Ship carrying Indian relief materials for Sri Lankan people reaches Colombo
An Indian ship carrying emergency relief items like rice, life-saving drugs and powdered milk for crisis-hit Sri Lankans arrived in Colombo on Sunday and the shipment was handed over to the island nation’s government.
Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay handed over to Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris the consignment which consists of 9,000 metric tons (MT) of rice, 50 MT of powdered milk and over 25 MT of medicines and other supplies medical.
“Sri Lanka today received humanitarian aid worth ₹2 billion including milk powder, rice and medicine from India. Our sincere gratitude to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, l ‘honourable @mkstalin, and to the people of India for the support given. I also appreciate the help given by @IndiainSL and CWC leader @S_Thondaman in Sri Lanka,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tweeted.
It is also the first shipment under a larger $16 million commitment of 40,000 tons of rice, 500 tons of powdered milk and medicine by the Tamil Nadu government, according to an official statement.
“A message of attention!!! From the people of India to the people of Sri Lanka… The High Commissioner today handed over rice, powdered milk and medicine worth over SLR 2 billion to the ‘Honourable FM Prof.GL Peiris in #Colombo,’ tweeted the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka.
“Further shipments from #India will follow,” he said in another tweet.
Speaking at the ceremony which was attended by several Lankan ministers, Foreign Minister Peiris said “India has never sent aid on this scale before”.
“They need to help us more and we would appreciate it,” Peiris said, adding that India had so far provided aid worth $4.5 billion.
Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister, MP Stalin, had lowered the ship loaded with relief supplies, the first to be sent to Sri Lanka, from Chennai on Wednesday.
The items will be distributed to vulnerable and needy sections in various parts of Sri Lanka including Northern, Eastern, Central and Western Provinces by the Government of Sri Lanka in the coming days.
“Further humanitarian consignments and other forms of assistance from India will follow. The multi-pronged efforts of the government and people of India underscore the importance attached to Sri Lanka and reflect their concern for the welfare of its people. people,” the statement said. .
The support given to Sri Lanka ranges from economic aid worth around $3.5 billion, to the supply of vaccines, test kits, nearly 1,000 tons of liquid oxygen to fight the COVID-19, an immediate response from the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to mitigate marine disasters, etc. added.
Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948. A crippling shortage of foreign exchange reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas and other basic necessities, while cuts of electricity and soaring food prices have aggravated the misery of the population.
The economic crisis has also triggered a political crisis in Sri Lanka and a demand for the resignation of the powerful Rajapaksas.
India said that as an eternal and reliable friend of Sri Lanka, New Delhi fully supports the island nation’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.
In line with India’s Neighborhood First policy, New Delhi has extended more than $3.5 billion worth of support to the Sri Lankan people this year alone to help them overcome their current hardships, the ministry said. External Affairs on May 10.
India on Saturday provided an additional 40,000 metric tonnes of diesel to Sri Lanka under the line of credit to the island nation which is grappling with its worst economic crisis.
India last month extended an additional $500 million line of credit to help Sri Lanka import fuel as the country struggles to pay for its imports after its foreign exchange reserves fell sharply in recent times. , causing a devaluation of its currency and galloping inflation.
Several private and social organizations from India have sent aid to Sri Lanka to meet various urgent needs. This outpouring of support for Sri Lanka among ordinary Indians is independent of the Indian government‘s economic aid which amounts to about $3.5 billion since January this year. In addition, medicines, dry rations, etc. were also sent by the Indian government on the basis of grants, according to the statement.