India would continue to stand by the people of Sri Lanka, the Ministry of External Affairs said

Describing Sri Lanka as an important neighbour, India on Thursday said it was closely monitoring the evolving situation there.

“We are monitoring the evolving situation in Sri Lanka… Our ties with Sri Lanka are historic and comprehensive and we continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders in that country,” Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

”We look forward to an early solution to the situation related to the government and the leadership through democratic means,” Bagchi said at the weekly media briefing.

Replying to questions revolving around the situation in the country, he said that India would continue to stand by the people of Sri Lanka as they seek to realise their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values as well as established institutions and constitutional framework.

Bagchi pointed out that India had extended support of over USD 3.8 billion this year to help it tide over the economic crisis.

The comments came on a day that Gotabaya Rajapaksa sent in his resignation as Sri Lanka's President via e-mail after reaching Singapore via Maldives. A formal announcement accepting the resignation will be made by the Parliament Speaker's Office, news reports from Colombo said.

Sri Lanka's political crisis turned grim earlier this week as thousands of angry protestors stormed the Presidential Palace and the Rajapaksa left Sri Lanka along with his wife.

The Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka has dismissed as "baseless" and "speculative" media reports that said that India had facilitated Rajapaksa's exit from the country. This was reiterated by the MEA Spokesperson at Thursday's media briefing.