Comparisons with India misinformed: Jaishankar
New Delhi: External affairs minister S. Jaishankar told an all-party meeting here on Tuesday that Sri Lanka was facing “a very serious crisis” which makes India “naturally worried” about a “spillover” into this country. However, he dismissed suggestions that such a situation could arise in India.
Mr Jaishankar, who made the initial remarks, and parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi were among the senior members of the government at the briefing, which was also attended by P. Chidambaram and Manickam Tagore of the Congress, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar and T.R. Baalu and M.M. Abdulla of the DMK.
“The reason we took the initiative to request you all to join an all-party meeting was...that this is a very serious crisis and what we are seeing in Sri Lanka is in many ways an unprecedented situation,” the external affairs minister said.
“It is a matter which pertains to a very close neighbour and given the near proximity, we naturally worry about the consequences, the spillover it has for us,” Mr Jaishankar added.
The external affairs minister also reportedly said there had been some “misinformed comparisons” in the context of Sri Lanka wherein some people have asked whether “such a situation can happen in India”.
Among others who attended the meeting were M. Thambidurai (AIADMK), Saugata Ray (Trinamul Congress), Farooq Abdullah (National Conference), Sanjay Singh (Aam Aadmi Party), Keshava Rao (TRS), Ritesh Pandey (Bahujan Samaj Party), Vijayasai Reddy (YSR Congress) and Vaiko (MDMK).
In its worst economic crisis in seven decades, Sri Lanka is facing a severe foreign exchange shortage hampering the import of essentials, including food, fuel and medicines.
The economic crisis also sparked a political crisis in the island nation after a popular uprising against the government led to the flight and resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has reimposed a state of emergency in the country.
India has already given assistance worth $3.8 billion this year to the cash-strapped island nation which is facing a grave economic crisis that has worsened.
Political parties from Tamil Nadu such as the DMK and AIADMK had demanded at an all-party meeting before Parliament’s Monsoon Session began that India should intervene in the crisis plaguing Sri Lanka.