New Delhi: United States Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator, Samantha Power on Wednesday hailed India’s response to Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.
She also called China a “predator” of the island nation.
Power, who is on a visit to the country from July 25-27, lauded India for its role in its neighbourhood and in assisting other developing nations. Talking about the Sri Lanka situation, she said, “India has reacted really swiftly.”
“Contrast this with the People’s Republic of China which has been an increasingly eager predator of Sri Lankan governance since the 2000s”
“Now Beijing has promised lines of credit and emergency loans…The biggest question is if China would restructure its loans like other bilateral creditors,” she said adding that Sri Lanka is not the only country in this trap, and many debt distressed countries in Asia and Africa are hoping “their calls will be answered”.
“It is really essential that Beijing engages invariably and on equitable terms with all other creditors”.
She also said that over the past two decades, China became Sri Lanka’s biggest creditor offering often opaque deals, and higher interest rates than other lenders. She said China gave credit for “headline grabbing project” with often questionable practical use for Sri Lankans, “including a massive port that generated little income and was barely used by ships. An equally massive airport dubbed the emptiest in the world… and the country’s tallest tower that was built as a tourist attraction yet was never opened to the public”.
Power also announced that the US will assist India in agroforestry, and the US will invest $ 25 million for plantation of trees along farms in partnership with the government of India, farmers, private companies and research institutes.