India hopes for early solution to Lanka crisis; dismisses reports suggesting involvement in transit of Rajapaksa

MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, at his weekly media briefing, said India continued to stand with the Lankan people and it remained engaged with all relevant stakeholders in that country.
Delhi police detain Indian youth who were protesting expressing solidarity with Sri Lankan protestors outside Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi. (Photo | AP)
Delhi police detain Indian youth who were protesting expressing solidarity with Sri Lankan protestors outside Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi. (Photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: As Sri Lanka reels under political and economic crisis, India on Thursday hoped for an early solution to the crisis related to the government and its leadership through democratic means and the constitutional framework.

Asserting that ensuring peace and stability of all countries in the region was an important aspect of its 'Neighbourhood First' policy, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, at his weekly media briefing, said India continued to stand with the Lankan people and it remained engaged with all relevant stakeholders in that country.

The comments by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came on a day outgoing Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa landed in Singapore from the Maldives, a day after he fled from the island nation in the face of massive mass protests.

Also on Thursday, the Indian High Commission in Male described as "baseless" the reports suggesting that the government of India was involved in the reported transit of Rajapaksa through the Maldives.

"We will continue to stand with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realise their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values as well as established institutions and constitutional framework," Bagchi said.

The MEA spokesperson said ensuring peace, stability and prosperity of all countries in the region is an important aspect of India's 'Neighbourhood First Policy' as well as its vision for security and growth for all.

"This is also in the case of Sri Lanka and is clearly evident in the close and multifaceted relationship that we have with that country and the commitment we have demonstrated in helping the Sri Lankan people," he said.

Bagchi was replying to a volley of questions on the situation in Sri Lanka during a media briefing.

"We are monitoring the evolving situation in that country. Our ties with Sri Lanka are historic and comprehensive and we continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders in Sri Lanka," Bagchi added.

"We look forward to an early solution of the situation related to the government and its leadership through democratic means and values and established institution and constitutional framework," he added.

The spokesperson said Sri Lanka needs to "find a way forward, they need to find a solution ahead."

"We are there to support the people of Sri Lanka whichever way we can and we have demonstrated that with our economic assistance," Bagchi added.

India has extended this year's support of over USD 3.8 billion to Sri Lanka to help it deal with the economic crisis.

Sri Lanka witnessed massive political turmoil in the last few days.

Rajapaksa and his wife fled to the Maldives on Wednesday bowing to months of mass protests over the island nation's worst economic crisis in decades.

He appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the acting President who later declared a nationwide state of emergency and ordered the military and police to do whatever is required to restore law and order in the country.

Rajapaksa flew to Singapore from The Maldives on Thursday.

A spokesperson for the Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Rajapaksa has been "allowed entry into Singapore on a private visit".

The Indian High Commission in Maldives on Thursday termed as "baseless" the reports that suggest that the Government of India was involved in the reported transit of embattled Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa through the Maldives.

Earlier in the day, 73-year-old Rajapaksa, who had fled to the Maldives on Wednesday from Sri Lanka amidst a public revolt against him, left the country for Singapore.

He departed from the Maldives on a Saudi Airline flight to Singapore.

The Singapore government later confirmed that it has allowed President Rajapaksa to enter the country on a "private visit".

The Indian High Commission here in a tweet "categorically denies baseless reports that suggest that Govt of India was involved in the reported transit of @GotabayaR through the Maldives".

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