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India makes inroads into Sri Lanka under China's long shadow

Dec 28, 2022, 07:00 am

When Sri Lanka witnessed its worst economic crisis in seven decades leading to deadly riots and alarming shortages of fuel, food and medicines earlier this year, its giant northern neighbour stepped into the breach.

India provided about $4 billion in rapid assistance between January and July, including credit lines, a currency swap arrangement and deferred import payments, and sent a warship carrying essential drugs for the island's 22 million people

Now, as Sri Lanka closes in on a $2.9 billion loan deal from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and its economy stabilises, India is seeking to land ambitious long-term investments, with an eye on countering the influence of regional rival China, a government minister and three sources said.

"What we are looking at right now is investment from them," Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabry said in an interview this month, referring to a range of projects worth over $1 billion currently under discussion that would help bolster India's presence in Sri Lanka. "They're willing to invest as much as it takes."

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