In a recent address to students at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), India’s External Affairs Minister, Dr. S Jaishankar, encouraged citizens to consider Sri Lanka as their next holiday destination. The minister emphasized the significance of fostering stronger ties with neighboring countries and revealed India’s pivotal role in assisting Sri Lanka during challenging times.

During his talk on ‘India’s role in the global stage’ and the insights from his recently published book ‘Why Bharat Matters,’ Jaishankar shared his personal advice, stating, “My first advice to you would be, the next time you want to take a holiday, go to Sri Lanka. I’m serious. Please go to Sri Lanka. Mix with the normal person in Sri Lanka and ask them, what do you think about India? And I can tell you, you will feel yourself grow with that answer.”

Highlighting India’s support during Sri Lanka’s crisis, Jaishankar underscored the proactive role India played. “We are the first country who helped Sri Lanka in its crisis,” he remarked. Recounting a specific instance during a fuel shortage in Colombo, the minister revealed, “People were pushing their cars to the petrol bunk to get petrol, and there were queues of kilometers doing this. The country was running out of food, it couldn’t get essential commodities.”

Jaishankar continued, shedding light on India’s significant financial assistance, stating, “At a time when the rest of the world turned its back on Sri Lanka, the only country which came forward, and came forward not in a small way, we actually committed four and a half billion dollars to Sri Lanka.” He compared this to the negotiations Sri Lanka had with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), stating that India’s support was 50% more substantial than the IMF package, which was less than $3 billion.

The minister concluded by urging citizens to personally experience the warmth of relations between the two nations, suggesting that such interactions would offer valuable insights into the perspectives of the average Sri Lankan.

India’s commitment to its neighbors and the call for closer ties with Sri Lanka marks a significant diplomatic move, emphasizing the importance of regional collaboration and support during times of crisis. (