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Government calls on suo motto all-party meeting over Sri Lankan crisis

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has called for an all-party meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss the crucial issue of the Sri Lanka crisis.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi made the announcement on Sunday saying, "On Tuesday, we are calling for another all-party meeting to brief on the Lankan crisis. We have requested Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to hold this briefing."

According to the sources, the foreign secretary is likely to make a presentation before the members on the situation in Lanka and the assistance that India has given in the past to the island nation. And the meeting is likely to start at 5:30 pm.

"The government is calling for suo motto meeting to address the concerns of several political parties, especially in Tamil Nadu as they are worried about the Sri Lankan crisis and the influx of refugees in the state," the sources said.

In his recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar, Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin expressed his concern about the situation in Lanka and asked for permission to send relief material to the economically-hit nation.

Sri Lanka is facing an economic and political crisis. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, 73, had gone into hiding after protesters stormed his residence on July 9 and his resignation has been finally accepted by the Parliament Speaker. And even Interim President Ranil Wickramasinghe also announced his resignation as Prime Minister.

The 225-member Parliament will elect the new president by a vote on July 20.
Meanwhile, Wickremesinghe was sworn in as president on a temporary basis on Friday, and Sri Lanka's parliamentarians will cast their formal votes on July 20.

Currently, Sri Lanka is witnessing a severe shortage of fuel and other essential supplies and is in the throes of its worst economic crisis with soaring inflation. The oil supply shortage has forced schools and government offices to close until further notice.

Reduced domestic agricultural production, a lack of foreign exchange reserves, and local currency depreciation have fuelled the shortages.

Sri Lanka's multiple crises have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the collapse of the crucial tourism industry, which provides foreign currency for imported fuel and medical supplies, and rocked by the supply chain crisis precipitated by the Ukraine war.

The economic crisis will push families into hunger and poverty - some for the first time - adding to the half a million people who the World Bank estimates have fallen below the poverty line because of the pandemic.

Amidst the crisis in Sri Lanka, India has extended this year alone support of over USD 3.8 billion for ameliorating the serious economic situation in the island nation as a mark of its Neighbourhood First policy. (ANI)

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