As Sri Lanka finds itself amid severe debt and foreign exchange crisis, India has stepped up to extend help, sending out a strong message that it is an all weather friend, unlike the Chinese. On Saturday, India and Sri Lanka reviews the progress in extending loans worth Rs $1.5 billion for emergency purchases of food, medicines and fuel.
In the last 3 weeks, India has extended help to Sri Lanka on 6 different occasions. India has proved that it is the island nation’s friend in need, be it in terms of investment, economic support, infrastructure or cultural ties.
India and Sri Lanka signed the Trincomalee Oil tank deal, a USD $900 million aid was extended to Sri Lanka by RBI, Indian credit facility of USD $1 billion was given for importing food and other essentials, 1000 houses were handed on Pongal to Indian-origin beneficiaries and Sri Lanka launched luxury train services with India’s assistance. Along with this, a Hindi language course has also been introduced for Sri Lankan police.
On the other hand, China has taken advance of Sri Lankans on multiple occasions. It used the ‘Belt & Road’ garb to gain firm foothold in Sri Lanka, laid Hambantota port debt trap into leasing the post for 99 years, nabbed 269 hectares of land at Columbo seafront as part of Colombo port city project and laid $12 million solar energy plot for expanding footprint in North Sri Lanka with infrastructure projects trying to woo ethnic Tamil community.