New Delhi, Jul 19 (PTI) The government has called an all-party meeting over the Sri Lankan crisis on Tuesday which will be addressed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, with a severe foreign exchange shortage hampering the import of essentials including food, fuel and medicines. The economic crisis also sparked a political crisis in the country after a popular uprising against the government. Acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency in the country.
During a meeting of all parties convened ahead of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Tamil Nadu-based DMK and AIADMK demanded that India should intervene in the crisis shrouding the neighbouring country.
After the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prahlad Joshi had said both Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will brief leaders of various political parties on the Sri Lankan crisis during an all-party meeting on Tuesday. Now, it is not clear whether Sitharaman will address the meeting as she has tested Covid positive.
The island nation off the tip of southeast India needs about USD 5 billion in the next six months to cover the basic necessities for its 22 million people, who have been struggling with long queues, worsening shortages and power cuts. India has been the principal source of foreign assistance to Sri Lanka this year.
Sri Lankan protesters have vowed to continue their struggle for a complete change of the system by abolishing the presidency, as the popular uprising, that ousted Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president, marked the 100th day on Sunday. The anti-government protest began on April 9 near the presidential office and has been continuing without a break.
Rajapaksa, 73, who fled to the Maldives on Wednesday and then landed in Singapore on Thursday, formally resigned on Friday, capping off a chaotic 72 hours in the crisis-hit nation that saw protesters storm many iconic buildings, including the President and the Prime Minister’s residences here.