Colombo: A high-level Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra held talks with Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo on Thursday amid the ongoing economic crisis in the island nation.
The India officials including Economic Affairs Secretary Ajay Seth and Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) V Anantha Nageswaran, held productive discussions on the current situation in Sri Lanka and India's ongoing support. "Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra called on President @GotabayaR of Sri Lanka today. FS was accompanied by Secretary @FinMinIndia Ajay Seth and CEA V. Anantha Nageswaran. Held productive discussions on the current situation in Sri Lanka and India's ongoing support," External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a tweet.
Bagchi said the visiting officials underscored that India is ready to help Sri Lanka in quick economic recovery through various means as both sides reaffirmed commitment to the development of bilateral ties.
"Underlined India stands ready to help Sri Lanka in quick economic recovery through promoting investments, connectivity and strengthening economic linkages. Reiterated Sri Lanka's centrality to India's #Neighbourhood First policy," he said in another tweet.
Under its Neighbourhood First policy, India was among the first few countries to extend its aid to Sri Lanka to mitigate the unprecedented economic crisis.
New Delhi has provided a concessional loan of USD 1 billion to Sri Lanka for the supply of food, fuel, medicines, and other essential items.
Moreover, United Nations-backed multi-sector agencies are also responding to the most urgent needs arising from the recent crisis.
Development and humanitarian partners in Sri Lanka estimate that nearly 5.7 million women, children and men are in need of immediate life-saving assistance. The 1.7 million people targeted under the Humanitarian Needs and Priorities (HNP) Plan are among those whose livelihoods, food security and access to health services are most at risk and need immediate support.
Sri Lanka, formerly an upper-middle-income country, is facing its worst economic crisis since independence.
In May, the food inflation stood at 57.4 per cent, while shortages of key food items, as well as fuel for cooking, transport, and industry, remain widespread, with ongoing daily power outages.
The economy is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs to production, an 80 per cent depreciation of the currency (since March 2022), coupled with a lack of foreign reserves and the country's failure to meet its international debt obligations.