India to ‘encourage greater investments’ in crisis-hit Sri Lanka

India has told Sri Lanka it is committed to boosting investment in its debt-ridden neighbour to help pull it from its worst economic crisis in seven decades. “India will

encourage greater investments in the Sri Lankan economy, especially in core areas like energy, tourism and infrastructure,” India’s Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told

reporters in Colombo on Friday. “We count on the government of Sri Lanka to provide a more business-friendly environment to create a powerful pull factor.” The

island nation, home to 22 million people, has grappled with challenges over the past year ranging from a shortage of foreign currency to runaway inflation and a steep recession,

in its worst such crisis since independence from Britain in 1948. During his two-day trip starting on Thursday, Jaishankar held talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Ali

Sabry, on cooperation in infrastructure, connectivity, energy, industry and health services. Later on Friday, he is scheduled to meet Sri Lanka’s president and prime

minister. During the visit, the neighbours are also expected to sign a memorandum of understanding for a renewable power project covering three islands in Sri Lanka’s

north, two sources at the Ministry of Power said. Sri Lanka is racing to secure a $2.9bn bailout package from the International Monetary Fund but requires the backing of

China and India, its biggest bilateral lenders, to reach a final agreement with the IMF. India has told the global lender that it strongly supports Sri Lanka’s debt

restructuring plan, with Sri Lanka owing about$1bn to its nearest neighbour.