As protesters continue to occupy Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence, India today said that it stands with the people of Sri Lanka. In a carefully crafted statement, the Foreign Ministry said, "India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realise their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and constitutional framework."
Pointing to the financial aid that India extended to the island nation as it battles its worst economic crisis, the statement said Sri Lanka occupies a central place in its Neighbourhood First policy.
"India is Sri Lanka's closest neighbour and our two countries share deep civilisational bonds," it added.
Meanwhile, the anti-government protesters in Sri Lanka who broke into President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's official residence have claimed to have recovered millions of rupees inside his mansion, according to a media report on Sunday.
A video is being shared on social media showing the protesters counting the currency notes that were unearthed. The recovered money was said to be handed over to the security units, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported.
Hundreds of anti-government protesters on Saturday barged into President Rajapaksa's residence in central Colombo's high-security Fort area after breaking the barriers, as they demanded his resignation over the island nation's worst economic crisis in recent memory. Another group of protesters entered the private residence of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and set it on fire.
Sri Lanka, a country of 22 million people, is under the grip of an unprecedented economic turmoil, the worst in seven decades, crippled by an acute shortage of foreign exchange that has left it struggling to pay for essential imports of fuel, and other essentials.