Australia to work with India to provide fuel to Sri Lanka’s navy, airforce, says official

The island nation is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis



Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

By PTI

Published: Mon 22 Aug 2022, 10:58 PM

Australia and India are working on providing fuel to crisis-hit Sri Lanka’s Navy and Air force, Australia’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Paul Stephens said on Monday, emphasising that all three countries share a commitment towards preserving regional security in the strategic Indian Ocean.

Sri Lanka is in the midst of an unprecedented economic crisis that has led to severe shortages of fuel and other essentials, leading to long serpentine queues in front of filling stations.

The island nation of 22 million also witnessed a major political churn in recent times following massive mass protests that forced former president Gotabaya Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign from his post.

“Australia is pleased to be working with India to provide fuel to Sri Lanka’s navy and air force. It will help our long-standing cooperation against transnational crime to continue. As Indian Ocean neighbours, all three counties share a commitment to preserving regional security,” Stephens said in a tweet on Monday.

Australia has recently provided Sri Lanka aid to the tune of USD 75 million in food and medicine aid.

Last week, India gifted a Dornier maritime reconnaissance aircraft to Sri Lanka, which will enable the island nation to tackle multiple challenges like human and drug trafficking, smuggling and other organised forms of crime in its coastal waters more effectively.

India on Monday handed over 21,000 tonnes of fertiliser to Sri Lanka under a special support programme which will help farmers in this country and help bolster bilateral cooperation for food security, the second such assistance in recent months to the crisis-hit island nation.

India has committed nearly $4 billion to debt-ridden Sri Lanka in loans, credit lines and credit swaps since January this year.

Sri Lanka's annual fertiliser imports cost $400 million.

The support from New Delhi ranges from economic assistance of close to $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.

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