India provides 75 buses to Sri Lanka to support public transport system

The Sri Lankan government in May last year declared a debt default on over $51 billion in the foreign loan – a first in the country’s history

January 08, 2023 05:20 pm | Updated 05:20 pm IST - 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 said in a statement.

Also Read | India’s response to Sri Lanka’s request for debt restructuring expected by January end: Ranil Wickremesinghe

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 $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 $4 billion to Colombo during the year.  

Also Read | The International Monetary Fund’s staff-level agreement with Sri Lanka

In January, India announced a $900 million loan to Sri Lanka to build up its depleted foreign reserves as the financial crisis began to unfold.

Later, it offered a $500 million credit line to Sri Lanka to fund the country’s fuel purchases. The credit line was later expanded to $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.

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