Bangladesh may postpone loan repayments, India assures fuel to save Sri Lanka


Neighbouring countries have come to the rescue of Sri Lanka from the ongoing economic crisis as massive protests demanding the ouster of the Rajapaksas from power continue. The Ecomic Times, in a recent report citing Sri Lankan officials, said that Bangladesh is keen to postpone a $450 million swap repayment while India will provide an additional $500 million in financial assistance to buy fuel. Meanwhile, assistance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will take about six months and it will be in tranches, they said. "During the intervening period, we need to find funds to keep our people supplied with essentials," a senior official Sri Lankan official told the India-based newspaper. Besides, the World Bank is also ready to provide emergency support to the country and protect its most vulnerable sections amid an unprecedented economic crisis. India has so far extended $2.5 billion in assistance. Whereas, China, whose large loans and investments to the island nation led to allegations of debt diplomacy, said it would provide "emergency humanitarian assistance" to Colombo, but remained silent on its plea for debt rescheduling. The Chinese government has decided to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka to help the country cope with the current difficulties, said Xu Wei, a spokesperson for China International Development Cooperation Agency. China has noticed Sri Lanka's economic difficulties, and as a traditional friendly neighbour, the Chinese government has decided to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to help it cope with the current difficulties, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Xu as saying on Tuesday. On Wednesday, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin repeated the same at a media briefing in Beijing. The "Chinese side has announced that it will provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka," Wang added. "We will continue to offer support and assistance to the best of our capability to help Sri Lanka reinvigorate its economy and improve people's livelihood," he said. Sri Lanka, which is on the brink of bankruptcy, is grappling with an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst since its independence from Britain in 1948.