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Jayasuriya praises India for feeding Sri Lankans during economic meltdown

Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya with Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay (Photo: Indian High Commission/Twitter)

Former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya met Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay on Thursday and requested him for essential medicines including cancer medicines and life-saving drugs for the island nation.

Jayasuriya also thanked the high commissioner for India's support in supplying essential items including medicines.

In a tweet, the Indian high commission said: "High Commissioner met cricket legend Sanath and hailed his many achievements for the sport and SriLanka. The ace cricketer appreciated India’s support in the form of essential supplies, including medicines."

Nearly a fortnight back also, Jayasuriya had appreciated India's help in an interview to news agency ANI: "… we are very grateful to the Indian government and the Prime Minister (Modi). So, for us even to survive it is not very easy at the moment, things are going through… I hope that things will change and also with the help of India and other countries and we are trying to come out from this situation…".

Sri Lankan parliamentarians also met the high commissioner and apprised him of the current economic and political situation in the country. In a tweet, the high commission said that Baglay "reiterated India’s continued commitment to support Sri Lanka".

India has continued to provide humanitarian assistance across Sri Lanka and distributed dry ration packs among the needy families in Ampara district. Besides the $1.5 billion credit line offered, India has cleared a fresh $500 million support for fuel.

With the situation in the country becoming dire by the day, Colombo has been trying hard to borrow from financial institutions as well as friendly countries. Its talks with the International Monetary Fund are still on, while China has only shown indifference to requests made by the top Sri Lankan leadership.

Sri Lanka had approached China for a $1 billion loan and $1.5 billion credit about which China has not responded as yet. Over the last one week Sri Lankan experts have said that the country needs at least $4 billion to meet its immediate debt service and import requirements.

Sri Lanka has to repay about $7 billion in foreign debt this year alone.

Widespread public protests continue across the nation. Angry people want President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to resign and form an interim government to tackle the economic crisis. The Rajapaksas have refused to step down and are making political efforts to ensure that opposition parties do not get the support to initiate a no-confidence motion.