External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will address a multi-stakeholder meeting on the crisis in Sri Lanka today

India has been the main source of foreign aid to Sri Lanka this year.

New Delhi:

The government today convened a multi-party meeting on the Sri Lankan crisis to be addressed by External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, with a severe shortage of foreign exchange hampering the import of essentials including food, fuel and medicine. The economic crisis has also triggered a political crisis in the country after a popular uprising against the government. Acting President Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared a state of emergency in the country.

In an all-party meeting convened ahead of the monsoon parliamentary session, the Tamil Nadu-based DMK and AIADMK demanded that India intervene in the crisis enveloping the neighboring country.

After the meeting, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman would brief leaders of various political parties on the Sri Lankan crisis at a multi-party meeting on Tuesday.

Now it is unclear whether Ms Sitharaman will address the meeting as she has tested positive for Covid.

The island nation off the southeastern tip of India needs around $5 billion over the next six months to cover the basic needs of its 22 million people, who are struggling with long lines, worsening shortages and power outages.

India has been the main source of foreign aid to Sri Lanka this year.

Sri Lankan protesters have vowed to continue their fight for comprehensive system change by abolishing the presidency, as the popular uprising, which ousted Gotabaya Rajapaksa as president, marked the 100th day on Sunday. The anti-government protest began on April 9 near the presidential office and continues uninterrupted.

Mr Rajapaksa, 73, who fled to the Maldives on Wednesday and then landed in Singapore on Thursday, formally resigned on Friday, capping a chaotic 72 hours in the crisis-ridden country that has seen protesters storm many iconic buildings, including the President and the Prime Minister’s Residences.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

Shirlene J. Manley