Colombo [Sri Lanka]: The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka on Sunday categorically dismissed speculative media reports about New Delhi sending its troops to Colombo as the protesters stormed into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official home and later broke into Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s private residence and set it on fire.
“The High Commission would like to categorically deny speculative reports in sections of media and social media about India sending her troops to Sri Lanka. These reports and such views are also not in keeping with the position of the Government of India,” the Indian High Commission said in an official statement. The Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs of India clearly stated today that India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and a constitutional framework.
Despite President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe agreeing to resign, protesters continue to occupy Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s official residence.
India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek prosperity and progress through democratic means and constitutional framework and continue to follow the development in the island country, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
External Affairs Minister spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in a statement, said, “We continue to follow closely the recent developments in Sri Lanka. India stands 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.”
Responding to the situation in Sri Lanka, the MEA Spokesperson said that India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour and our two countries share deep civilizational bonds. “We are aware of the many challenges that Sri Lanka and its people have been facing, and we have stood with the Sri Lankan people as they have tried to overcome this difficult period,” he said in a statement.
In pursuance of the central place that Sri Lanka occupies in our Neighbourhood First policy, India has extended this year unprecedented support of over USD 3.8 billion for ameliorating the serious economic situation in Sri Lanka.
The worsening economic situation in the country has led to increasing tensions and over the last few weeks, there were reports of several confrontations between individuals and members of the police force and the armed forces at fuel stations where thousands of desperate members of the public have queued for hours and sometimes days.
Police have used tear gas and water cannons at times in a disproportionate manner. On occasions, armed forces have also fired live ammunition.
Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948, which comes on the heels of successive waves of COVID-19, threatening to undo years of development and severely undermining the country’s ability to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice. Reduced domestic agricultural production, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and local currency depreciation have fuelled the shortages. The economic crisis will push families into hunger and poverty – some for the first time – adding to the half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic.
Some 6.26 million Sri Lankans, or three in 10 households, are unsure of where their next meal is coming from, according to the latest food insecurity assessment from the World Food Programme (WFP).
In the wake of record food price inflation, skyrocketing fuel costs and widespread commodity shortages, some 61 per cent of households are regularly using coping strategies to cut down on costs, such as reducing the amount they eat and consuming increasingly less nutritious meals.