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New passenger ferry service to link all ports of Sri Lanka to India

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The new Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said he would engage in discussions with the Indian government to promptly implement a proposal regarding the initiation of a passenger ferry service linking all ports of Sri Lanka to India.

These assurances were made during a crucial meeting held on December 28, 2023, with the Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Aviation, Nimal Siripala de Silva.

The discussions at the Ministry were comprehensive, covering the progress of various strategic projects, including the Palali airport and ports in Kankesanthurai, Talaimannar, and Trincomalee.

The new Indian High Commissioner also emphasized the Indian Government’s commitment to advancing the maritime and aviation sectors, as well as contributing to the development of the northern region of Sri Lanka.

Minister de Silva underscored the Sri Lankan government’s readiness to facilitate opportunities for Indian investors interested in engaging with the maritime and aviation services sectors. Notably, he highlighted investment prospects in the Trincomalee Port area, emphasizing the potential for ship and small craft building industries.

Furthermore, he assured that Indian technology and investors would be made available to support the commencement of several renewable energy projects in Sri Lanka.

Highlighting the collaborative efforts between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickramasinghe, High Commissioner Jha underscored the diplomatic synergy aimed at fostering regional development and cooperation.

The proposed passenger ferry service aligns with the shared vision of both leaders to strengthen ties and promote economic growth between India and Sri Lanka.

The much awaited passenger ferry service linking India’s Nagapattinam and Sri Lanka’s Kankesanthurai commenced operations on 14 October.

The ferry was flagged-off from Nagapattinam by the Indian Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal at the port, and the External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar through video link.

The ceremony was addressed by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ranil Wickremesinghe virtually. The Ports, Shipping and Aviation Minister of the Government of Sri Lanka Nimal Siripala de Silva also joined the event virtually.

In his address, Prime Minister Modi recalled the vision document jointly adopted during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India in July 2023 for economic partnership between India and Sri Lanka, with the central theme of connectivity.

He highlighted that connectivity brings closer the two countries and its people.

Recalling the recent launch of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor during the G20 summit in India in September 2023, the Prime Minister mentioned that the people of Sri Lanka will benefit from this connectivity corridor, as multimodal connectivity between India and Sri Lanka is strengthened.

He further said that both Governments are working on fin-tech connectivity by linking UPI and Lanka Pay, and for connecting the energy grids to enhance energy security.

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