India handed over 21000 tonnes of fertilizer urea to Sri Lanka under a special support Programme which help farmers in the country and help bolster bilateral cooperation for food security. This is the second time India is helping the crisis hit nation.
India Sri Lanka Relations
- India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour. The relationship between the two countries is more than 2,500 years old and both sides have built upon a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious and linguistic interaction.
- Sri Lanka is India’s largest trade partner in South Asia. India in turn is Sri Lanka’s largest trade partner globally. Sri Lanka’s location in the Indian Ocean region as an island State has been of strategic geopolitical relevance to several major powers.
- Sri Lanka is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis. A critical shortage of foreign currency and runaway inflation have made life a misery for the South Asian country’s 22 million people.
- But when Sri Lanka suddenly found itself in a deep economic mess a few months back, it turned to India and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Delhi responded with financial help.
- This was not the first time though – in fact, no other country or institution has helped Sri Lanka as much as India in the past year.
- India, on the other hand, has provided around $3.5bn as credit and currency swap. As part of the credit line, it has dispatched several shipments of much-needed fuel, food and fertilisers to Sri Lanka in recent months.
- India has provided timely help by sending us fuel and food. Since the economic crisis began, India has emerged as a top lender for the island nation, providing millions in aid
- As Sri Lanka elected former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as their new president, India promised to remain supportive and help the neighbouring nation in its economic recovery.
India’s helping hand
- When Sri Lanka was struggling to find a way out of the economic crisis, it turned to New Delhi for help and the Narendra Modi-led government responded with financial aid and more.
- India has provided around $5 billion worth of assistance to Sri Lanka of which $3.8 billion has been provided in 2022. In May, the island nation received its first consignment of a $16 million humanitarian aid package from India and in June, it sent more supplies with 14,700 metric tonnes (MT) of rice, 250 MT of milk powder, and 38 MT of medicines.
- Sri Lanka is facing a severe shortage of fuel and India has been providing fuel. In February 2022, the two countries signed an agreement for a $500 million supply of petroleum products from the Indian Oil Company through a credit line. This was expanded by a further $200 million in April.
- Two more ships of diesel and petrol to the neighbour were sent in July. Lanka has received more than 400,000 tonnes of fuel from India over the past three months.
- Kerala’s Trivandrum and Kochi airports are making provisions for more than 120 Sri Lanka-bound aircraft for technical landing so that they can refuel.
Winning Sri Lankan hearts-India supplies Urea
- In January, after India provided initial credit, the two countries announced that they will jointly operate 61 giant oil tanks built during World War II in Trincomalee.
- Adding to the fragrance of friendship and cooperation, High Commissioner formally handed over 21,000 tonnes of fertiliser supplied under India’s special support to the people of Sri Lanka.
- This follows 44,000 tonnes supplied last month under Indian support totaling about USD 4bn in 2022.
- The fertiliser will contribute to food security and support the farmers of Sri Lanka. It demonstrates benefits to the people from close ties with Indiaand mutual trust and goodwill between India and Lanka.
- In May, India assured Sri Lanka to immediately supply 65,000 metric tonnes of urea to avoid any disruption to the current Yala cultivation season in Sri Lanka.
- Yala is the season of paddy cultivation in Sri Lanka that lasts between May and August.
- The support from India ranges from economic assistance of close to USD 3.5 billion to help secure Sri Lanka’s food, health, and energy security by supplying essential items like food, medicines, fuel, kerosene and other essentials.
- India has committed to providing further financial aid to the country. By stepping up in times of crisis, India has wrested some influence from China over Sri Lanka.