- India is the sole creditor providing vital assistance to Sri Lanka’s struggling railway network.
- Sri Lankan Railways has encountered its most severe economic crisis to date, rendering it unable to carry out necessary maintenance work.
In a remarkable display of international cooperation, India is stepping up its support for Sri Lanka’s ailing railway system with a substantial investment exceeding $1 billion, channelled through five Lines of Credit (LoC) projects.
India is the sole creditor providing vital assistance to Sri Lanka’s struggling railway network, as revealed by the Indian High Commission in its recent announcement on Thursday (21 September).
The Ministry of Transport and Highways of Sri Lanka and IRCON Ltd signed a contract for the design, installation, testing, and commissioning of a signalling system for Sri Lanka Railways (SLR) from Maho to Anuradhapura.
This project is funded under a $318 million Indian LoC, signifying a substantial commitment to Sri Lanka’s railway infrastructure.
Indian Railway Construction International Limited (IRCON Ltd), is a wholly owned entity of the Indian Railways.
With Indian support, IRCON Ltd accomplished various projects in Sri Lanka and made major contributions to the repair and modernisation of Sri Lanka Railways. They’ve already successfully completed the track rehabilitation work from Anuradhapura to Omanthai.
The next phase of their mission, the Anuradhapura to Maho section, is set to commence in January 2024, promising further advancements in Sri Lanka’s railway connectivity.
Gopal Baglay, the High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka, has stated the significance of this signalling project. He has described it as a game-changer, promising smoother transportation, a turbocharged economic recovery, and fortified cooperation between the two nations.
He stressed that, in the current climate, this LoC project symbolises India’s unwavering commitment to stand by Sri Lanka, per the Economic Times report.
Sri Lanka’s Transport Minister, Bandula Gunawardane, expressed gratitude to India, specifically acknowledging the unwavering support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian government during challenging times.
Gunawardane highlighted that India has been the lifeline for Sri Lanka Railways, providing crucial Lines of Credit when essential maintenance seemed difficult.
Sri Lankan Railways, the island nation’s financially troubled government agency, has encountered its most severe economic crisis to date, rendering it unable to carry out necessary maintenance work.
The dire lack of maintenance has resulted in frequent signal failures and train derailments, with a shocking 117 train derailments recorded in the year 2022.
In this unfolding narrative, India emerges as Sri Lanka’s steadfast ally, not only providing much-needed financial support but also infusing hope for a brighter future on the tracks. This partnership serves as a beacon of collaboration and a testament to the enduring ties between the two nations.