Ahead of the new year celebrations in Sri Lanka, 11,000 MT of rice from India reached Colombo on Tuesday.
According to the Indian embassy in Sri Lanka, the rice reached Colombo on board the ship Chen Glory. New year in Sri Lanka is generally celebrated on April 13 or April 14 and traditionally begins at the sighting of the new moon.
Over 16,000 MT of rice has been supplied by India under its multi-pronged support to Sri Lanka in the past week alone, said the embassy, adding that the supplies mark the special bond between India and the island nation.
Notably, amid the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, India has stepped forward to help the country by supplying fuel, vegetables, daily ration items and medicines.
India has already supplied over 270,000 MT of fuel to Sri Lanka till now and has earlier announced another USD 1 billion as a credit to help shore up the sinking economy of the island nation.
The USD 1 billion Line of Credit to Colombo will help in keeping their food prices and fuel costs under check.
Since January this year, support from India to Sri Lanka has exceeded USD 2.5 billion. In February, New Delhi provided a short-term loan of USD 500 million to Colombo for the purchase of petroleum products through the Ministry of Energy and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka. In November 2021, India had given 100 tonnes of nano nitrogen liquid fertilizers to Sri Lanka as their government stopped the import of chemical fertilizers.
Besides, the Reserve Bank of India has extended a currency swap of USD 400 million and deferred payments owed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Asian Clearance Union worth several hundred million dollars.
Sri Lanka is battling a severe economic crisis with food and fuel scarcity affecting a large number of the people in the island nation. The economy has been in a free-fall since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the crush of tourism.
Sri Lanka is also facing a foreign exchange shortage, which has, incidentally, affected its capacity to import food and fuel, leading to the power cuts in the country. The shortage of essential goods forced Sri Lanka to seek assistance from friendly countries.