China praises India for helping Sri Lanka cope with economic crisis
China on Wednesday praised India for helping Sri Lanka amid the island nation’s unprecedented economic crisis that has led to a shortage of fuel and other essential items.
Speaking at a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China “commends” India for its efforts to ease the crisis in Sri Lanka.
“We have taken note that the Indian government has also done a lot in this regard. We commend these efforts. China stands ready to work with India and the rest of the international community to help Sri Lanka and other countries in need. development who are struggling to get out of the difficulties as soon as possible,” Lijian said at a press conference.
“The Chinese government will do everything possible and make full use of available channels to provide assistance to Sri Lankan society,” he answered when asked about a remark made by Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Notably, Rajapaksa said in a June 6 interview that Sri Lanka could not tap a $1.5 billion line of credit from China and had yet to receive a response on the request made to China for a $1 billion loan. He also said that China seems to have shifted its strategic focus to Southeast Asia and Africa, and is less interested in South Asia.
In response to the remarks, the Chinese spokesperson said Beijing pays close attention and feels the difficulties and challenges Sri Lanka is facing.
“We have always supported the socio-economic development of Sri Lanka as long as our capabilities permit. China has announced that it will provide emergency humanitarian aid worth RMB 500 million to Sri Lanka,” he said. he added.
Sri Lanka is experiencing an economic crisis and an unprecedented political crisis. Large-scale protests have been taking place for months, leading to the ousting of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. The island nation is also facing a severe shortage of foreign currency which has created problems importing essential items.
Last week, India handed over a total of 3.3 tons of critical medical supplies to Sri Lanka. These humanitarian supplies come as an extension of the Government of India’s continued support to the people of the island nation in crisis in forms such as financial aid, foreign exchange support, material supply and many more.
In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘neighborhood first’ policy, more than 25 tonnes of medicines and medical supplies that have been donated by the government and people of India over the past two months are valued at almost 370 million SLRs.
This is in addition to around $3.5 billion in economic aid and provision of other humanitarian supplies such as rice, powdered milk, kerosene, etc., according to the Indian High Commission.
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