President Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday thanked India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for giving Sri Lanka ”a breath of life” by providing timely economic assistance to his country as it faced the worst economic crisis in decades. President Wickremesinghe made the remarks while addressing a ceremonial sitting of Parliament which reconvened on Wednesday after a seven-day adjournment.
”I wish to specially mention the assistance provided by India, our closest neighbour, in our efforts of economic revitalisation, he said. ”The government of India under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi has given us a breath of life. On behalf of my people and that of my own, I convey our gratitude to Prime Minister Modi, the Government and people of India,” Wickremesinghe added.
Last week, Modi congratulated President Wickremesinghe and said that India will continue to be supportive of the quest of the people of the island nation for stability and economic recovery, through established democratic means. The new Sri Lankan government faces the task of leading the country out of its economic collapse and restoring order after months of mass protests that forced President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign.
The Indian government assistance to Sri Lanka has reached almost USD 4 billion since January this year. Sri Lanka needs about USD 5 billion in the next six months to cover basic necessities for its 22 million people, who have been struggling with long queues, worsening shortages and power cuts.