President Droupadi Murmu writes to Ranil Wickremesinghe

“As a close neighbor, India is committed to helping the Lankan people,” President Murmu said.

New Delhi:

President-elect Droupadi Murmu, while offering his congratulations to Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe, said that India was committed to assisting the people of Sri Lanka to face the challenges posed by the economic crisis.

President Murmu emphasized India’s neighborhood policy in a letter to Sri Lankan President Wickremesinghe.

“As a close neighbor, India is committed to assisting the people of Sri Lanka in meeting the challenges of the economic crisis, guided by our Neighborhood First policy,” the letter reads.

President Murmu hoped in the letter that the long-standing bilateral partnership between the two countries, based on shared heritage and deep people-to-people ties, will be further strengthened.

“I would like to thank you for your warm congratulations on my assumption of the office of President of India. I take this opportunity to offer you my congratulations on your recent election as the 8th President of Sri Lanka by the Parliament of Sri Lanka,” she added.

She also wished the Sri Lankan President every success in taking on the “responsibilities and challenges” in office at a “critical time for Sri Lanka”.

Earlier, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe conveyed his greetings to Droupadi Murmu on her inauguration as India’s 15th President and said he looked forward to working closely with her to that end.

“Your Excellency Smt. Droupadi Murmu, President of the Republic of India, Excellency, the Government and people of Sri Lanka join me in bringing heartfelt congratulations on your assumption of office as President of the Republic of India,” Wickremesinghe said in a statement.

He went on to say that Murmu’s nomination to the presidency of India, which he described as “one of the greatest democracies,” is a testament to the government’s and the people’s confidence in their caliber and political acumen.

Referring to relations between India and Sri Lanka, he said both countries “enjoy warm and long-standing ties born of people-to-people interaction over millennia and I am glad that the cherished bonds of friendship between the two Nations are further strengthened by ever-growing collaboration and support in many areas of strategic interests that we share.”

“Your leadership energizes our collective efforts to invigorate and strengthen the warm relationships we enjoy, and I look forward to working closely with you to that end,” he added.

India has always come forward to help the indebted island nation as part of its “Neighborhood First” policy. Recently, India has granted Sri Lanka 8 Lines of Credit (LOCs) totaling US$1,850.64 million over the past 10 years.

“The Government of India has granted 8 lines of credit (LOCs) to Sri Lanka in the last 10 years amounting to US$1,850.64 million in sectors such as railways, infrastructure, defense, renewable energy, petroleum and fertilizers,” Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar said in a written Answer to a question from DMK Lok Sabha MP S Ramalingam.

“In January 2022, India extended a $400 million currency swap on Sri Lanka under the SAARC framework and deferred consecutive Asian Clearing Union (ACU) settlements until July 6, 2022. Sri Lanka was granted a $500 million credit line million USD granted to import fuel from India,” added the minister.

More than 25 tons of medicines and medical supplies donated by the government and people of India in the past two months are worth nearly SLR 370 million. In addition, there is economic aid of around 3.5 billion US dollars and the delivery of other humanitarian supplies such as rice, milk powder and kerosene.

These humanitarian supplies are a continuation of the Government of India’s ongoing support to the people of Sri Lanka in a variety of forms such as financial support, foreign exchange support, supplies of materials and more.

These efforts prove that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “neighborhood first” policy, which encourages people-to-people engagement, is still active.

India is becoming a stronger and more mutually beneficial partner for Sri Lanka. Along with aid during the pandemic and fertilizer chaos, India is also donating basic products to the island nation.

Sri Lanka has been suffering from a diesel shortage since February, resulting in hours of power outages. Sri Lanka is currently struggling with acute food and electricity shortages, forcing the country to seek help from its neighbors.

The recession is being blamed on foreign exchange shortages caused by a crackdown on tourism during the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is unable to buy enough fuel and gas while people are also deprived of basic amenities.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)

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