India pledges ‘all possible support’ | Daily News


India pledges ‘all possible support’


World leaders and other dignitaries have been calling and sharing messages on social media to convey their best wishes to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as he marks 50 years since being elected to Parliament.

Among the leaders who have called include Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

During the telephone call with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday, Indian Prime Minister Modi assured Prime Minister Rajapaksa that India “stands ready to extend all possible support to Sri Lanka during this challenging time”.

Prime Minister Modi said, “As a friendly country, it is our duty to respond. Especially in these very difficult times, we are always going to stand by you.”

He recalled Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaska’s contributions to Sri Lanka’s development and wished him the best for the future.

“The leaders discussed the health and economic impact of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic and the measures being taken in the two countries to counter them,” the Indian External Affairs Ministry said in a readout o the wide-ranging telephone call.

During the call, Prime Minister Modi also commended Sri Lanka for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is indeed a matter of great satisfaction that in Sri Lanka the COVID-19 situation is under control,” Prime Minister Modi told Prime Minister Rajapaksa. “And the credit for this goes to you and your government for having taken very effective steps.”

Prime Minister Rajapaksa thanked India for its support during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I want to thank you for the excellent support your Government has given us to evacuate more than 2000 Sri Lankans who were staying in India,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa told Prime Minister Modi. “Many of them were students and pilgrims who are relieved to be back with their families during this difficult time.” The SAARC COVID Fund was also a topic of discussion.

“I appreciate your initiative to establish the COVID Fund among SAARC member countries,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said. “I think it’s a very important initiative.”

The two leaders shared a commitment to continue working together closely for mutual prosperity. “We are friends. We are relations,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

Modi also conveyed his condolences at the sudden demise of Arumugan Thondaman, a prominent leader of Indian-origin Tamils in Sri Lanka, on Tuesday. He recalled Thondaman’s role in taking forward the development partnership between the two countries.

Prime Minister Modi’s call to Premier Rajapaksa came days after a telephone conversation he had with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, where he agreed to look into granting every possible assistance to Sri Lanka. Earlier, Sri Lanka sought a US $1.1 billion currency swap facility from New Delhi to boost foreign currency reserves amid the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to the US$400 million the country has sought from India under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework.

Several world leaders had also posted messages on twitter as well as sending congratulatory messages through diplomatic channels. 

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