An Indian ship carrying urgent relief supplies, including 9,000 metric tons (MT) of rice, 50 MT of milk powder, 25 MT of vital medicines and other medical supplies for the crisis-affected population of Sri Lanka, arrived in Colombo on Sunday. Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay handed over the shipment to Sri Lankan Foreign Minister GL Peiris.
“Sri Lanka today received humanitarian aid worth Rs 2 billion including milk powder, rice and medicine from India. Our sincere thanks to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Hon. @mkstalin, and the people of India for their support. I also appreciate the assistance. given by @IndiainSL and CWC leader @S_Thondaman in Sri Lanka,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tweeted.
Sri Lanka today received Rs. Humanitarian aid worth 2 billion, including milk powder, rice and medicines from India. Our sincere thanks to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, H.E. @mkstalin and to the People of India for the support provided (1/2)
—Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) May 22, 2022
This is also the first shipment under a larger commitment of USD 16 million of 40,000 MT of rice, 500 MT of milk powder 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 delivered rice, milk powder and medicines worth over SLR 2 billion to Hon. FM Prof. GL Peiris in #Colombo today.” the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka tweeted. “More shipments from #India to follow,” he said in another tweet.
Speaking at the ceremony in Colombo, which was attended by a number of Lankan ministers, Foreign Minister Peiris said: “India has never sent any assistance on this scale anywhere before. They should help us more, for which we would be grateful.” Peiris added that India has provided $4.5 billion worth of assistance so far.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had flagged down the ship loaded with relief supplies, the first to be sent to Sri Lanka, from Chennai on Wednesday. The items will be distributed among the vulnerable and needy sections in various parts of Sri Lanka including the Northern, Eastern, Central and Western provinces by the Sri Lankan government in the coming days. “More humanitarian shipments and other forms of assistance from India will follow. The multi-pronged effort by both the government and the people of India underscores the importance attached to Sri Lanka and reflects their concern for the welfare of its people,” the statement said. .
The support provided to Sri Lanka ranges from economic assistance worth around USD 3.5 billion, supply of vaccines, test kits, close to 1000 MT of liquid oxygen to combat COVID-19, immediate response from the Navy and Coast Guard of India to mitigate marine disasters, etc. aggregate.
Sri Lanka is enduring its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948. A crippling shortage of foreign exchange reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas and other essentials, while power cuts and rising prices of food have plunged people into misery. The economic crisis has also triggered a political crisis in Sri Lanka and a demand for the resignation of the powerful Rajapaksas.
India has said that as an eternal and trusted friend of Sri Lanka, New Delhi fully supports the island nation’s democracy, stability and economic recovery. In accordance with the India Neighborhood First policy, New Delhi has provided over $3.5 billion worth of support to the Sri Lankan people this year alone to help them overcome their current difficulties, the Foreign Ministry said on 10 June. may.
On Saturday, India provided another 40,000 metric tons of diesel to Sri Lanka under the credit line to the island nation facing its worst economic crisis.
Last month, India extended an additional $500 million credit line to help Sri Lanka import fuel, as the country has been struggling to pay for imports after its foreign exchange reserves plummeted in recent times. which caused a devaluation of its currency and spiraling inflation.
Various private and social organizations in India have sent aid to Sri Lanka to fulfill various urgent requirements. This large amount of support for Sri Lanka among ordinary Indians is apart from the economic assistance from the Government of India, which has been in the order of US$3.5 billion since January this year. In addition, the Indian government has also sent medicines, dry rations, etc. in the form of a subsidy, according to the statement.