India always stood by Sri Lanka, no refugee crisis right now: Jaishankar

In line with its "neighbourhood first" policy, the country has been highly active to help Sri Lanka during its economic crisis


Published: Sun 10 Jul 2022, 12:15 PM

Last updated: Sun 10 Jul 2022, 2:27 PM

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said that India has been providing assistance to Sri Lanka and is monitoring the developments in the island nation adding that there is no refugee crisis now.

"We have been supportive of Sri Lanka, are trying to help, and have always been helpful. They are working through their problem, we will see what happens. There is no refugee crisis right now, said Jaishankar upon his arrival in Kerala as part of intensifying the BJP's efforts to make gains in South India.

His remarks particularly hold more importance as Sri Lanka faces an unprecedented political and economic crisis.

"India has delivered aid of around 3.5 billion dollars which has been given through currency swap, financing of food, and fuel. medicines and fertilisers," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said earlier.

Responding to a question on India-Sri Lanka ties, he said "We have responded with urgency to government of Sri Lanka's request for assistance for overcoming hardships," adding that "India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka and works in their best interest."

Underlining the fact that India has been giving priority to 'neighbourhood first policy', Arindam Bagchi said, "India will try to enhance economic linkages between the two countries be it through infrastructure connectivity and renewable energy."

In line with its "neighbourhood first" policy, India has been highly active to help Sri Lanka during its economic crisis.

More than 25 tons of drugs and medical supplies which were donated by the Government and people of India during the last two months are valued at close to SLR 370 million. This is in addition to the economic assistance of around USD 3.5 billion and supply of other humanitarian supplies such as rice, milk powder, kerosene.

These humanitarian supplies are in continuation of the Government of India's ongoing support to the people of Sri Lanka in multiple forms such as financial assistance, forex support, material supply and many more. These efforts prove that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Neighborhood First' policy which places people-to-people engagement is still active.

India is becoming a stronger and more mutually beneficial partner to Sri Lanka. Apart from assistance during the pandemic and fertilizer chaos, India is also donating basic products to the island nation.

Sri Lanka has been suffering a diesel shortage since February, which led to hours of daily power cuts. Presently, Sri Lanka is struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbours.

The recession is attributed to foreign exchange shortages caused by a clampdown on tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is unable to buy sufficient fuel and gas, while the people are being deprived of basic amenities as well.

Meanwhile, several dramatic videos have been doing the rounds on social media after Saturday's upheaval where thousands of protesters stormed his official residence in the capital of Colombo, forcing him to flee to an unknown location.

With the demand for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's resignation, they stormed into the President's house, tore down security cordons placed by police, took a dip in the swimming pool and romped through his kitchen and home.


Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Shavendra Silva urged all citizens to give their support to the armed forces and the police in order to maintain peace in the country, as per the media portal. He made these remarks in a special statement accompanied by Tri Force Commanders.

Meanwhile, Sri Lankan Minister of Tourism and Lands Harin Fernando and Minister of Labour and Foreign Employment Manusha Nanayakkara said they have decided to step down from their ministerial portfolios with immediate effect.

Sri Lankan protesters also broke into Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's private residence and set it on fire, angered by the unprecedented economic crisis.

Several journalists were also attacked by the security forces after which more protestors gathered in the area, Daily Mirror reported.

Police resorted to water cannons to stop the enraged protestors. The police also fired tear gas at the protesters but despite that, they entered PM's house and set the house on fire.

Meanwhile, Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) fire brigade said they were informed that the Prime Minister's private residence in Colombo was set on fire and its teams were unable to reach the location due to the unrest, according to Daily Mirror.

Wickremesinghe, who was appointed as Prime Minister in May, has announced that he will resign from his post in order to ensure the continuation of the government and the safety of all the citizens.

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also agreed to step down from his post on Wednesday.

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