‘We continue to follow closely recent developments in Sri Lanka,’ says Foreign Ministry
India expressed solidarity Sunday with the people of Sri Lanka, which is going through a severe political and economic crisis.
“We continue to follow closely the recent developments in Sri Lanka. India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and a constitutional framework,” said the Foreign Ministry in a statement, according to the ANI news agency.
Stressing that India and Sri Lanka are close neighbors with deep bonds, the statement added: “We are aware of the many challenges that Sri Lanka and its people have been facing and we have stood with the Sri Lankan people as they have tried to overcome this difficult period.”
Amid high inflation and currency depreciation, Sri Lankans have been unable to pay for fuel and other necessities, resulting in anti-government protests. A lack of fuel for power stations has also resulted in constant power cuts. State employees have been asked to work from home, while schools are closed.
Thousands of protesters stormed the president’s official residence Saturday and demanded his immediate resignation.
Consequently, the country’s Parliament Speaker, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, announced that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will resign on July 13.
Rajapaksa’s current whereabouts are unknown, although his office said he gave orders for the immediate distribution of a cooking gas consignment to the public.
Sri Lanka’s opposition parties met Sunday to discuss forming a new all-party unity government after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also offered to resign if such a government could be established to take over the running of the country.
It is unclear when an agreement might be reached but more meetings are planned.