Prime Minister Narendra Modi has congratulated Sri Lanka’s newly-elected President Ranil 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 Indian High Commission said on Tuesday.
Wickremesinghe, 73, was on Thursday sworn in as Sri Lanka’s eighth president after he was elected by lawmakers to succeed Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fled the country and resigned in the face of public revolt against his government for mismanaging the economy.” PM @narendramodi sent a congratulatory letter to H.E President @RW_UNP on his election,” the High Commission of India in Colombo said in a tweet.
“PM reiterated that India will continue to be supportive of the quest of the people of Sri Lanka for stability and economic recovery, through established democratic means, institutions and constitutional framework,” it said. The Prime Minister also conveyed that he looked forward to working closely with the Sri Lankan President for the mutual benefit of people and strengthening the age-old, close and friendly relations between India and Sri Lanka, it added.
Wickremesinghe, who is believed to be close to India and its leaders, was appointed as prime minister in May. He was sworn-in as acting president on July 13 after President Rajapaksa fled the country amidst unprecedented anti-government protests.On July 22, Wickremesinghe appointed veteran politician Dinesh Gunawardena as the prime minister.
Wickremesinghe has a mandate to serve out the rest of Rajapaksa’s term, which ends in November 2024.Meanwhile, in Colombo, Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay on Tuesday paid a courtesy call on newly-appointed Prime Minister Gunawardena and conveyed greetings from the leadership, Government and people of India.”
High Commissioner thanked the PM for his guidance in various capacities to strengthen the long-standing and close India-Sri Lankan relations in all areas of engagement. High Commissioner also thanked him for his whole-hearted appreciation for India’s unprecedented support to the people of Sri Lanka,” the Indian mission tweeted.On Tuesday, Baglay handed over to crisis-hit Sri Lanka the third consignment of humanitarian supplies like rice and medicines donated by the government of Tamil Nadu.
“The Indian government and the people have come together for the people of Sri Lanka. The Indian High Commissioner here handed over the humanitarian supplies valued at over Sri Lankan Rupees 3.4 billion donated by the Tamil Nadu government,” the High Commission said in a statement.
As much as 40,000 MT of rice, 500 MT of milk powder, 100 MT medicines were received by the crisis-hit nation in the face of its worst economic crisis in history. 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.
The country is currently holding talks with the IMF and other foreign countries on financial aid to tide over the current economic crisis. Wickremesinghe, who has been leading the crucial talks with the International Monetary Fund, has said that negotiations were nearing conclusion, and discussions for assistance with foreign countries were also progressing.