Quad to help Sri Lanka to avoid economic meltdown: US Senate
Quad to help Sri Lanka to avoid economic meltdown: US Senate

NEW YORK: Senator Bob Menendez of the United States has asked the Quad to assist Sri Lanka in avoiding "an economic implosion".

He acknowledged India's assistance to Colombo in a letter to India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, writing: "The Quad can lead the way in striving to avoid an economic implosion in Sri Lanka that might start a humanitarian crisis with wider, destabilising regional implications."

"To avoid a breakdown, New Delhi has already taken a proactive role in giving finance and humanitarian aid to the Sri Lankan government." The letter was also addressed to Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, Hayashi Yoshimasa, the Japanese Foreign Minister, and Penny Wong, the Australian Foreign Minister.

Menendez, who chairs the Senate panel that oversees key foreign policy issues and diplomatic appointments, recommended using the Quad Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Mechanism (HADR) launched at the bloc's meeting in Tokyo last month to assist Sri Lanka.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told the Associated Press over the weekend that he would be open to buying additional oil from Russia and receiving financial assistance from China, to which the country is already significantly in debt.

Although one of the Quad's goals is to counter China's aggressive posture in the Indo-Pacific region, the bloc has stayed away from joint military cooperation and instead focused on humanitarian efforts in the region, such as a programme to manufacture, finance, and distribute 500 million Covid vaccines to counter Beijing's growing influence.

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