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“Next time you want to take holiday, go to Sri Lanka”: Sri Lankan leaders thank EAM S Jaishankar for promoting Sri Lankan tourism

He further elaborated how India had come forward in Sri Lanka's support when the world had turned its back on the country.

Sri Lankan political leaders heaped praise on External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar for promoting Sri Lankan tourism and appealing to people to visit the island country in their next holidays.

Former Sri Lankan member of parliament, Sajith Premadasa, lauded India’s minister and said he ‘deeply appreciates’ EAM Jaishankar’s efforts in campaigning tourism for Sri Lanka.

Taking to X, he said, “Deeply appreciate @DrSJaishankar efforts on championing tourism to Sri Lanka. We warmly welcome all our Indian friends to experience the rich tapestry of our culture. #Gratitude #Hospitality.”

Moreover, former member of Parliament and former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya also thanked Jaishankar for supporting Sri Lanka and said India’s support of Sri Lanka Tourism is priceless.

“Special thanks to His excellency Indian External Affairs Minister @DrSJaishankar for your support during our darkest time by words and deeds. Also India’s support to Sri Lanka Tourism is priceless to us,” Former cricketer Suriya posted on X.

This comes after EAM Jaishankar, while speaking at an event, advised people to visit Sri Lanka to take a holiday.

Jaishankar spoke about India’s support for Sri Lanka and said, “My first advice to you, the next time you want to take a holiday, go to Sri Lanka. I’m serious.”

“Please go to Sri Lanka. I say this to all of you. Mix with the normal people in Sri Lanka and ask them what they think about India. And I can tell you you will feel yourself grow with that answer,” he said.

He further elaborated how India had come forward in Sri Lanka’s support when the world had turned its back on the country.

“For the average Sri Lankan, when the world had turned its back on Sri Lanka…I have myself been in Colombo. And there was a petrol shortage. People were pushing their cars to get petrol. There were queues upto kilometers. The country was running out of food, there were no essential commodities. Now at a time when the rest of the world turned its back on Sri Lanka, the only country which came forward and came forward not in a small way. We actually committed 4.5 billion dollars to Sri Lanka. They negotiated for a long time with the IMF, which is where help should have come from. And the IMF package was less than 3 billion dollars. So what we did immediately, quickly, and efficiently was 50% bigger than what the IMF did. And no other country came close,” EAM said.

Sri Lanka plunged into its worst economic crisis particularly in 2022 through 2023. In July 2023, India reiterated its willingness to support the country in its efforts to recover.

India was the first creditor nation in 2023 to convey financing assurances required to kickstart the IMF process.

India was also the first nation to have over its letter of support for financing and debt restructuring of Sri Lanka to IMF.

Multiple credit lines and currency support from India under its “Neighbourhood First” policy began to help Sri Lanka gather stability in is path to economic recovery.

On the other hand, the current Maldives government under President Mohamad Miuzzu has displayed not only a thankless attitude but Islamist representatives of his pro-China government have insulted India and PM Modi. Now, his government is facing stark criticism from the Opposition putting the Miuzzu govt in danger.

This despite the fact that in 2022, India in response to a request from Maldives provided it financial assistance of 100 million dollars as budgetary support during the difficult economic situation.

In 2004, India was the first country to assist Maldives when it was reeling from the severe loss owing to the tsunami. India again was the first country to help Maldives during its water crisis in Male in December 2014.

Maldives is also one of the biggest beneficiaries of India’s “Neighbourhood First” policy. Yet the current government’s hostile approach against the presence of Indian forces on the island nation and against India at large has strained the ties.

The latest statement by EAM S Jaishankar promoting Sri Lanka tourism is an example of the kind of friend India can be should its neighbours make efforts to maintain such friendly ties.

(With inputs from agencies)

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