Lending reports

‘Factually incorrect’: India rejects reports that water cannon vehicle was supplied to Sri Lanka under $1 billion line of credit: The Tribune India


Colombo, May 7

India on Saturday dismissed media reports as “factually incorrect” claiming that New Delhi had provided a water cannon vehicle to Sri Lanka under its billion dollar line of credit, and reiterated that such campaigns made no “constructive contribution” to cooperation and efforts to address the continuing challenges facing Sri Lankans.

The High Commission reiterated that the $1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka is meant to help its citizens with food, medicine and other essentials in times of crisis.

“These reports are factually incorrect. No water cannon vehicles have been provided by India under any of the Lines of Credit extended by India,” the Indian High Commission said here in a tweet.

“Such incorrect reports do not make any constructive contribution to the cooperation and efforts undertaken to address the current challenges facing the people of Sri Lanka,” he said in another tweet.

The High Commission has also released a statement detailing the items India has provided to Sri Lanka under the $1 billion concessional loan.

“In order to enhance Sri Lanka’s food, health and energy security, the Government of India has extended a $1 billion concessional loan to the Government of Sri Lanka, through the State Bank of India, March 17,” he said.

“The facility is operational and food items like rice, chili peppers have already been provided there. Several other contracts for the supply of sugar, milk powder, wheat, medicines, fuel and industrial raw materials, based on the priorities of the government and the people of Sri Lanka, have been included in the facility,” adds the communicated.

Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of economic turmoil not seen since its independence from Britain in 1948.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Sri Lanka since April 9, when the government ran out of money for vital imports; commodity prices have soared and there are severe shortages of fuel, medicine and electricity supplies.

Despite growing pressure, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his older brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa refused to leave office.

At a special Cabinet meeting on Friday, President Rajapaksa declared a state of emergency with effect from Friday midnight. This is the second declared emergency in just over a month.

Rajapaksa had declared a state of emergency on April 1 also after a mass demonstration in front of his private residence. He revoked it on April 5.

The announcement came amid weeks of protests demanding the resignation of the president and government, accusing the powerful Rajapaksa clan of mismanaging the island nation’s economy, already hit by the pandemic.

However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa came under criticism from the opposition and foreign envoys on Saturday for his decision which gives security forces sweeping powers to arbitrarily arrest and detain people.