India will push IMF for SL – Dr. Jaishankar

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Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar reaffirmed that India would give all the help it could to Sri Lanka at the IMF. India is one of the foremost countries that have pushed for the IMF bailout package for Sri Lanka amidst the financial meltdown and political crisis.

Dr. Jaikshankar ended his two-day tour to Bangkok  on 18 August at the outset of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe gearing to tour to Japan next month to request Japan to invite the main creditor nations of Sri Lanka, — China and India, for talks on bilateral debt restructuring when he meets Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida too.

“Someone needs to call in and invite the major creditor countries. We will request that Japan do so,” the President had told Reuters recently. The main creditors of Sri Lanka are Japan, China, India and USA among many others whom the IMF has urged to do a debt repayment structure that has still not taken shape.

India has done its best to assist Sri Lanka, Dr. Jaishankar told the audience at the Chulalongkorn University Bangkok, where he delivered a speech on the subject ‘India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific’. He recalled that India has extended USD 3.8 billion of support to Sri Lanka, including lines of credit and swap arrangements. “Sri Lanka, a nation of 22 million, is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis that has led to severe shortages of fuel and other essentials. The Sri Lankan Government is negotiating with the IMF for a bailout package,” he said.

India latest gift was a Dornier Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft on 15 August towards strengthening the maritime security of Sri Lanka at a special event held in Sri Lanka Air Force Base, Katunayake. The Induction of the aircraft is timely in view of the current challenges to Sri Lanka’s maritime security, India said.

Dr. Jaishankar claimed that the Quad will be beneficial to the entire Indo-Pacific region and that any objections to its actions may be a result of “unilateralist opposition to collective and cooperative endeavors.” The Quad nations include Japan and India besides the United States and Australia.

“We envision an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous, based on a rules-based international order, sustainable and transparent infrastructure investment, freedom of navigation and over flight, unhindered legal trade, mutual respect for sovereignty, peaceful resolution of disputes, and equality of all nations,” he said.