Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa will visit India to hold talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, foreign minister GL Peiris said today.
His will visit India in the next few days, Peiris told reporters, adding that the schedule is being worked out jointly with the Indian High Commission i Colombo, according to the CNN-News18.
Finance Minister Rajapaksa’s visit assumes significance in the backdrop of negotiations sought by Colombo for an Indian credit line to pay for the island’s fuel purchases. Last week, Sri Lanka temporarily shut down its only oil refinery for 50 days following the non-availability of crude oil supplies due to the ongoing severe foreign exchange crisis in the country.
Foreign Minister Peiris, however, said that Rajapaksa would not ask for Indian loans but to enhance Indian investment. We have strong relations with India, not just focused on one area, he said, adding that Rajapaksa would call on Prime Minister Modi.
India has been generous with Sri Lanka’s calls for assistance whenever the need arose in the past, Peiris said. Finance Minister Rajapaksa is fresh from presenting his maiden budget – the 2022 budget aimed at raising taxes while anticipating more state revenue from jacked up cigarette and liquor retail prices.