On fuel aid, Sri Lankan minister says ‘India only country to give credit line’, adds talks on with Russia too

Updated on Jul 16, 2022 04:12 PM IST

The external affairs ministry recently reiterated India's stand of continued support to Sri Lanka amid the economic crisis in the island nation.

A worker stands at an empty fuel station in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Arun SANKAR/AFP)
A worker stands at an empty fuel station in Colombo, Sri Lanka. (Photo by Arun SANKAR/AFP)
Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Chandrashekar Srinivasan, New Delhi

Sri Lanka's power and energy minister Kanchana Wijesekera said Saturday the government had requested several countries to send fuel as the island nation grapples with political unrest and massive protests spurred by its worst economic crisis. India, he added, is the only country to have so far given Sri Lanka a line of credit to buy essential items like fuel.

"We have made requests (for fuel) to different countries. So, any country that comes to help us... we appreciate that. Right now, Indian government is the only country that has provided us with a credit line,” the minister was quoted by news agency ANI.

Catch live updates of Sri Lanka crisis here

Russia - one of the world's largest producers and exporters of oil - is among the countries Sri Lanka has reached out to for fuel aid, Wijesekera said. "Initial meetings have taken place in Russia. We have given our requirements and we are working on it. We are waiting to hear what sort of facility will be accommodated to Sri Lanka," he added.

India has helped Sri Lanka on multiple occasions since the crisis broke, and has supplied over $3 billion in fuel, food, medicines and other essential goods. This week the external affairs ministry underlined India's stand of continued support to its neighbour.

Earlier today, Wijesekerahe introduced a 'national fuel pass' - a rationing scheme.

It will guarantee allocation of a quota of fuel on a weekly basis. A QR code will be provided for each National Identity Card holder (NIC) once vehicular and other details are verified.

Also Read | Sri Lankan cricketer says he ‘stood in queue for fuel for 2 days’

People with vehicles will get fuel based on the last digit of their registered number, while tourists and foreigners will get priority in capital Colombo.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was Friday sworn in as acting president after Gotabaya Rajapaksa - who fled first to the Maldives and then Singapore - quit. His resignation letter was read out to the Parliament today. In it, he said he took “all possible steps to address the crisis, including inviting parliamentarians to form an all-party or unity government”.

Wickremesinghe will remain acting President till a successor is elected Wednesday.

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