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and “expressed our country’s thanks for the help India has offered during this tough times.”
In a series of tweets, the 73-year-old leader also emphasised that the South Asian nation, which is in the grip of its worst-ever economic crisis, is hoping to speed up talks with the IMF (International Monetary Fund) and reach an agreement by mid-June to “find concrete solutions to problems we’re facing.”
“Assistance from India and Japan: I am happy for the favourable reaction from India and Japan to the suggestion made for the Quad members (the United States, India, Japan, and Australia) to take the lead in establishing a foreign aid consortium to assist Sri Lanka,” one of his posts stated. “Today, I spoke with India’s Finance Minister, @nsitharaman. I expressed our country’s gratitude for India’s assistance at this tough time. I look forward to further developing our nations’ connections (sic) “Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister stated in another post.
This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met and addressed Indo-Pacific problems aside from the Ukraine crisis and other global challenges during the Quad Leaders Summit.
Following the discussion between PM Modi and Kishida on the margins of the summit, India and Japan decided to collaborate on supporting crisis-hit Sri Lanka.
Sitharaman met with Sri Lankan High Commissioner Milinda Moragoda on Friday to examine the potential of boosting aid to the nation. “In this regard, the minister and the high commissioner discussed the prospect of boosting and restructuring India’s assistance in the form of credits for vital commodities and gasoline, as well as balance of payment support,” the Sri Lankan high commission said in a statement.
Giving the most recent information, Sri Lanka’s prime minister stated that his administration is concentrating on agricultural, private, and financial sector initiatives.
According to the news agency PTI, India has committed more than USD 3 billion to its debt-ridden neighbour since January. New Delhi handed out 25 tonnes of medical supplies valued over USD 700,000 on Friday.
Ranil Wickremesinghe is facing his most difficult task yet as he seeks to assist Sri Lanka recover from the recent surge of violence and protests, which was followed by a government transition. The Rajpaksas, the country’s most powerful political family, were accused for bringing the country to this point, which they blamed on a pandemic.
Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Prime Minister earlier this month. His brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa is still the president.