Sri Lanka is seeking a $ 1.5 billion Indian credit line to help it weather the crisis

Sri Lanka has requested a $ 1 billion line of credit for major imports and a $ 500 million line of credit for oil imports from India to help weather the economic crisis, said Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal , opposite ET.

During the recent visit to India, Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa applied for a $ 1 billion line of credit for major imports and a $ 500 million line of credit for oil imports, Cabraal ET said in an exclusive interview from Colombo.

Talks on a $ 400 million swap facility under the Reserve Bank of India’s SAARC funding agreement are ongoing, he said.

“Given Sri Lanka’s strategic geographic location and strong maritime connectivity, Sri Lanka would be a stepping stone for Indian multinationals to expand globally.”

“The expected cooperation is likely to help both countries continue the great trade and financial flows of the past few years.”

Sri Lanka, which is in an economic crisis after Covid-19 and the Chinese debt is rising, had turned to India to stimulate its ailing economy. India recently saved Lanka by supplying fertilizers after China-made fertilizers were rejected on quality grounds.

ET reported earlier this month that India is urgently working on a package in support of Sri Lanka following Basil Rajapaksa’s visit. India is expected to expand a food and health security package along with an energy security package and currency exchange to Sri Lanka, as well as spur Indian investment, officials told ET. During Rajapaksa’s visit it was agreed that the procedures to achieve these goals would be completed early and within a mutually agreed time.

Cabraal, who had previously served as minister of state, recalled that Sri Lanka received Indian aid even during the pandemic.

India has been one of the top three countries of origin of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Sri Lanka in recent years. Foreign direct investment inflows from India, including foreign borrowing from companies registered with the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, were $ 80.4 million in the first half of 2021.

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