Sri Lanka seeks additional $1.36 billion credit line from India

Sri Lanka is in the midst of its worst economic crisis in decades. PHOTO: AFP

COLOMBO (REUTERS) - Sri Lanka has sought an additional credit line of US$1 billion (S$1.36 billion) from India to import essentials amid its worst economic crisis in decades, two sources said on Monday (March 28), as the Indian Foreign Minister began talks with the government of its neighbour.

Sri Lanka faces an economic crisis as it struggles to pay for essential imports of food and fuel after a 70 per cent drop in foreign exchange reserves since January 2020 led to a currency devaluation and efforts to seek help from global lenders.

New Delhi has indicated it would meet the request for the new line, to be used for importing essential items such as rice, wheat flour, pulses, sugar and medicines, said one of the sources briefed on the matter.

"Sri Lanka has requested an additional US$1 billion credit line from India for imports of essentials," the second source said. "This will be on top of the US$1 billion credit line already pledged by India."

Both sources declined to be identified as the discussions were confidential.

The finance and foreign ministries of Sri Lanka, as well as India's Foreign Ministry, did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment.

Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa signed the earlier credit line of US$1 billion in the Indian capital of New Delhi this month to help pay for critical imports by the Indian Ocean island nation.

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