Appreciate India's support, Sri Lankan Prime Minister says amid economic crisis
India has been providing financial and humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has praised India for extending support amid the continuing economic crisis and expressed a desire to further strengthen ties between the two nations.
"I had a conversation with India's Minister of Finance @nsitharaman today. I expressed our country’s appreciation for the support India has extended during this difficult period. I look forward to further strengthening ties between our nations," he tweeted on Friday.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe also expressed his gratitude to India and Japan.
"I am grateful for the positive response from India and Japan on the proposal made for the Quad members (United States, India, Japan, and Australia) to take the lead in setting up a foreign aid consortium to assist Sri Lanka," he said on Twitter.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister's comments came on a day that India donated a consignment of drugs and other medical supplies as the island nation continued to grapple with a severe economic crisis.
The consignment which weighs more than 25 tons is valued at close to SLR 260 million, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka said.
In addition to medical supplies,
Indian Naval Ship (INS) Gharial also carried kerosene for the use of fishermen in Sri Lanka. The consignment of kerosene shall be distributed among the beneficiaries by Ceylon Fisheries Harbour Corporation in the coming days, the High Commission said.
The medical consignment was donated in response to requests by various organizations and hospitals spread across different parts of the country.
Representatives of Suwaseriya Foundation and Member of Parliament Harsha De Silva had highlighted their medical requirements to External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar during his visit to Sri Lanka in March 2022. These requirements were now being met through the donation, the Indian High Commission pointed out.
In addition, medical supplies to General Hospital Hambantota, Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya and Teaching Hospital, Jaffna are also being catered to.
Another large consignment of medical supplies for use by Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya was earlier delivered on board INS Gharial on April 29.
These humanitarian supplies are in continuation of Government of India’s ongoing support to the people of Sri Lanka in multiple forms such as financial assistance, forex support, and material supply.
According to the High Commission, these efforts testify Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy which places people-to-people engagement at its core.
"These are complemented by the people of India who have also been donating generously to their brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. Ongoing commitment to the people of Sri Lanka attests to importance attached by the peoples of India and Sri Lanka for the well-being of each other," the High Commission added.
On May 22, India had handed over more than SLR 2 billion worth of rice, milk powder and medicines to Sri Lanka. This was the first incoming consignment under a larger commitment of 40,000 MT of rice, 500 MT of milk powder and medicines by the Government of Tamil Nadu.