Sri Lanka to use USD 70 million from Indian credit line to import food
Sri Lankan government had given its approval to make the use of another USD 70 million from the USD 1 billion Line of Credit (LoC) extended by India during the ongoing crisis to import essential food items.
Sri Lanka's Trade Minister Nalin Fernando said that this would be in addition to USD 180 million worth of food commodities that were already imported from India under the same facility.
"Once we get these items, we will have food required for at least another couple of months. Besides, we got approval to use another USD 70 million from the same credit facility to import food commodities in the near future," Fernando said as quoted by Daily Mirror.
A day earlier, India provided a humanitarian consignment worth more than SLR 3 billion to Sri Lanka, which is facing the worst economic crisis since its independence.
According to the High Commission of India in Colombo, the consignment comprises rice, milk powder and essential medicines.
"From the people of #India to the people of #SriLanka!!! High Commissioner, Hon'ble Ministers @Keheliya_R, Nalin Fernando, MPs, various dignitaries and officials welcomed a large humanitarian consignment worth more than SLR 3 billion from #Tuticorn today. The 15,000 MT consignment consists of rice, milk powder and essential medicines," the High Commission said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the high-level Indian delegation led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra visited Sri Lanka and underscored that the recent economic, financial and humanitarian assistance of over USD 3.5 billion to the island country was guided by New Delhi's "Neighbourhood First" Policy.
The delegation comprising Ajay Seth, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, V Anantha Nageswaran, Chief Economic Advisor and Kartik Pande, Joint Secretary, Indian Ocean Region, Ministry of External Affairs was in Colombo on Thursday.
The delegation had meetings with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during the visit. The talks between the two sides were held in a frank, cordial and constructive manner, the High Commission of India
Colombo said in a statement."The Indian delegation underscored that the unprecedented recent economic, financial and humanitarian assistance of over USD 3.5 billion to the people of Sri Lanka was, guided by 'Neighbourhood First' policy and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR) vision of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi," it said in a statement.
Both sides had a productive exchange of views on the current economic situation in Sri Lanka as well as India's ongoing support.
Under its Neighbourhood First policy, India was among the first few countries to extend its aid to Sri Lanka to mitigate the unprecedented economic crisis.
New Delhi has provided a concessional loan of USD 1 billion to Sri Lanka for the supply of food, fuel, medicines, and other essential items.
Moreover, United Nations-backed multi-sector agencies are also responding to the most urgent needs arising from the recent crisis.