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India urges ‘early solution’ to Lanka crisis, stresses ‘democratic means’ as Gotabaya resigns

MEA says India assisting and responding to current crisis in Sri Lanka with 'urgency' in order to help Lankans overcome 'hardships arising from the economic situation in the country'. 

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New Delhi: India Thursday called for an “early solution” to the current crisis in Sri Lanka based on “democratic means and values” and under a constitutional framework. The statement from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came just as the embattled Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in Singapore from the Maldives, a day after he fled Colombo, and sent his resignation to the Lankan Speaker.

“We are monitoring the evolving situation in Sri Lanka. India’s ties with Sri Lanka are historic and comprehensive and we continue to remain engaged with all relevant stakeholders in Sri Lanka,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in the statement.

“We look forward to an early solution of the situation related to the government and its leadership, through democratic means and values, established institutions and constitutional framework,” Bagchi added.

The MEA statement came minutes after Gotabaya arrived in Singapore on a Saudi commercial plane. The Singaporean government has called it a “private visit” and denied giving him asylum there.

Bagchi reiterated that “ensuring peace, stability and prosperity” in the South Asian region remains a priority under India’s Neighbourhood First policy and SAGAR (Security and Growth For All in the Region).  

“This is clearly evident in the close and multifaceted relationship we have with Sri Lanka and the commitment we have demonstrated in helping Sri Lanka address the challenges arising out of the current situation in the country,” he said. “We will continue to stand 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 constitutional framework.”

India, Bagchi said, has been assisting and responding to the current crisis in Sri Lanka with “urgency” in order to help the country’s people overcome “hardships arising from the economic situation in the country”. 

From January this year, the Indian government has delivered about $3.8 billion worth of support to Sri Lanka, Bagchi added.

This, he said, includes currency swaps and deferment of the repayment of Sri Lanka’s liabilities to the Reserve Bank of India under the Asian Clearing Union (ACU) mechanism.

This also includes credit assistance of $1.5 billion for financing imports of fuel, food, medicines, fertilisers and other essential commodities from India, he said.

Bagchi also said that while the credit line for fuel has been utilised, the credit facility of $1 billion continues to be under implementation.

Also Read: Chaos off field, but resurgent Sri Lanka cricket is warming up to face Pakistan in Test series

Gotabaya arrives in Singapore and resigns

After keeping the world on tenterhooks over his resignation, Gotabaya finally relented after he reached Singapore. 

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has been appointed the acting president of Sri Lanka. 

Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Thursday that Gotabaya, who was accompanied by his wife, arrived at Singapore’s Changi Airport for a “private visit” but denied having given him asylum.

“In response to media queries, it is confirmed that Mr Rajapaksa has been allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit. He has not asked for asylum and neither has he been granted any asylum. Singapore generally does not grant requests for asylum,” the ministry said in a statement.

(Edited by Uttara Ramaswamy)

Also Read: ‘Run Sri Lanka like Hitler’, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was once told. Now he’s on the run himself


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