The Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India clearly stated today that India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realise their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and a constitutional framework.
India stands with people of Sri Lanka: MEA on dramatic political developments in Colombo
‘India trying to help, no refugee crisis yet’: EAM Jaishankar as violent protests rock Sri Lanka
Despite President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreeing to resign, protesters continue to occupy Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence.
Responding to the situation in Sri Lanka, the MEA Spokesperson said that India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour and our two countries share deep civilisational bonds. “We are aware of the many challenges that Sri Lanka and its people have been facing, and we have stood with the Sri Lankan people as they have tried to overcome this difficult period,” he said in a statement.
In pursuance of the central place that Sri Lanka occupies in our Neighbourhood First policy, India has extended this year unprecedented support of over USD 3.8 billion for ameliorating the serious economic situation in Sri Lanka.
The worsening economic situation in the country has led to increasing tensions and over the last few weeks, there were reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public have queued for hours and sometimes days.
Police have used tear gas and water cannons at times in a disproportionate manner. On occasions, armed forces have also fired live ammunition.
Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19, threatening to undo years of development and severely undermining the country’s ability to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice. Reduced domestic agricultural production, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and local currency depreciation have fulled the shortages. The economic crisis will push families into hunger and poverty – some for the first time – adding to the half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic.
Some 6.26 million Sri Lankans, or three in 10 households, are unsure of where their next meal is coming from, according to the latest food insecurity assessment from the World Food Programme (WFP).
In the wake of record food price inflation, skyrocketing fuel costs and widespread commodity shortages, some 61 per cent of households are regularly using coping strategies to cut down on costs, such as reducing the amount they eat and consuming increasingly less nutritious meals.