The service is now available in all nine Provinces of Sri Lanka. External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar addressed the gathering through a special video message.
He recalled his personal connect with the project since its inception and noted that the service has become a brand in itself.
The minister also recalled how the service had helped Sri Lanka during floods and the recent terrorist attacks. He also pointed out that the project was a great example of what India and Sri Lanka can achieve together.
High Commissioner of India Taranjit Singh Sandhu in his address, mentioned that the project symbolizes the spirit of India, which is nothing but the spirit of sharing.
He also noted that India will forever remain the ‘First Responder for Sri Lanka’. The emergency ambulance service was first announced during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka in March 2015.
Accordingly, service was launched in two provinces in July 2016 under an Indian grant of 7.5 million US dollars covering purchase of 88 ambulances, operational expenditure of the service for one year and setting up of an emergency response centre.
Given the positive impact of the project, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe requested PM Modi for extension of the service all across the island which he did during his next visit to Sri Lanka in May 2017.
An additional grant amount of 15.02 million US dollars was provided by India to undertake island-wide expansion which covered purchase of 209 ambulances, operational expenditure of the service for one year and training costs.
The emergency ambulance service which can be obtained by simply dialing toll free no ‘1990’ on any network in Sri Lanka, is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after the Indian Housing Project.
The service has been appreciated well, given the quick response time, efficiency of operations, and employment and training involving local people.