Colombo [Sri Lanka], January 22 (ANI): China has been desperately trying to catch up with India's economic support to Sri Lanka but to no avail, as per local media reports.
A report by The Sunday Morning said China sent a letter to Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry last week expressing its support for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme being pursued by the island nation amid the unprecedented economic crisis.
This development comes a few days after India backed the island nation's efforts to secure a loan from the global lender, as the country seeks assurances that debt will be restructured as per the IMF programme.
The report said the Sri Lankan Government was expecting the Chinese government to respond in a positive manner to the debt restructuring programme, like India. However, the Chinese have sent a letter to Sri Lanka's Finance Ministry saying that it would support the IMF programme.
"However, we will continue with the negotiations (debt restructuring) and hope for the best," the source told The Sunday Morning, reiterating that the response received from China fell short of what was expected.
The report further noted that India's willingness to cooperate with the major creditor countries on the issue of Sri Lanka's debt restructuring is not being shared by the Chinese.
Notably, Sri Lanka is awaiting the IMF bailout to relieve the worst-ever economic crisis the country is going through.
Earlier this week, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar underscored that India's unprecedented financial support of USD 4 billion last year was in line with the 'Neighbourhood First' Policy.
During his two-day visit to the country, Jaishankar pointed out that India was the first creditor nation of Sri Lanka to support debt restructuring and convey financing assurances to IMF to clear the way forward for securing the IMF programme.
"He added that India will encourage greater investments in the Sri Lankan economy, in several key sectors. He emphasized that India is prepared to go the extra mile when Sri Lanka feels the need," the Indian High Commission said in a statement.
Jaishankar welcomed the in-principle agreement on a renewable energy framework in the context of addressing Sri Lanka's energy security challenges. (ANI)