Jaishankar encourages Indians to visit Sri Lanka

Jaishankar encourages Indians to visit Sri Lanka

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar has encouraged Indians to visit Sri Lanka if they want to travel overseas on holiday.

He also noted that India’s assistance to Sri Lanka during its economic crisis has played a key role in enhancing India’s image among Sri Lankan citizens.

“My first advice to you, the next time you want to take a holiday, go to Sri Lanka. I’m serious. Please go to Sri Lanka. I say this to all of you,” the Indian External Affairs Minister said while responding to questions from students at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Mumbai on ‘India’s role in the global stage’.

Commenting on the recent aid extended by India to Sri Lanka at a crucial juncture during the country’s most severe and unprecedented economic crisis, Dr. Jaishankar said, “Mix with the normal person in Sri Lanka and ask them what do you think about India, and I can tell you, you will feel yourself grow with that answer”.

Dr. Jaishankar provided a detailed account of the economic woes faced by Sri Lanka during the critical time of the economic crisis, and the unwavering support that was extended by India.

He said that the ordinary citizen of Sri Lanka has high praise for India because when the rest of the world turned its back on Sri Lanka during its economic crisis, the only country that came forward to extend support and help was India and that too not in a small way.

“I had visited Sri Lanka and saw firsthand the fuel queues and shortage of food and essential commodities. The only country that came forward at this time was India,” Dr. Jaishankar said while talking about the extreme fuel and food crisis which prevailed in Sri Lanka at the time and added that the island nation was unable to secure essential commodities, running out of food and also had petrol queues running for kilometres.

The Indian External Affairs Minister said at the time Sri Lanka faced the severe economic crisis; India committed US$ 4.5 billion to aid Sri Lanka.

“They negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a long time. The IMF should have been from where the help should have first come from. The IMF package was less than US$ 3 billion,” he said. The Indian External Affairs Minister further said that what India did immediately, quickly and efficiently for Sri Lanka was 50 percent bigger than that which was offered by the IMF as aid and no other country came anywhere close.

Minister Jaishankar made these remarks in response to a question that was raised by a student on allegations that neighbouring countries were turning against India. (Agencies)

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