Wednesday, India categorically denied “baseless and speculative” media reports that it facilitated the travel of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who fled to the Maldives on a military jet in the face of a public revolt against his government’s economic mismanagement.
Wednesday marked the departure of Sri Lanka’s 73-year-old president, his wife, and two security personnel aboard a military jet.
“The High Commission categorically denies baseless and speculative media reports that India facilitated @gotabayar @Realbrajapaksa’s recent reported departure from Sri Lanka,” the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka tweeted.
“It is reaffirmed that India will continue to support the Sri Lankan people as they strive to realize their aspirations for prosperity and progress through democratic means and values, established democratic institutions, and a constitutional framework,” the statement continued.
In a brief statement, the Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) stated that in accordance with the Constitutional authority granted to an Executive President, Mr. Rajapaksa was flown to the Maldives on a Sri Lanka Air Force aircraft on Wednesday morning.
The President, his wife, and two security officials were provided with a Sri Lanka Air Force plane to depart from the Katunayake international airport for the Maldives in the early hours of July 13, per the government’s request and the President’s Constitutional powers, with the ministry of defense’s full approval.
Mr. Rajapaksa announced on Saturday that he would resign on Wednesday after thousands of protesters stormed his official residence, blaming him for the unprecedented economic crisis that has brought the nation to its knees.