Colombo: Sri Lanka has asked for $800 million more from India to battle its worst economic crisis and New Delhi has responded that it will give the request “due consideration”, a newspaper here reported on Friday.
“Sri Lanka (Thursday) made a compelling case for more Indian support … though the response from the giant neighbor wasn’t overenthusiastic but (it said it) will be given due consideration,” the Daily FT reported, without revealing its source of information.
A high-powered Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Foreign Secretary Aruni Wijewardena here on Thursday.
Wickremesinghe on Wednesday told Parliament that India’s recent assistance was $4 billion but the Indian High Commission put it as over $3.5 billion.
“Daily FT learns that multiple-crisis-hit Sri Lanka is seeking around $800 million more ($500 million for fuel and $300 million for other essential goods) from India.”
However, the Media Office of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the Indian government will extend its fullest support in overcoming the current difficult situation “as a close friend”.
It quoted the Indian Foreign Secretary as giving this assurance to the President.
Sri Lanka has received essential food items, fuel, medicines, and fertilizers under the Indian credit line facility. The Indian delegation said New Delhi was committed to providing continued support to Sri Lanka.
Both parties discussed at length the future course of action of the Indian aid program to stabilize and revive the Sri Lankan economy. The delegation expressed confidence that the country would recover soon overcoming existing challenges.
After the meeting, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe tweeted that he looks forward to stronger bilateral ties with India.
The Indian High Commission said the meetings with Rajapaksa and Wickremasinghe and the talks between the two sides were held in a “frank, cordial and constructive manner”.
Both sides highlighted the importance of promoting the India-Sri Lanka investment partnership including in the fields of infrastructure, connectivity, and renewable energy and deepening economic linkages between the two countries.
Development assistance extended by India stands at over $5 billion with over $600 million being in grants, which include the Sri Lanka Unique Digital Identity Project. India continues to be the largest source of tourism for Sri Lanka.