Exercise caution, examine currency convertibility: India urges its nationals in Sri Lanka
New Delhi, Aug 25: India on Thursday urged its citizens living in Sri Lanka to exercise caution and examine the currency convertibility and fuel situation in the island nation carefully.
"India is following the developments there. The safety and well-being of Indian nationals outside India and in Sri Lanka are of prime importance," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, adding, "Indians in the island country are the largest tourists."
Bagchi noted, "Our endeavour is to prevent any untoward incident involving Indians outside India. We would therefore encourage Indians to exercise all care and caution while in Sri Lanka. They should examine all relevant factors including currency convertibility and the fuel situation before undertaking any essential travel to Sri Lanka."
He further assured that the Indian government is in touch with local authorities over the safety of the Indian nationals in Sri Lanka.
To a question on whether Indians should travel to Sri Lanka, MEA spokesperson pointed out, "As regards to travel of Indians to Sri Lanka in the current situation, let me emphasize that the safety and well-being of Indian nationals during their stay outside India including in Sri Lanka, in this particular case, is always of prime importance," and added that Indians must exercise caution.
Notably, Sri Lanka is suffering its worst economic crisis since gaining independence in 1948.
India has been reiterating its stance to stand by the people of Sri Lanka at the time of crisis, saying that India has been at forefront of extending economic assistance to Sri Lanka and will continue to do so.
"India has been at forefront of extending economic assistance to Sri Lanka as per what they require and we are one of the countries that have provided the maximum amount of assistance at the time of need. We will continue to stand by the people of Sri Lanka in whatever manner we can," Bagchi had said.
India emerged as the first responder under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Neighbourhood First policy when Sri Lanka was left alone by its so-called benefactors for funding support.