India Assures Sri Lankan PM of Continued Support Amid Protests Over Unprecedented Economic Crisis

© Photo : Indian Embassy in Colombo / Ranil Wickremesinghe Meets BaglaySri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Meets Indian Envoy
Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Meets Indian Envoy - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.05.2022
On Thursday, Ranil Wickremesinghe, 73, was re-appointed as prime minister to bring stability to Sri Lanka, which has been weathering an unprecedented political and economic crisis for weeks.
India's envoy to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay called on Ranil Wickremesinghe soon after the new Sri Lankan Prime Minister assumed office on Friday, discussing the current situation in the island nation amid protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
"Discussed continued bilateral cooperation for economic recovery and stability in Sri Lanka through democratic processes towards the well-being of all the people of Sri Lanka," said the Indian High Commission in Colombo after the meeting.
On Thursday, Wickremesinghe said that the relationship between his country and India "will become much better" under his government.
Since January, India has extended support worth over $3.5 billion to Sri Lanka to help people overcome their current difficulties.
The High Commission has also categorically dismissed reports claiming it had stopped issuing visas to Sri Lankans.
"In the past few days, there were operational difficulties due to the inability of our Visa Wing staff, most of whom are Sri Lankan nationals, to reach the office. We are striving to return our functioning to the normal levels soon," a statement issued by the commission read.
The diplomatic mission also assured that it remains committed to facilitating ease of travel for Sri Lankans to India.
"Sri Lankans are welcome in India just as Indians are in Sri Lanka," the High Commission added.
Meanwhile, a group of representatives of the public protest held at the Galle Face Green in Colombo has handed over a joint declaration to Ranil Wickremesinghe, demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, among seven other issues.
Protesters have urged the Prime Minister to limit the number of ministers in cabinet to 15. They have also sought to repeal the 20th constitutional amendment that centralised powers in President.
In his address to the nation on Wednesday, President Rajapaksa did not indicate his intention to step down from his post. However, he promised to repeal the 20th constitutional amendment once a unity government forms.
The president's brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, resigned as prime minister on Monday following massive violence across the island, which left at least 9 people dead and over 230 injured.
Sri Lanka has suffered months of a severe shortage of essential commodities due to the non-availability of funds for imports, triggering island-wide protests.
Sri Lanka has sought support from China, India, and multilateral financial institutions to overcome the crisis. It defaulted on its foreign debt payments last month.
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