AKIPRESS.COM - India is providing food and fuel to Sri Lanka to help them cope with the ongoing economic crisis in the Island Nation, Business Standard reported.
Sri Lanka is reeling under a deep economic crisis as the country's foreign reserves have been depleted and the Rajapaksa government is struggling to pay for the import of fuel. Sri Lanka's economy has been in a free fall since the COVID-19 pandemic due to the crash of the tourism sector.
As a result, there is an acute power shortage in the country and violent protests are being reported. The government has declared an emergency and a countrywide 36-hour curfew has been imposed due to the protest on Sunday as of now around 600 protesters have been arrested.
In these difficult times, India has come forward to bail the island nation out of the crisis. India has responded to urgent requests from Sri Lanka with promptness.
"Since January this year, support from India to Sri Lanka exceeds $ 2.5 billion. A fuel line of credit of $ 500 million was signed in February. Four consignments totaling over 150,000 tons of jet aviation fuel, diesel and petrol have since arrived beginning in March. Five more consignments are to follow till May. Another line of credit of $ 1 billion for food, medicine and essential items was signed last month," said Gopal Baglay India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka.
The first consignment of rice from India is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka shortly under this credit facility. India on Saturday delivered 40,000 MT of diesel to Sri Lanka to help ease the power crisis in the island country which is witnessing acute power cuts.
As part of the $ 500 million oil line of credit (LoC) extended by India to Sri Lanka, this is the fourth consignment of fuel delivered from India to Sri Lanka. Further, India has supplied around 200,000 MT of fuel to the island nation over the last 50 days.
India’s national bank “Reserve Bank of India” has extended a currency swap of $ 400 million and deferred payments owed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Asian Clearance Union worth several hundred million dollars.
India's prompt assistance for the people of Sri Lanka at this hour has been appreciated by all sections of the Sri Lankan society.
India’s Deputy Minister of State for External Affairs Dr Rajkumar Ranjan on Monday said that Indian principles have always been to help others. The situation is very bad in Sri Lanka. There may be several factors but on humanitarian grounds, we are giving food, and fuel to at least cope up with some of the issues faced by the people of Sri Lanka, said the minister.
On Sunday, 26 Sri Lankan Cabinet Ministers resigned from their positions amid rising public anger against the government over the economic crisis.
Following the mass resignation of his Cabinet ministers, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday named at least four ministers, to maintain legitimacy and stability of Parliament and other functions of the country until a full Cabinet is appointed, even as he asked opposition members to join a unity government in the face of protests against the economic crisis.