Sri Lankan Defense Ministry rejects reports about Indian troops in country

The Sri Lankan Defense Ministry on Saturday rejected social media speculation that Indian Armed troops had arrived in the island nation to help maintain law and order, amid growing public protests on rising prices and scarcity of essential commodities.

Secretary, Defense Ministry, Kamal Gunaratne told news personnel that local troops were capable of handling any national security emergency and no such aid from outside was required.

Gunaratne said the photographs which have started to trend on social media are from a year ago when Indian troops conducted a joint security exercise with Sri Lanka.

Separately, the Indian High Commission also issued a statement categorically dismissing the reports.

“High Commission (of India) strongly denies blatantly false and completely baseless reports in a section of media that India is dispatching its soldiers to Sri Lanka. The High Commission also condemns such irresponsible reporting and expects those concerned to desist from spreading rumors,” the Indian commission said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a special gazette notification late on Friday night, declaring a public emergency in Sri Lanka with immediate effect from April 1.

The move also came as the island nation braced for country-wide protests on Sunday against the government’s poor handling of the ongoing economic crisis where people currently endure long hours of power outages and scarcity of essentials.

Sri Lanka is currently experiencing its worst economic crisis in history, with long lines for fuel, cooking gas, and a rapidly depreciating Sri Lankan rupee.

Rajapaksa has defended his government actions, saying the foreign exchange crisis was not his making and the economic downturn was largely pandemic driven where the island’s tourism revenue and inward remittances waned.

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