Sri Lanka is in the midst of an acute crisis. Thousands of Sri Lankans are on the streets protesting shortages and the soaring cost of food, medicines and fuel. Long power cuts and no cooking gas are causing Sri Lankans unimaginable distress and suffering. Hospitals cannot perform routine surgeries, medicines are in short supply and school exams are being postponed due to the lack of paper. The country lacks foreign currency for the most basic imports and is in debt of over 50 billion dollars which it says it cannot repay for the time being. Sri Lankans are angry with the terrible economic mismanagement of their country and the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government. However, protests by the people are being suppressed in increasingly brutal ways and there is a sense that worse may come. What is the role of the much-debated China debt trap and should Sri Lanka accept a bailout from the International Monetary Fund?
Colombo-based Marlon Ariyasinghe, the Senior Assistant Editor for Himal Southasian magazine decodes the crisis in this episode of Beyond Nation and State.