Colombo, June 24: India provided a humanitarian consignment worth more than SLR 3 billion to Sri Lanka, which is facing the worst economic crisis since its independence.
According to the High Commission of India in Colombo, the consignment comprises rice, milk powder and essential medicines. "From the people of #India to the people of #SriLanka!!! High Commissioner, Hon'ble Ministers @Keheliya_R, Nalin Fernando, MPs, various dignitaries and officials welcomed a large humanitarian consignment worth more than SLR 3 billion from #Tuticorn today. The 15,000 MT consignment consists of rice, milk powder and essential medicines," the High Commission said in a tweet.
India was among the first few countries to extend its aid to Sri Lanka to mitigate the unprecedented economic crisis. New Delhi has provided a concessional loan of $1 billion to Sri Lanka for the supply of food, fuel, medicines, and other essential items.
In May, the food inflation in Sri Lanka stood at 57.4 per cent, while shortages of key food items, as well as fuel for cooking, transport, and industry, remain widespread, with ongoing daily power outages.
The economy is bracing for a sharp contraction due to the unavailability of basic inputs for production, an 80 per cent depreciation of the currency (since March 2022), coupled with a lack of foreign reserves and the country's failure to meet its international debt obligations.
The high-level Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra visited Sri Lanka recently and underscored that the recent economic, financial and humanitarian assistance of over $3.5 billion to the island country was guided by New Delhi's "Neighbourhood First" Policy.
The delegation comprising Ajay Seth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, V Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor and Kartik Pande, Joint Secretary, Indian Ocean Region, Ministry of External Affairs was in Colombo on Thursday.
The delegation had meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during the visit. The talks between the two sides were held in a frank, cordial and constructive manner, the High Commission of India Colombo said in a statement. Both sides had a productive exchange of views on the current economic situation in Sri Lanka as well as India's ongoing support.