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Tamil Nadu assembly passes resolution to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin meets Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi (Photo: ANI/MK Stalin/Twitter)

The Tamil Nadu assembly passed a resolution led by Chief Minister MK Stalin seeking permission from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to supply rice and essential medicines to Sri Lanka in its time of crisis.

The  Tamil Nadu BJP has welcomed the move with state BJP president K. Annamalai saying that Tamil Nadu should hand over the aid package for Sri Lanka to the MEA and not insist on delivering it directly. Annamalai is currently on a four-day trip to Sri Lanka.

The assembly passed the resolution unanimously with opposition parties–AIADMK and the BJP, supporting it. Former chief minister and AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam pledged Rs 50 lakh in his personal capacity as aid to Sri Lankan Tamils.

Chief Minister and DMK president MK Stalin told the assembly that Tamil Nadu has not received any official communication on its earlier requests asking the Centre to send the supplies to Sri Lanka.

Highlighting the BJP's stand, Annamalai said: "The Central Government had followed the 'Neighbourhood First policy' to cement bonds with its neighbours. It is ready to walk that extra mile to help Sri Lanka out of the current crisis, well before the resolution in the Tamil Nadu assembly was passed".

India has continued to support Sri Lanka by providing aid in the form of food and medicines. India has also given financial aid to the island nation for it to import oil and other essential items.

The Indian Ocean island nation, which lies barely 50 kms to India's south-east, is facing one of its worst economic challenges with high food prices, long power cuts and shortage of fuel. People have been protesting for almost a month asking the powerful Rajapaksa family to quit.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa are however staying in their positions, resisting the public pressure. The opposition parties are trying to garner support to move a no-confidence motion against the two Rajapaksas but have not been successful as yet.