By Priti Naik
In order to ease the energy crisis in Sri Lanka, India on Tuesday delivered 40,000 metric tonnes of fuel to the island nation. India’s oil major Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) supplied the diesel and petrol to Sri Lanka to meet the urgent energy requirement in the economic crisis worsened by depleted foreign reserves. Sri Lanka had experienced shortages of most essentials as imports came to be curbed due to the shortage of foreign currency to pay for imports.
Energy minister Udaya Gammanpila and the Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay were at the Colombo port where the oil tanker Swarna Pushp delivered the consignment on Tuesday. The Indian High Commission in Colombo issued a statement saying that India is a committed partner and a true friend of Sri Lanka. The High Commissioner Gopal Baglay handed over 40,000 MT fuel consignment by Indian Oil Company.
This comes after Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksha visited India in a fortnight to formalize India’s economic relief package for the island nation facing a serious forex crisis.
India had announced a USD 900 million loan to Sri Lanka in January to build up its depleted foreign reserves and for food imports, amid a shortage of almost all essential commodities in the country. The economic relief package for Sri Lanka provided a lifeline to the island nation which was facing food shortages as the foreign reserves dropped to unprecedented levels, affecting the power supply and availability of fuel.
Earlier this month, an agreement to grant Sri Lanka a credit line of USD 500 million for fuel purchases was sealed which was part of the immediate economic relief package. Following the delivery, the High Commission said the India-Sri Lanka partnership would continue to work towards ensuring energy security in Sri Lanka.