Indian Navy’s fleet tanker ‘Shakti’ has arrived here with 100 tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to fight the fast spreading Covid-19 pandemic in the island-nation.

The Indian High Commission stated that along with the shipment of medical grade oxygen, a total of nearly 300 metric tonnes of LMO are to be transported to Sri Lanka during this week.

In line with India’s ongoing commitment to support Sri Lanka in the fight against Covid-19, ‘Shakti’ set sail from Visakhapatnam on August 19.

“Named Operation Samudra Setu-II, deployment of the Indian Naval Vessel for the delivery of oxygen was in response to a personal request for assistance by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for urgent supply of LMO,” the Indian High Commission stated.

“Samudra Setu-II is an initiative of the Indian Navy to undertake urgent shipments of LMO containers and associated medical equipment to various countries. Seven Indian Naval Ships were deployed for such missions earlier,” it added. In May last year under “Operation Samudra Setu”, around 700 Indian nationals stranded in Sri Lanka were evacuated while stranded Sri Lankans too were repatriated to their home country.

In addition to India’s ‘Shakti’, Sri Lankan Naval Vessel Shakthi with 40 tonnes of LMO on board which also commenced its journey from Chennai is to arrive at Colombo tonight.

Indian High Commission stated that in addition, another 140 tons of LMO from Haldia and Chennai ports are also expected to reach Colombo during the coming week.

India assisted Sri Lanka on various fronts during the pandemic. In April-May 2020 nearly 26 tons of essential medical supplies were gifted and it was followed by a currency swap of $400 million in July 2020. In January this year, India donated the first consignment of vaccines for Sri Lanka to roll out the vaccination programme.

On Friday, Sri Lanka for the third consecutive day recorded an all-time high Covid death toll with 198 totalling Covid death to 7,183. With the surge in deaths, on Friday, Sri Lanka locked down the country for ten days.

–IANS

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