Press Trust of india

Consignment of over 25 tonnes of medical supplies from India reaches crisis-hit Lanka

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Colombo:  India on Friday handed over 25 tonnes of medical supplies worth over USD 700,000 to Sri Lanka as part of its ongoing efforts to help the island nation combat its worst economic crisis and shortage of medicines.

“Ongoing commitment to the people of #SriLanka!!!…,” the High Commission of India in Colombo tweeted.

Acting High Commissioner Vinod K Jacob handed over the donation of more than 25 tonnes of medical supplies with a value of SLR 260 million (USD 732,970 approx) to Sri Lankan Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella in Colombo, it said, sharing photographs of the consignment handover.

The humanitarian supplies which came on board INS Gharial also include kerosene for use by Sri Lankan fishermen, the High Commission said in another tweet, adding that these supplies will be distributed among the beneficiaries in the coming days.

Last month, India extended an additional USD 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 sharply in recent times, causing a devaluation of its currency and spiralling inflation.

Meanwhile, the office of the India’s Defence Minister tweeted that the INS Gharial, which is in Colombo to deliver critical relief material, got a “surprise call” from Rajnath Singh during which he appreciated the efforts of the Indian Navy and emphasised on ‘neighbourhood first’ policy and “strong ties with our closest maritime neighbour”.

Last week, India had sent urgent relief supplies comprising 9,000 metric tonnes (MT) of rice, 200 MT milk powder and 24 MT life-saving medicines with a combined value of Rs 45 crore to Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948. A crippling shortage of foreign reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas and other essentials while power cuts and soaring food prices heaped misery on the people.

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 reliable friend of Sri Lanka, New Delhi is fully supportive of the island nation’s democracy, stability and economic recovery.

In keeping with India’s Neighbourhood First policy, New Delhi has extended this year alone support worth over USD 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka for helping them overcome their current difficulties, the Ministry of External Affairs said on May 10.

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