In a move towards India-Sri Lanka relations, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi delivered a video message today to mark the launch of ferry services between Nagapattinam, India, and Kankesanthurai, Sri Lanka. This event heralds a new chapter in the diplomatic and economic bonds between the two nations.
Highlighting the profound historical, cultural, and economic connections shared by India and Sri Lanka, Prime Minister Modi praised the historic trade ties between Nagapattinam and its neighboring towns with various countries, including Sri Lanka. He drew attention to the historical port of Poompuhar, often referenced in ancient Tamil literature as a bustling maritime trade hub.
The Prime Minister also celebrated the rich heritage of Sangam age literature, including works like Pattinappalai and Manimekalai, which describe the bustling movement of boats and ships between India and Sri Lanka.
He noted the iconic poet Subramania Bharti’s ode, ‘Sindhu Nadhiyin Misai,’ which symbolizes a bridge connecting the two nations. The launch of the ferry service rekindles these age-old historical and cultural links.
The ferry service will cover the distance to Kankesanthurai Harbour in Sri Lanka in just 30 minutes. Passengers can make this remarkable journey for a payment of Rs. 6,500.
During President Wickremesinghe’s recent visit, both nations jointly adopted a vision document emphasizing the theme of connectivity. Prime Minister Modi stressed that connectivity is about more than just bringing two cities closer; it forges closer bonds between countries, their people, and their hearts.
This enhanced connectivity promises to boost trade, tourism, and people-to-people interactions, offering new opportunities for the youth in both India and Sri Lanka.
Recalling his visit to Sri Lanka in 2015, the Prime Minister mentioned the launch of direct flights between Delhi and Colombo, as well as the historic landing of the first international flight in the holy town of Kushinagar from Sri Lanka.
He also highlighted the commencement of direct flights between Chennai and Jaffna in 2019, with the Nagapattinam-Kankesanthurai ferry service being the latest stride in strengthening this connection.
The ferry service, which had undergone testing on the 8th and 9th of October, marked a crucial step towards its full-scale operation. Today, it is officially launched by PM Modi and ready to connect Nagapattinam, India, and Kankesanthurai, Sri Lanka, forging deeper ties between the two nations.
Beyond the transport sector, the Prime Minister underlined India and Sri Lanka’s collaboration in various domains, including fin-tech and energy. He revealed that both governments are working on fin-tech sector connectivity by linking UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and Lanka Pay, acknowledging the widespread adoption of digital payments in India.
Moreover, the plan to connect the energy grids of both nations is set to enhance energy security and reliability, crucial for the development journey of India and Sri Lanka.
Prime Minister Modi emphasized that partnership for progress and development stands as one of the cornerstones of India-Sri Lanka’s bilateral relationship. He reaffirmed their vision to bring development to everyone, leaving no one behind.
He highlighted the completion of several projects in the Northern province related to housing, water, health, and livelihood support and expressed eagerness to support the upgrade of the Kankesanthurai Harbour.
Various initiatives such as the restoration of railway lines, construction of the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, and the rollout of an emergency ambulance service across Sri Lanka reflect the inclusive development approach of both nations.
Reflecting on India’s hosting of the G20 Summit, the Prime Minister stressed the importance of India’s vision of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,” which emphasizes sharing progress and prosperity with neighboring nations.
He mentioned the recent launch of the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor during the G20 summit, a vital connectivity corridor with far-reaching economic implications for the entire region.
This multilateral connectivity will also benefit the people of Sri Lanka as it strengthens the multimodal connections between the two countries.
Prime Minister Modi expressed gratitude towards President Wickremesinghe, the Government, and the people of Sri Lanka for the successful launch of the ferry service. He also expressed India’s commitment to working closely with Sri Lanka to strengthen further bilateral ties for the mutual benefit of both nations.
The launch of the ferry service signifies improved connectivity and represents the deep-rooted historical and cultural ties that bind India and Sri Lanka, marking a significant step forward in their diplomatic and economic relations.