As Sri Lanka grapples with a massive economic crisis, India handed the island nation a large shipment of humanitarian aid worth over 2 billion rupees, which reached Colombo on Sunday.
The High Commissioner of India in Colombo, Gopal Baglay, handed over the shipment to the top leadership of the Sri Lankan government, Colombo Page reported. The shipment includes 9,000 tons of rice and 50 tons of milk powder, as well as over 25 tons of medicines and other pharmaceutical supplies.
Speaking to Twitter, the Indian High Commission in Colombo said: “A message of care! From the people of to the people of… The High Commissioner delivered rice, milk powder and medicines worth more than SLR 2 billion to Hon’ble FM Prof. GL Peiris today in #Colombo. Hon’ble Minister @nimaldsilva, @VajiraAbey, @SagalaRatnayaka, @S_Thondaman.”
Earlier, the Indian High Commission also tweeted: “The people of #India stand by their brothers in #SriLanka. More than SLR 2 billion worth of rice, milk powder and medicines are set to reach #Colombo on Sunday.”
Tamil Nadu Prime Minister Thiru MK Stalin dropped the humanitarian shipment at Chennai port on May 18. This is the first incoming shipment from the Tamil Nadu government which has pledged 40,000 tons of rice, 500 tons of powdered milk, and medicines.
“The Honorable Prime Minister @mkstalin has shipped 9000 tons of rice, 200 tons of spirit powder and 24 tons of essential medicines in a cargo ship to Sri Lanka to help the people of Sri Lanka,” the Sri Lankan Office of the Chief Minister tweeted.
The shipment will be distributed by the Sri Lankan government to multiple beneficiaries across the country, Colombo Page reported. The beneficiaries include the Northern, Eastern, Central and Western provinces covering different sectors of society.
In addition, various private and social organizations from India have helped Sri Lanka meet the urgent needs of the island nation. This support from the Indian people for Sri Lanka comes on top of the Indian government’s economic aid, which has totaled about US$3.5 billion since January this year.
Earlier, the Indian government had also sent dry rations, medicines and other essential supplies to Sri Lanka on a grant basis, Colombo Page reported.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since independence, with food and fuel shortages, soaring prices and power outages affecting many, prompting massive protests over the government’s handling of the situation.
India is becoming a stronger and more mutually beneficial partner for Sri Lanka. Aside from aid during the pandemic and the fertilizer chaos that saw India supplying nano-fertilizers to save Sri Lankan farmers, New Delhi now has nearly $3 billion to financially-struggled Colombo through currency swaps, credit lines for essentials and loan repayments pledged January 2022 to help Sri Lanka amid one of the worst economic crises in history.
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