Colombo: India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. S. Jaishankar called on President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat a short while ago.
Issuing a joint statement with his Sri Lankan counterpart Min
ister Ali Sabry following the meeting, Jaishankar said all bilateral creditors of Sri Lanka must take proactive steps to facilitate its recovery.
“India decided not to wait on others but to do what we believe is right. We extended financing assurances to the IMF to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move forward.”
India expects that this will not only strengthen Sri Lanka’s position but ensure that all bilateral creditors are dealt with equally, Jaishankar added.
He has handed over a letter from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inviting President Wickremesinghe to visit India at the earliest possible to discuss how the partnership with India can facilitate the island’s economic recovery.
Jaishankar also requested President Wickremesinghe to pay special attention to the requirements Sri Lankan Tamil community of Indian origin.
He reiterated that “India is a reliable neighbour [of Sri Lanka], a trustworthy partner, one who is prepared to go the extra mile when Sri Lanka feels the need.”
Emphasizing that his visit to Sri Lanka is a statement about Prime Minister Modi’s commitment to the ‘neighbourhood first’ policy, Jaishankar said India would continue to stand by Sri Lanka in this hour of need.