Colombo, Jan 19 (IANS) India’s External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, arrived here on Thursday amid written assurance given to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of India’s strong support for Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process.
During his two-day visit, Jaishankar will meet President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, besides having an official discussion with Foreign Minister Ali Sabry.
Sabry told the media that Sri Lanka would focus on expediting the proposed Indian investments, including renewable energy projects. Instead of depending on financial assistance, Sri Lanka would focus on seeking investments from India for economic development, the minister said.
With a senior delegation representing the External Affair Ministry, including Joint Secretary (IOR) Puneet Agrawal, Director Sandeep Kumar Bayyappu, Deputy Secretary (Sri Lanka) Nidhi Choudhary and Deputy Secretary Raghoo Puri, Jaishankar’s visit comes close on the heels of a written assurance given by the Indian Finance Ministry to IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva, assuring strong support for crisis-hit Sri Lanka.
In a letter to IMF dated January 16, Finance Ministry official Rajat Kumar Mishra confirmed India’s “strong support for Sri Lanka’s prospective EFF-supported programme and commitment to supporting Sri Lanka with financing/debt relief, consistent with restoring Sri Lanka’s public debt sustainability under the IMF-supported programme and ensuring that the programme is fully financed as projected by IMF staff”.
According to media reports, Mishra stated in his letter that the financing and debt relief to Sri Lanka would be provided by the Export-Import Bank of India.