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Colombo, July 9 – India has assured Sri Lanka that it will play a constructive role as a Co-Chair of the Creditors Committee along with Japan and the Paris Club.
The assurance came from Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Colombo Vinod K. Jacob. He also said that India was the first creditor nation in January this year to convey the financing assurances needed to kick-start the IMF process.
Following Sri Lanka’s request for debt treatment, in May, 17 countries formally formed an official creditor committee which is co-chaired by India, Japan and France.
“India’s financial and humanitarian support worth $4 billion is far in excess of the total anticipated Extended Fund Facility of the IMF,” the Deputy High Commissioner said while participating at the inauguration of the Construction, Power and Energy Expo 2023 in Colombo in which nearly 50 Indian companies participated.
During his speech, the Deputy High Commissioner said that the past three years have demonstrated the close links between the people of India and Sri Lanka. “In line with the ‘Neighborhood First’ policy of the Government of India, the Indian High Commission has steadfastly supported the economic and social ministries of Sri Lanka as they navigated the challenges of the Covid pandemic, the economic crisis and the political upheavals during this period,” he said.
The “successful” visit of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to Sri Lanka in January this year opened up avenues for further cooperation through investment in infrastructure, manufacturing and promoting connectivity. India was Sri Lanka’s largest trading partner in 2022.
Sri Lanka’s exports to India have also grown. Use of Rupees for trade settlement is further helping Sri Lanka’s economy. These are concrete steps to help Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and growth, Deputy High Commissioner stated.
“I am glad to note that India was once again the largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka last year with over 100,000 tourists and is continuing to top the chart so to say this year as well. Around one in every five to six tourists in Sri Lanka is an Indian,” he said.
He further said that the resumption of Chennai-Jaffna flights is yet another step in bringing the people of the two countries closer while ferry services between the two countries would bolster this further. Connectivity is a force multiplier in this context.
“Recent developments in India-Sri Lanka ties have strengthened our friendship and all-round cooperation. At the same time, the two countries also remain vigilant to address common challenges, especially in the maritime security domain,” Deputy High Commissioner noted.
Referring to the ongoing financial crisis the South Indian island nation going through, Mr. Jacob said that the business circles and the Government of India have resolved to strongly stand by Sri Lanka at the current juncture.