Ship carrying emergency relief materials from India for Sri Lankan people reaches Colombo

On Sunday, an Indian ship carrying emergency relief supplies such as rice, life-saving medicines, and milk powder for the people of crisis-hit Sri Lanka landed in Colombo and was turned over to the island nation’s administration.

The shipment, which includes 9,000 metric tonnes of rice, 50 metric tonnes of milk powder, and more than 25 metric tonnes of pharmaceuticals and other medical supplies, was handed over to Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris by Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay.

“Sri Lanka today received ₹2 Billion worth Humanitarian aid including milk powder, rice and medicines from India. Our sincere gratitude to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Hon. @mkstalin and the People of India for the support extended. I also appreciate the assistance given by the @IndiainSL and CWC Leader @S_Thondaman in Sri Lanka,” Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tweeted.

According to an official release, this is also the first consignment under a wider $16 million pledge by the Tamil Nadu government for 40,000 MT of rice, 500 MT of milk powder, and pharmaceuticals.

“A message of care!!! From the people of India to the people of Sri Lanka… High Commissioner handed over rice, milk powder & medicines worth more than SLR 2 billion to Hon’ble FM Prof.G.L Peiris in #Colombo today,” the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka tweeted.

“More consignments from #India to follow,” it said in another tweet.

Speaking at the ceremony here attended by several Lankan ministers, Foreign Minister Peiris said “India has not sent any assistance anywhere of this scale ever before”.

“They are to assist us more for which we would be grateful,” Mr. Peiris said, adding that India had so far extended assistance worth $4.5 billion.

On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin sent off a ship packed with relief supplies from Chennai, the first to be dispatched to Sri Lanka.

In the coming days, the supplies will be handed to vulnerable and needy people in various parts of Sri Lanka, including the Northern, Eastern, Central, and Western Provinces.

“More humanitarian consignments and other forms of assistance from India shall follow. Multi-pronged endeavour by both the Government and people of India underlines the importance attached to Sri Lanka and reflects their concerns for the well-being of its people,” said the release.

Economic support worth roughly $3.5 billion has been provided to Sri Lanka, as well as vaccines, testing kits, close to 1000 MT of liquid oxygen to battle COVID-19, and fast response by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to reduce marine disasters, according to the statement.

Sri Lanka is experiencing its biggest economic crisis since its 1948 independence. Long lines for fuel, cooking gas, and other commodities have formed due to a catastrophic scarcity of foreign funds, while power outages and increasing food costs have added to the people’s misery.

The economic crisis has sparked a political crisis in Sri Lanka, with demands for the strong Rajapaksas to quit.

As an enduring and dependable ally of Sri Lanka, India has stated that it completely supports the island nation’s democracy, stability, and economic recovery.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, in line with India’s Neighbourhood First policy, New Delhi has provided over $3.5 billion in aid to the people of Sri Lanka this year alone to assist them in overcoming their current troubles.

Sri Lanka received another 40,000 metric tonnes of diesel from India on Saturday as part of a credit line facility for the island nation, which is experiencing its worst economic crisis in decades.

India offered an additional $500 million credit line to Sri Lanka this month to assist the country pay for imports after its foreign exchange reserves plunged drastically in recent months, creating a depreciation of its currency and skyrocketing inflation.

Several Indian private and social organisations have given aid to Sri Lanka to cover a variety of pressing needs. This outpouring of support for Sri Lanka among ordinary Indians comes in addition to the government of India’s economic help, which has totaled roughly $3.5 billion since January of this year. The government of India has also given medications, dry meals, and other items on a grant basis, according to the statement.