TN tells Centre its ready to ship rice, drugs to Sri Lanka
New Delhi, Apr 08: Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday apprised the Centre that Tamil Nadu is ready to ship essential commodities like rice and life saving drugs to Sri Lanka, considering the welfare of Tamils and sought permission for its distribution there through the Indian High Commission, news agency PTI reported.
Stalin spoke over phone to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and expressed his deep concern over the plight of Tamils in Lanka, who have been hit hard by the never seen before economic crisis in their country, an official release said.
The chief minister told Jaishankar Tamil Nadu is ready to ship rice, pulses and life saving drugs from Thoothukudi port to Sri Lanka.
Stalin apprised Jaishankar that the proposed move is based on humanitarian grounds, considering the welfare of Tamils in the island nation, including Tamils of the Indian origin, popularly known as 'Malayaga Tamizhargal.' The assistance is for Tamils including those in Colombo and in the North and Eastern provinces.
Stalin sought Centre's permission to distribute commodities and drugs through the High Commission of India in Colombo and the Consulate General of India in Jaffna to Tamil beneficiaries, who are starving without food. The Chief Minister also requested arrangements for distribution through the High Commission and Consulate.
He further urged Centre to act expeditiously to get Indian fishermen hailing from Tamil Nadu released from Sri Lankan prisons. Jaishankar assured appropriate action in this regard, the government said.
Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis since gaining independence from the UK in 1948.
India had recently announced a USD 1 billion line of credit to Sri Lanka as part of its financial assistance to the country to deal with the economic crisis following a previous USD 500 billion line of credit in February. The Indian High Commission had on Wednesday announced the arrival of two more shipments of fuel to Colombo under the Indian credit line. Rice shipments to Colombo have also been taken up by India.