Calling India a "big brother", former Sri Lankan cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya lauded the Indian government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi for sending help to the island nation as it battles the worst economic crisis since independence.
"You know as always as a neighbour, the big brother of the next to our country has been helping us... We are very grateful to the Indian government and the Prime Minister (Modi). So, for us even to survive it is not very easy at the moment, things are going through... I hope that things will change and also with the help of India and other countries and we are trying to come out from this situation," Jayasuriya said.
India has supplied over 270,000 MT fuel to Sri Lanka so far to help ease the power crisis in the island country which is witnessing acute power cuts. 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. "Indian credit line for fuel at work!!! One consignment each of 36,000 MT petrol and 40,000 MT diesel was delivered to Sri Lanka in the last 24 hours. Total supply of various types of fuel under Indian assistance now stands at more than 270,000 MT," the Indian embassy in Colombo tweeted.
Sri Lanka's National Eye Hospital Director expressed his gratitude to India for providing medicines as the nation facing its shortage and said that the timely help has ensured the functioning of the health facilities. "Most of our drugs are coming from India under Indian credit line, and more supply will come to us in near future. It is a great help for us. I thank India for the support," Dr Dammika, Director of National Eye Hospital Colombo told an Indian news agency.
The Sri Lankan rupee is fast depreciating against the dollar and foreign debt is mounting. The Sri Lankan government's income has also taken a big hit due to a drop in tourism that has given rise to gas and fuel shortages, leading to massive power cuts. As New Delhi is providing financial assistance to Colombo, India has announced another USD 1 billion as a credit to Sri Lanka 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.
Several hotels located in Colombo said they have suffered huge losses due to ongoing mass protests in the city. The country's tourism sector, one of the major contributors to its economy, which was slowly reviving after the COVID pandemic, has now hit hard.
Meanwhile, a group of university lecturers and professors on Wednesday held a protest demonstration against the government. Anti-government protests continue to take place in the island nation, demanding solutions to the current economic crisis.