Moragoda & Indian finance minister review present status of Indo-Lanka economic cooperation

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, Milinda Moragoda met with the Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister of India Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi last Wednesday to review the present status of Indo-Lanka economic cooperation as Sri Lanka enters negotiations with the IMF for an economic adjustment program. Moragoda’s office said in a news release.

Moragoda thanked the Indian Minister for the assistance India is extending Sri Lanka in the form of credits for essential commodities and fuel, and also for balance of payment support.

“The Minister and the High Commissioner observed that this assistance could form part of the bridging finance required by Sri Lanka until the economic adjustment program with the IMF is negotiated. It was also observed that India was the first country to support Sri Lanka in this manner to secure bridging finance until that program would be in place,” the release said.

The discussion included possibilities of Indian assistance in garnering international support to secure bridging finance and for the economic adjustment program itself, through both bilateral and multilateral partners, it added..

Moragoda also briefed Sitharaman on the debt standstill announced by Colombo and told her that consensual agreement on debt restructuring was being sought.

“They explored the possibility of enhancing and restructuring some of the assistance already provided by India in the form of credits for essential commodities and fuel as well as balance of payment support,” the release said.

They discussed how India could play an expanded role in promoting accelerated growth and development in Sri Lanka in the medium term and the two sides expressed satisfaction over the ongoing official-level discussions between Sri Lanka and India to establish a cooperation framework and to monitor the progress of economic cooperation between the two countries in the present context, it added.

“The Presidential Advisory Group on Multilateral Engagement and Debt Sustainability, Governor of the Central Bank and the Secretary to the Treasury are engaged in these discussions representing Sri Lanka while India is represented by the Chief Economic Advisor of the Government and the Secretary (Economic Affairs) of the Ministry of Finance. The High Commissions of the two countries in each other’s capitals are also participating in these discussions.” the release explained.

India’s concern of the humanitarian cost of the economic crisis figured in the talks and Sitharaman said India would stand by Sri Lanka to overcome its challenges. Moragoda thanked Sitharaman for the personal interest she has taken in supporting Sri Lanka at this difficult time.

They also noted that Finance Minister of Sri Lanka Ali Sabry and his delegation would be meeting the Ministerial delegation from India next week in Washington D.C. on the wings of the IMF spring meetings.

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