NEW DELHI: The unprecedented developments in Sri Lanka were inevitable in the face of people’s fury at the Rajapaksa family for its handling of the economic crisis, leading strategic business experts in India said on Sunday.
At the same time, they said the economic situation was unlikely to improve dramatically just because the president Gotabaya Rajapaksa decided to step down, paving the way for the formation of a multi-party government.
Embattled President Rajapaksa announced on Saturday that he would step down on July 13, hours after thousands of angry protesters stormed his official residence and burned down the private home of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
Wickremesinghe also announced that he would resign.
“It was becoming inevitable. Popular sentiment had turned against the Rajapaksas. They lost their political capital,” Ambassador Ashok K. Kantha said PTI.
Kantha, who served as Indian high commissioner to Sri Lanka from 2009 to 2013, said there was “pretty strong political demand and consensus” for the Rajapaksas to step down.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, elder brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, resigned on May 9 after massive anti-government protests rocked Sri Lanka.
Ambassador G Parthasarathy, who has been sent from India to several countries including Myanmar and Pakistan, said the tumultuous events in Colombo are a reflection of “public anger”.
“They didn’t target any diplomatic mission or other institution. It was very carefully targeted, which delivered results as a coalition government prepares,” he said.
Kantha said Sri Lanka does not have the luxury of time as the economic crisis is “unprecedented” and will not go away just because Gotabaya Rajapaksa steps down.
“I think the new government has to come as soon as possible and try to deal with the crisis,” he said.
Ambassador Parthasarathy has slammed Western powers for failing to support Sri Lanka during its hours of crisis while pouring billions of dollars in aid to Ukraine.
He praised India for its generous assistance to Sri Lanka.
Another veteran diplomat, Ashok Sajjanhar, blamed the “arrogance” of the Rajapaksa brothers for the current crisis in Sri Lanka.
“The developments in Sri Lanka are disturbing and worrying. I think the Sri Lankan leadership, especially President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, should have decided to step down much earlier,” Sajjanhar told PTI.
“Even now he is dragging his feet. Why does he say he will step down on July 13? What is the sanctity of July 13? He should leave immediately and pave the way for the formation of a multi-party government at the earliest, ” he said.
Regarding India’s reaction to the developments in Sri Lanka, Ambassador Kantha described it as “balanced and carefully crafted”.
In its first reaction to the massive political unrest in Colombo, India said on Sunday that it supports the people of Sri Lanka in their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means, values, established institutions and a constitutional framework. .
“India stands with the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established institutions and a constitutional framework,” the spokesperson said. of the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi.

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