Foreign Affairs
India-Sri Lanka: Why India is Helping Sri Lanka?

India and Sri Lanka share a complex and multifaceted relationship encompassing trade, diplomacy, security, and cultural exchanges. The two countries have continued to strengthen their ties and collaborate on various regional issues for mutual benefit and regional stability.

The bilateral trade between the two countries includes a wide range of commodities, such as textiles, petroleum products, machinery, and chemicals. India has also provided financial assistance and investments in various infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka. India and Sri Lanka cooperate on security matters, particularly in areas such as counter-terrorism and maritime security. Both countries have conducted joint military exercises and intelligence-sharing operations to combat terrorism and ensure regional stability.

Sri Lankan Parliament Speaker has thanked India for providing financial assistance. The MP has described Colombo and Delhi as reliable friends of each other. Let us tell you that India had provided multi-dimensional assistance of USD 4 billion through several credit lines and currency support under the Neighborhood First policy to Sri Lanka, which was facing the last economic crisis.

The Government of Sri Lanka hosted a dinner for the members of the Indian Travel Congress. During this, Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abewardane said that India saved us during the financial crisis. Otherwise, there would have been a kind of genocide in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka and India are closely linked culturally, nationally and politically. Above all, India has been a reliable friend of Sri Lanka. India has always helped in times of trouble. India is ready to extend the restructuring of our debts by 12 years. No one in history has helped us like this, nor did we expect such help.

The Parliament Speaker said that India has saved us from the trouble that has befallen us. Referring to the Indian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay, the Speaker said Ambassador is a very close friend of ours. We love them. We respect him. On the similarity between Singh and Singhe, he said that it makes sense that we are genetically linked to India. India is not a new country for us. It is part of the ethos of our country. Part of our life. Part of our hearts.

We are here to welcome you, to honour you. We can engage with India without any hesitation. Indian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay, Sri Lankan Tourism and Lands Minister Harin Fernando and other senior officials of the Sri Lankan Government were present during this.

Security Concerns

India’s assistance to Sri Lanka can be attributed to its security concerns in the Indian Ocean region. The proximity of Sri Lanka to India’s southern coast makes it a vital strategic partner. The Indian Ocean serves as a major global trade route, and any instability in the region could impact India’s maritime security. By collaborating with Sri Lanka, India aims to maintain stability and prevent the emergence of any hostile forces that could pose a threat to its interests.

Counterterrorism Cooperation

India and Sri Lanka have joined forces in the fight against terrorism. Both countries have faced the menace of extremist groups, such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). India’s assistance to Sri Lanka during the civil war and its efforts in sharing intelligence highlight the commitment to combating terrorism. By helping Sri Lanka, India aims to prevent the spillover of terrorism and ensure regional security.

Balancing China’s Influence

India’s assistance to Sri Lanka can also be understood within the context of China’s growing presence in the region. Sri Lanka has witnessed substantial Chinese investments in infrastructure projects, raising concerns about strategic encroachment. In response, India seeks to maintain its influence and prevent Sri Lanka from becoming overly dependent on China. By supporting development initiatives and providing economic assistance, India aims to foster stronger ties and safeguard its regional standing.

Economic Collaboration

  • Trade and Investment

India and Sri Lanka share deep economic ties. As close neighbours, the two countries have significant trade relations and collaborate on various economic fronts. India is one of Sri Lanka’s major trading partners, and both countries are members of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). Through trade and investment, India contributes to Sri Lanka’s economic development, promoting growth, employment, and regional integration.

  • Infrastructure Development

India’s assistance extends to infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka. Initiatives such as the construction of roads, railways, and ports enhance connectivity and boost trade between the two countries. These projects not only strengthen bilateral ties but also have a broader regional impact, promoting economic integration and creating opportunities for sustainable development.

  • Humanitarian and Cultural Ties

India’s assistance to Sri Lanka goes beyond strategic and economic considerations. The two countries share historical, cultural, and humanitarian bonds that drive their collaboration. India has extended humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka during times of natural disasters and supported post-war reconciliation efforts. These actions reflect India’s commitment to regional stability and its desire to build a lasting partnership based on shared values and mutual understanding.

  • Development and Education

India’s assistance to Sri Lanka includes development projects in sectors such as education, healthcare, and agriculture. Scholarships and training programs offered by India help build the human resource capacity of Sri Lanka, empowering its citizens and promoting social progress. These initiatives play a crucial role in reducing poverty, improving living standards, and promoting sustainable development.

India’s assistance to Sri Lanka can be attributed to a combination of strategic, economic, and humanitarian factors. From a strategic perspective, India seeks to safeguard its maritime security, counter-terrorism, and maintain regional stability. Economically, India contributes to Sri Lanka’s growth through trade, investment, and infrastructure development. Moreover, India’s humanitarian assistance reflects its commitment to fostering reconciliation, social progress, and cultural ties.

The partnership between India and Sri Lanka is built on a foundation of shared history, cultural affinity, and cooperation. By helping Sri Lanka, India not only reinforces its regional influence but also contributes to the larger goal of creating a stable and prosperous South Asia.

Balancing China's InfluenceCounterterrorism CooperationEconomic CollaborationForeign AffairsForeign policyIndiaIndia-Sri LankaSecurity ConcernsSri LankaWhy India is Helping Sri Lanka