India today said it continued to follow closely the recent developments in Sri Lanka while reaffirming its support for the people of the island nation as they seek to realise their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and constitutional framework.
“India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour and our two countries share deep civilisational bonds. We are aware of the many challenges that Sri Lanka and its people have been facing, and we have stood with the Sri Lankan people as they have tried to overcome this difficult period,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in response to questions.
The statement came a day after Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agreed to resign to ensure a smooth transition of power after anti-government protesters stormed and occupied the president’s residence and office amid the worsening economic crisis in the island nation. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he would also resign.
The Indian spokesperson noted that in pursuance of the central place that Sri Lanka occupied in India’s ”Neighbourhood First” policy, India has extended this year itself an unprecedented support of over $3.8 billion for ameliorating the serious economic situation in the neighbouring country.
Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said New Delhi has always been supportive of Sri Lanka and was “trying to help” the neighbouring country through its present economic crisis while clarifying that there was “no refugee crisis right now”.