Sri Lanka is not opposed to using the Indian rupee as a common currency: President Wickremesinghe


COLOMBO: Sri Lanka would like to see Indian rupees is used as US dollarPresident Ranil Wickremesinghe he said, a few days before his first visit to New Delhi.
Wickremesinghe, who is also the country’s cash-strapped finance minister, said this while addressing the India CEO Forum here this week.
Just as East Asia, including countries like Japan, Korea and China, saw tremendous growth 75 years ago, now it is India’s turn, along with The Indian Ocean region,” Wickremesinghe he said.
Wickremesinghe is expected to visit New Delhi next week, his first since becoming president a year ago amid the island’s economic and political crisis.
Wickremesinghe’s comments were in response to the chairman of the Forum, TS Prakash, who in his speech called for the Indian rupee to be used in Sri Lanka’s economy.
“There is no difference for us if India (Indian rupee) becomes a common currency. We need to know how to do it. We must be open to the outside world,” Wickremesinghe said.
“The world is changing and India is progressing fast, especially under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi”, he added.
He also said that Sri Lanka benefits from its proximity to India, including history, cultural heritage and trade relations that have existed for 2,500 years, the Daily Mirror quoted him as saying.
Wickremesinghe has steered the island nation out of the financial crisis and said the economy is improving despite delays.
“Once we complete the debt restructuring our focus will shift to a broader strategy. This includes a major restructuring of our economy, laws and systems that align our processes with India’s,” he said. Wickremesinghe
The 74-year-old Sri Lankan politician was elected through parliament to serve out the remainder of the term of ousted president Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Sri Lanka-India relations history shows that it was not unusual that Wickremesinghe’s visit to Delhi took a year to happen, experts noted.
India had thrown a way to save the last days of Rajapaksa’s presidency with a financial aid of 4 billion dollars.
Sri Lanka used India’s credit facilities to import essential goods and fuel as the country faced a cash crunch that led to massive street protests.
Meanwhile, the head of India’s mission in Sri Lanka Gopal Bagle, who was at the event on July 13, said that the Indian government and Indian businessmen will help the island nation recover from last year’s financial crisis.
“Despite the initial crisis, Indian businessmen started doing business in Sri Lanka to show the world that the country’s economy is stable,” Bagle told Sri Lankan media.


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