Colombo: India has handed 75 passenger buses to Sri Lanka as part of its assistance towards strengthening public transport infrastructure in the cash-strapped country.
As part of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, India has extended multi-pronged assistance to Sri Lanka to help the country tide over its worst economic and humanitarian crisis since its independence from Great Britain in 1948.
“Supporting mobility and accessibility in Sri Lanka, High Commissioner handed over 75 buses for use by Transport Board. 500 buses are being supplied to Sri Lanka through Indian assistance towards strengthening public transport infrastructure,” the Indian High Commission here said in a statement.
In a similar move, India handed 125 SUVs to the Sri Lanka Police under a line of credit in December to support the island nation and help it address the serious mobility restriction issues faced by the police, due to the non-availability of vehicles.
The Sri Lankan government in May last year declared a debt default on over USD 51 billion in the foreign loan – a first in the country’s history.
Extending a much-needed lifeline to a neighbour in need, India gave financial assistance of nearly USD 4 billion to Colombo during the year.
In January, India announced a USD 900 million loan to Sri Lanka to build up its depleted foreign reserves as the financial crisis began to unfold.
Later, it offered a USD 500 million credit line to Sri Lanka to fund the country’s fuel purchases. The credit line was later expanded to USD 700 million due to the sheer gravity of the situation.
The Indian credit lines since early 2022 have been in use to import essentials and fuel after street protests erupted due to severe shortages of essentials.