High-level Indian delegation due in Colombo for talks on assistance

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COLOMBO – A high-level government delegation from India is set to visit Sri Lanka for a discussion on possible further loan assistance, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe informed Parliament in Wednesday (22).

Three officials from the Indian government will arrive in Colombo on Thursday (23), Wickremesinghe said, noting that Sri Lanka has received up to US$ 4 billion under the Indian credit line so far, and more credit has been requested.

However, he said India couldn’t keep giving Sri Lanka loans, acknowledging that even their assistance has a limit and that Sri Lanka also need to have a plan in place to repay these loans.

“They’re not donations,” he said, noting that India too was dealing with its own crisis in the country’s banking sector.

Indian media reported that the government delegation led by Chief Economic Advisor V. Anantha Nageswaran will arrive in Colombo on Thursday to assess Sri Lanka’s economic conditions and examine whether another tranche of financial package needs to be disbursed to the island nation.

A PTI report said the delegation will stay in the country for three hours and hold talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Wickremesinghe, and that the visit is consequent to the meetings held by Sri Lankan envoy in New Delhi, Milinda Moragoda, with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday (20).

India has extended multi-pronged assistance to the people of Sri Lanka in the last few months in line with its Neighbourhood First’ policy and as an earnest friend and partner of Sri Lanka.

The support from India ranges from economic assistance of close to US$ 3.5 billion to helping secure Sri Lanka’s food, health, and energy security by supplying essential items like food, medicines, fuel and  kerosene, according to the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Indian media also reported on Wednesday that Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has assured Sri Lanka of her “fullest support” and cooperation for its recovery from the ongoing economic crisis, when Moragoda met her on Monday.

It was the latest in a series of meetings Moragoda held with Sitharaman on India’s economic cooperation and assistance to Sri Lanka in view of the economic crisis. He had last met her on May 27.

Reports said Moragoda had also met with 15 European envoys based in New Delhi, who are concurrently accredited to Sri Lanka and briefed them on the current economic and political developments in Sri Lanka, especially the plans for the stabilization and recovery of the Sri Lankan economy.

-economynext.com/ENCL

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