India, Japan to work together to assist Sri Lanka
Posted on May 27th, 2022

Courtesy The Daily News

India and Japan have agreed to work together on assisting crisis-hit Sri Lanka, the Japanese Government said, following a recent meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Fumio Kishida in Tokyo.

Modi and Kishida met on May 24 on the sidelines of the Quad summit and held bilateral talks on close cooperation” to promote efforts to realise a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’, in addition to collaboration in spheres including defence, clean energy, and investment.

Following the meeting, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the leaders discussed the situation in Sri Lanka and confirmed that they will cooperate with each other in light of the current economic crisis and deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the country.”

Further, they shared the view to work together to develop the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework into an inclusive framework that will bring substantive benefits to the region,” according to a statement.

Indian Ministry of External Affairs made no specific mention of Sri Lanka. The two leaders exchanged views on recent global and regional developments. They noted the convergences in their respective approaches to the Indo-Pacific and reaffirmed their commitment towards a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific region,” read its May 24 statement.

For over half a century, Japan has been one of Sri Lanka’s top donors and development partners, although its grants and investments have received much less attention compared to those from China or India.

Japan’s announcement of collaborating with India to help Sri Lanka, assumes significance, coming shortly after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s proposal that Quad members— United States, India, Japan, and Australia — take the lead in setting up a foreign aid consortium to assist Sri Lanka, that is reeling under the worst economic crisis since Independence. India has extended about US$ 3.5 billion assistance since January this year, by way of loan deferments and credit lines for essential imports.

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