India hands over 50 more buses to strengthen Sri Lanka's public transport infrastructure
500 buses are being supplied to Sri Lanka under an Indian Line of Credit
A day after Sri Lanka celebrated its 75th anniversary of Independence, India handed over 50 more buses to the island nation at the Presidential Secretariat on Sunday. Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe officially received the buses from Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay.
Taking to Twitter, the official account of the Indian Embassy in Sri Lanka wrote, "Strengthening public transport infrastructure in #lka! Today President H.E @RW_UNP ceremonially received 50 buses from HC in presence of Hon. Ministers @BandulaDr, @amunugama_dilum, @AlagiyawannaL, A. Aravindh Kumar and several MPs, on the auspicious Navam Full Moon Poya day."
These buses are for use by the Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) island-wide and were supplied under an Indian Line of Credit for 500 buses, the Indian Embassy added.
With its southern neighbor experiencing its greatest economic crisis since gaining independence from British territory in 1948, India had provided 75 buses in January as part of its assistance in bolstering the country's transportation system.
The Sri Lankan President's Media Division (PMD) reported that India had so far sent 165 buses, with the registration of 40 being complete. The PMD noted that plans had been drawn up to send 500 buses in total and complete the project by March.
Ashok Leyland, a manufacturer of commercial vehicles, earlier bagged the contract to provide 500 buses to the Sri Lanka Transport Board. The purchase is part of a line of credit provided by the Export-Import Bank of India as part of the Indian government's Economic Assistance Scheme.
Similarly, India gave 125 SUVs to the Sri Lanka Police as part of a Line of Credit in December to assist the island country and aid it in addressing the major mobility restrictions that the police confront as a result of the lack of available cars.
India provided Colombo with financial support of close to $4 billion through 2022, providing a much-needed lifeline to a neighbor in distress. As the financial crisis started to unfold, India pledged a $900 million loan to Sri Lanka to replenish its depleting foreign reserves.
Later, it provided Sri Lanka with a credit line of USD 500 million to pay for the country's gasoline imports. Due to the extreme seriousness of the situation, the credit line was eventually increased to $700 million.