India supplies 760 kg of critical lifesaving medicines to Sri Lanka

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) India has supplied 107 types of critical life saving medicines weighing 760 kg to Sri Lanka, which is facing one the worst economic crises in the island nation’s history.

With the overarching aim of providing critical medical aid to Sri Lanka during the ongoing crisis, INS Gharial, as part of Mission SAGAR IX, reached Colombo on Friday to deliver the consignment of medicines.

The shipment was received by the Health Minister of Sri Lanka, Channa Jayasumana, and would be supplied to the University of Peradeniya Hospital.

In line with India’s vision of SAGAR — Security and Growth for all in the Region — the Indian Navy undertakes several deployments titled ‘Mission SAGAR’ to assist friendly Indian Ocean Region littorals.

Since May 2020, the Indian Navy has successfully concluded eight such missions, deploying 10 ships to 18 friendly foreign countries.

Earlier this month, India had expressed its willingness to commit up to another $2 billion in financial assistance to Sri Lanka, in line with its neighbourhood first policy.

New Delhi has already helped Sri Lanka with $2.5 billion for rapid post-Covid economic recovery.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi had said then: “We are neighbours and a close friend. There has been an evolving economic situation as well as other developments. To help mitigate the economic situation there, we have extended assistance — $2.5 billion — in the past two to three months, including credit facilities for fuel and food which are most required.”

Since mid-March, over 2,70,000 MT of foodgrain and oil has been delivered to Sri Lanka. In addition, 40,000 tonnes of rice has been supplied under the recently extended $1 billion credit line.

The Sri Lankan economy is facing a twin challenge of fast-eroding foreign exchange reserves and surging inflation, leading it to the brink of bankruptcy. It is also facing solvency issues with unsustainable debt levels.

With unprecedented shortage of foreign exchange, the basic needs of the people of Sri Lanka cannot be met.