Indo-US strategic allies hold up Sri Lanka’s struggling politics, economy


India and the United states have been strengthening their strategic partnership to assist Sri Lanka’s political and economic stability.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee expressed concern about the postponement of Local Government (LG) elections in light of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s declaration that there are insufficient funds to hold local government elections and his assumption of office to lead the nation in rescuing Sri Lanka from its severe economic crisis without holding elections, Mawrata News reported.

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee criticised the postponement of the local government elections in Sri Lanka, which is igniting public anger. According to them, any effort to muffle the voice of the Sri Lankan people is categorically undemocratic and a flagrant violation of their rights. They suggested having democratic municipal elections straight away.

With a focus on boosting security and fostering economic growth, India and the US have recently strengthened their strategic alliance in the Indo-Pacific region. They have both committed to helping Sri Lanka during its current crisis, with India offering USD 4 billion in aid through 2022 while the US donated over 3.4 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines and over USD 17.9 million to Sri Lanka during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According a report in Mawrata News, there hasn’t been a unanimous decision, despite the present outcry by Sri Lankans over soaring living costs and high taxes on the general public to get an IMF USD 2.9 billion rescue package favoured by India, Japan, and the US. The country is still in serious danger as a result of the delays brought on by China’s lack of assistance. Nonetheless, the Sri Lankan populace had just lately called for a political solution before the crisis.

Along with the implementation of the 13A, which would empower provinces–including the Northern province–access to land and police authority, India has also pushed for LG elections.

A few days ago, Vinod K Jacob, India’s deputy high commissioner in Sri Lanka, said that trading in national currencies, ease of investment, and strengthening financial cooperation could all be prioritised. Also, the two parties are collaborating to enhance connectivity in the energy, digital, and ferry sectors. He also stressed the demand for a fresh approach to development cooperation partnerships that build on the already substantial multibillion-dollar portfolio while putting disadvantaged populations at the forefront. Further emphasising that it is crucial to enhance the relations in the areas of culture, religion, music, film, and sports for both parties’ mutual advantage, he added that both sides must improve people-to-people exchanges, particularly in tourist movements. The US Senate has also reiterated its support for Sri Lanka for a bright future in which the two countries’ relations may grow even closer.

One of the original ten standing committees of the Senate, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has consistently emphasised the value of transparent governance, read a report in Mawrata News.

On the Indian side, the Sri Lankan Defense Forces soldiers received training on the Indian Naval Ship Sukanya in Colombo on February 28, 2023. According to India, the most significant and durable component of India and Sri Lanka’s bilateral defence cooperation is training.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy High Commissioner said that the Indian Defence Forces offer Sri Lanka roughly 1,500 training slots annually, which are paid for through a unique programme with a $7 million annual budget.

The best defence schools in India, including the National Defence College, Indian Military Academy, Air Force Academy, and Indian Naval Academy, train cadets. There are also a number of staff courses and service-specific training modules available. Sri Lanka is the nation having the greatest number of billets for National Defense College and Higher Defense Management courses. The Deputy High Commissioner said that the fact that some of these graduates are now serving as Service Chiefs in Sri Lanka is a major source of pride for India, reported Mawrata News.__Business Standard