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1990 Emergency Ambulance Service now available island-wide under Indian grant assistance

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 24 June 2019 00:00


  • Service launched in Eastern Province completing the roll out island-wide
  • External Affairs Minister of India gives a special video messag


The Emergency Ambulance Service was launched in the Eastern Province in a special ceremony held on 23 June in Ampara. 

Minister of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment Daya Gamage, Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution Dr. Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Development Anoma Gamage, High Commissioner of India Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and other dignitaries graced the occasion. With this, the island-wide expansion of the Emergency Ambulance Service is complete. The service is now available in all nine provinces of Sri Lanka. 

External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar addressed the gathering through a special video message. He recalled his personal connect with the project since its inception. Dr. Jaishankar noted that the service has become a brand in itself. He 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 Sandhu in his address, mentioned that the project symbolises 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 island-wide expansion of the Emergency Ambulance Service was started with the launch in Jaffna in July 2018 wherein Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi joined Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe through a live video conference from New Delhi. The service has been available in Northern Province since July 2018, in Uva since August 2018, in North Central Province since September, in North Western Province since October, Central Province since November 2018, and in Sabaragamuwa Province since January 2019.

During the visit of Modi to Sri Lanka in March 2015, a request was made by Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe to Prime Minister of India, to launch a pre-hospital emergency ambulance service in Sri Lanka. Accordingly, the 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service was launched in Southern and Western Provinces in July 2016 under an Indian grant of $ 7.5 million. This grant covered 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 Wickremesinghe requested Prime Minister of India for extension of the Emergency Ambulance Service all across the island. Modi made an announcement regarding the expansion of the ambulance service island-wide under a GoI grant assistance during his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2017. An additional grant amount of $ 15.02 million 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 service has been appreciated well, given the quick response time, efficiency of operations, and employment and training involving local people.  

The emergency ambulance service which can be obtained by simply dialling toll free no ‘1990’ on any network in Sri Lanka, is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after the Indian Housing Project. 

India remains committed to further strengthening the bilateral partnership with Sri Lanka based on Sri Lanka’s own choices and priorities and through effective implementation of people-oriented projects.


Message from External Affairs Minister of India at ambulance launch

Dr. S. Jaishankar, the new External Affairs Minister of India delivered a video message at the final phase launch of the 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service in Eastern Province of Sri Lanka. Dr. Jaishankar assumed office as India’s External Affairs Minister on 31 May after being sworn into Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet. Dr. Jaishankar was previously India’s Foreign Secretary from January 2015-2018. 

In the message Dr. Jaishankar recalled his personal connect to the 1990 Ambulance Service when the project was first launched in 2016 and described it as a great example of what India and Sri Lanka can achieve together.

In his long and illustrious career as a diplomat Dr. Jaishankar has served in Sri Lanka, Russia and Japan. He was India’s Ambassador to United States of America, China, Czech Republic and High Commissioner to Singapore. 

As India’s Foreign Secretary he was responsible for implementing PM Modi’s policy of neighbourhood-first and increased engagement with regional initiatives like BIMSTEC. He was also instrumental in encouraging India’s people-oriented development projects in Sri Lanka. Dr. Jaishankar has visited Sri Lanka on several occasions. 

In 2019, he was conferred with Padma Shri, one of the highest civilian award of India. Dr. Jaishankar is a graduate from Delhi University’s prestigious St. Stephen’s College and holds a master’s and PhD in international relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University.

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