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India a dependable partner, reliable friend of Sri Lanka: Union minister V Muraleedharan

India is always a dependable partner and a reliable friend of Sri Lanka, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said.

His remarks came as he attended Sri Lanka's 75th Independence Day. Several other foreign dignitaries also attended the event.

Muraleedharan said he was happy to represent India at ''friendly neighbour'' Sri Lanka's 75th Independence Day celebrations.

''This milestone coincides with 75 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between both countries India is always a dependable partner and a reliable friend of Sri Lanka,'' he tweeted.

Muraleedharan also prayed to The Buddha at the sacred Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo. ''Offered his respects to Ven Dr. Kirinde Assaji Thero,'' the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka tweeted. Assaji Thero is the Chief Incumbent of Gangaramaya Temple.

Muraleedharan highlighted the close civilisational ties between India and Sri Lanka which are manifested, including through Buddhism.

Last year, India extended USD 3.9 billion in support to Sri Lanka to deal with the economic crisis. New Delhi recently gave assurance to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to restructure the country's debt to secure a USD 2.9 billion bridge loan.

Sri Lanka was negotiating to get financial assurances from its major creditors China, Japan and India, which is the requisite for Colombo to get the bailout package. During mid-2022 Sri Lanka faced the worst economic crisis since independence which led to months-long public protests leading to a political crisis.

Shortages of essentials due to the forex crisis forced people onto the streets demanding the resignation of the then president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Last year in April, Sri Lanka declared its first-ever debt default in its history.

Muraleedharan also interacted with the vibrant Indian diaspora in Sri Lanka.

''Appreciated their contributions in strengthening economic & people to people ties between India & Sri Lanka. Their role is even more significant today when Sri Lanka is on its path to economic recovery,'' he tweeted. The People of Indian Origin (PIOs) comprise Sindhis, Borahs, Gujaratis, Memons, Parsis, Malayalis and Telugu-speaking persons who have settled down in Sri Lanka (most of them after partition) and are engaged in various business ventures.

According to unofficial statistics, it is estimated that around 14,000 Indian expatriates are living in Sri Lanka, according to the Indian mission in Colombo.


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