India ships petrol to Sri Lanka to help neighbour tackle fuel shortages

The island is battling its worst crisis since independence in 1948

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India has sent about 40,000 tonnes of petrol to Sri Lanka, its second fuel shipment in days to help its debt-laden neighbour cope with its economic crisis.

“Commitment delivered!! Around 40,000 MT of petrol under Indian assistance reached Colombo today,” the Indian High Commission to Sri Lanka said in a Twitter post on Monday.

The same volume of diesel was delivered to the island nation on Saturday.

Sri Lanka, known for its pristine white beaches, is battling its worst economic and political crisis since independence in 1948.

India last month agreed to extend an additional $500 million credit line to help the country procure emergency fuel stocks as it struggles with its foreign-exchange reserves for imports.

New Delhi has committed $1.9 billion in loans, credit lines and currency swaps to Sri Lanka under India's Neighbourhood First policy, which focuses on peaceful and collaborative relations with neighbouring countries in the subcontinent.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka increased fuel prices on Tuesday.

Petrol prices will rise by as much as 24 per cent, while diesel prices will be lifted by as much as 38 per cent with immediate effect, Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said on Twitter.

The increases are bound to add to galloping inflation, at least in the short term.

Daily limits on the quantity each consumer can purchase will continue.

Last week an Indian ship laden with emergency relief supplies — including 9,000 tonnes of rice, 24 tonnes of medicines and 200 tonnes of milk powder — arrived in Sri Lanka.

The two countries have strong historical links. In recent decades, there has been a significant growth in bilateral ties, including in trade and investment.

Updated: May 24, 2022, 9:07 AM