India's credit facility, fuel, food proved to be lifeline for Sri Lankans: Envoy
India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay told news agency ANI that four consignments totalling over 150,000 tons of jet aviation fuel, diesel and petrol have arrived in the island nation since February.
With support from New Delhi since January this year to Sri Lanka exceeding 2.5 billion US dollars, India has responded to urgent requests from Colombo with promptness, India's High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said. Amid massive protests in Sri Lanka over the economic crisis, Gopal Baglay told news agency ANI that four consignments totalling over 150,000 tons of jet aviation fuel, diesel and petrol have arrived in the island nation since the two countries signed a line of credit of $500 million in February,
He said five more consignments are to follow till May and another line of credit of $1 billion for food, medicine and essential items has been signed. Under the new credit facility, the first consignment of rice from India is expected to arrive in Sri Lanka.
“These facilities, negotiated and concluded within a matter of weeks, have proved to be the lifeline for the people of Sri Lanka at a time when financing of imports by Sri Lanka is difficult due to the balance of payment situation,” ANI quoted the envoy as saying.
Sri Lanka is under a nationwide curfew after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency as people, angry over shortages of essential foods, fuel and long power cuts, demanded the resignation of the former military officer. The island nation is struggling to pay for imports due to huge debt obligations and dwindling foreign reserves.
In addition to the credit lines, India has extended a $400-million currency swap and a $500-million credit line for fuel purchases to Sri Lanka. India has also deferred payments owed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka owed to the Reserve Bank of India under the Asian Clearance Union worth several hundred million dollars.
“India’s prompt assistance to the people of Sri Lanka at this hour has been appreciated by all sections of the Sri Lankan society,” Gopal Baglay added.
(With ANI inputs)