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India-Sri Lanka relations to get ‘much better’, says Ranil Wickremesinghe

By Livemint
Sri Lanka's new prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visits a Buddhist temple after his swearing-in ceremony in Colombo (AFP)

Answering a question on India-Sri Lanka ties after his appointment, he said, "It will become much better."

Further, he also said he has taken up the challenge of uplifting the island nation's crisis-ridden economy. “I have taken on a challenge of uplifting the economy and I must fulfill it."

Wickremesinghe, who is the leader of the United National Party (UNP), was sworn in as the prime minister by Gotabaya Rajapaksa in Colombo earlier in the day. He had previously served as the Sri Lankan prime minister on five occasions.

The Indian High Commission in Colombo reiterated the country's commitment to the people of Sri Lanka after Wickremesinghe's appointment. 

"High Commission of India hopes for political stability and looks forward to working with the Government of Sri Lanka formed in accordance with democratic processes pursuant to the swearing-in of Hon'ble @RW_UNP as the Prime Minister of SriLanka," the high commission said in a tweet.

"India's commitment to the people of Sri Lanka will continue," it added.

During his previous stints as the PM, Wickremesinghe visited India on four occasions – October 2016, April 2017, November 2017 and October 2018.

In its first reaction to the situation in Sri Lanka after Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Prime Minister, India on Tuesday said that it was “fully supportive" of the island nation’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.

“India will always be guided by the best interests of the people of Sri Lanka expressed through democratic processes," said external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

"In keeping with our Neighbourhood First policy, India has extended this year alone support worth over USD 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka for helping them overcome their current difficulties. In addition, the people of India have provided assistance for mitigating the shortages of essential items such as food and medicine," the MEA said.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1948. Clashes broke out on Monday after government supporters attacked peaceful anti-government protest sites in Colombo and elsewhere, killing at least eight people and leaving over 200 others injured in the violence.

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Dive Deeper:
I want to thank PM Narendra Modi, says Sri Lanka's new PM Ranil Wickremesinghe
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he looks forward to closer ties with India during his…
Sri Lanka: Economic crisis going to get worse…, says new PM Wickremesinghe
Appealing to the world for more financial help, PM Wickremesinghe said that there won't be a hunger crisis, we will…
Sri Lanka opposition, protesters push anti-govt campaign despite new PM
Sri Lanka's main opposition party joined anti-government protesters on Friday in rejecting the appointment of a new prime minister and…
Sri Lanka names new PM in bid to address growing crisis
Sri Lanka appointed a new prime minister on Thursday, as its embattled president seeks a way out of the country's…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
He's back: Wickremesinghe named Sri Lankan PM for 6th time amid crisis
Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka's new prime minister, is no stranger to politics.
Ranil Wickremesinghe sworn in as PM of crisis-hit Sri Lanka
Five-time former leader is being appointed in an effort to bring stability to the island nation, says a party official.
Get all your news in one place