Colombo, June 4: In line with its "neighbourhood first" policy, India again came forward to help Sri Lanka during its economic crisis as High Commissioner to Colombo, Gopal Baglay on Friday handed a total of 3.3 tonne of essential medical supplies to the 1990 Suwaseriya Ambulance Service.
Baglay said External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was apprised of the looming shortage of medical supplies faced by the foundation during his visit to Suwaseriya Headquarters in Colombo in March 2022.
"Another promise to the people of #SriLanka delivered!!! During his visit in March, EAM @DrSJaishankar was apprised of shortages of medicines faced by @1990SuwaSeriya. High Commissioner handed over 3.3 tons of medical supplies today to help the vital lifeline run smoothly," Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka tweeted.
Responding to the urgent need for medical supplies, the High Commission said the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Gharial was specially deployed for this purpose. In addition to Suwaseriya Foundation, medical supplies for General Hospital Hambantota, Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya and Teaching Hospital, Jaffna have also been carried onboard INS Gharial, Daily Mirror reported.
"More than 25 tonne of drugs and medical supplies that were donated by the government and people of India during the last two months are valued at close to SLR 370 million. This is in addition to the economic assistance of around USD 3.5 billion and supply of other humanitarian supplies such as rice, milk powder, kerosene etc," the statement added.
Earlier, on May 27, acting High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka Vinod K Jacob handed over a consignment of over 25 tonne of medical supplies to Minister of Health, Keheliya Rambukwella in Colombo.
Taking to Twitter, the High Commission of India in Sri Lanka said the consignment was valued at close to Rs 260 million. These humanitarian supplies are in continuation of the Government of India's ongoing support to the people of Sri Lanka in multiple forms such as financial assistance, forex support, material supply and many more.
These efforts prove that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Neighborhood First' policy which places people-to-people engagement is still active. These are complemented by the people of India who have also been donating generously to their brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, according to the Colombo Page.
India is becoming a stronger and more mutually beneficial partner to Sri Lanka. Apart from assistance during the pandemic and fertiliser chaos, India is also donating the basic products for island nations.