'Factually incorrect': India rejects reports that water cannon vehicle was supplied to Sri Lanka under USD 1 billion credit line

Updated: few hours ago

Colombo, May 7 (PTI) India on Saturday dismissed as "factually incorrect" media reports claiming that New Delhi had supplied a water cannon vehicle to Sri Lanka under its USD 1 billion credit line, and reiterated that such campaigns don't make any "constructive contribution" to the cooperation and efforts to address the ongoing challenges faced by Sri Lankans. The High Commission reiterated that the credit line of USD 1 billion to Sri Lanka is intended to help its citizens with food, medicines and other essentials during the time of crisis. “These reports are factually incorrect. No water cannon vehicles have been supplied by India under any of the credit lines extended by India,” the Indian High Commission here said in a tweet. "Such incorrect reports don’t make any constructive contribution to the cooperation and efforts undertaken to address the ongoing challenges faced by the people of Sri Lanka," it said in another tweet. The High Commission also issued a statement detailing the items India has supplied to Sri Lanka under the USD 1 billion concessional loan. "In order to strengthen Sri Lanka’s food, health and energy security, the Government of India extended a concessional loan of USD 1 billion to the Government of Sri Lanka, through the State Bank of India, on March 17," it said. "The facility is operational and food items like rice, red chillies have already been supplied under it. Several other Contracts for supply of sugar, milk powder, wheat, medicines, fuel and industrial raw materials, based on the priorities of the Government and people of Sri Lanka, have been included under the facility," the statement added. Sri Lanka is currently in the throes of unprecedented economic turmoil since its independence from Britain in 1948. Thousands of demonstrators have hit the streets across Sri Lanka since April 9, as the government ran out of money for vital imports; prices of essential commodities have skyrocketed and there are acute shortages in fuel, medicines and electricity supply. Despite mounting pressure, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa have refused to quit office.

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

Rajapaksa had declared an emergency on April 1 also after a mass protest opposite his private residence. He had revoked it on April 5. The announcement came amidst weeks of protests demanding the resignation of the President and the government, blaming the powerful Rajapaksa clan for mishandling the island nation's economy, already hit by the pandemic. However, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa faced flak from the Opposition and foreign envoys on Saturday for his decision which gives security forces sweeping powers to arbitrarily arrest and detain people. PTI CORR VM AKJ.