Sri Lanka PM speaks to Sitharaman, thanks India for support during 'difficult period' - Financial Daily News Site

Sri Lanka PM speaks to Sitharaman, thanks India for support during ‘difficult period’

Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Colombo: Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday spoke to Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and thanked India for its support to the crisis-hit island nation. “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,” Wickremesinghe said.

He also said that he was grateful for the positive response from India and Japan on the proposal made for the Quad members (US, India, Japan, and Australia) to take the lead in setting up a foreign aid consortium to assist Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has been reeling under an unprecedented economic crisis due to dwindling forex reserves, which forced the country to cut imports. This led to shortage of fuel, medicines, and other essential items. India has so far extended assistance of USD 3.5 billion to Colombo to cope up the challenges.

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On Friday, India handed over a consignment of drugs and other medical supplies to Sri Lanka. “The consignment which weighs more than 25 tons is valued at close to SLR 260 million,” the Indian High Commission in Colombo said.

The medical consignment was donated in response to requests by various organizations and hospitals spread across different parts of the country. The High Commission said that the representatives of Suwaseriya Foundation and MP Dr Harsha De Silva had highlighted their medical requirements to External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar during his visit to Sri Lanka in March 2022.

“These requirements are now being met through the donation. In addition, medical supplies to General Hospital Hambantota, Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya and Teaching Hospital, Jaffna are also being catered to,” it said.

Another large consignment of medical supplies for use by Teaching Hospital, Peradeniya was earlier delivered on board INS Gharial on 29 April 2022.

On May 22, India had handed over a large consignment of humanitarian assistance worth more than SLR 2 billion. The consignment consisted of 9,000 MT of rice, 50 MT of milk powder and more than 25 MT of drugs and other medical supplies. This was the first consignment under a larger USD 16 million commitment of 40,000 MT of rice, 500 MT of milk powder and medicines by the Government of Tamil Nadu.

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