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India resumes ferry service with Sri Lanka after four decades; PM hails ‘new chapter’ in ties

Forty years after it was disrupted as a consequence of civil conflict in Sri Lanka, ferry providers between India and the island republic resumed on Saturday, a transfer Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed as an “important milestone” in strengthening bilateral ties.

Welcoming the resumption of ferry providers, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe mentioned it should assist enhance the connectivity, commerce and cultural hyperlinks between the 2 international locations

The service between Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai close to Jaffna within the northern province of Sri Lanka goals to revive the traditional maritime connection between the 2 neighbours.

The high-speed ferry operated by the Transport Company of India SCI has a capability of 150 passengers and would cowl a distance of about 60 nm (110 Km) between Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai in about 3.5 hours relying on the ocean situations.

In its inaugural journey, the vessel named Cheriyapani traveled with 50 passengers to Sri Lanka and can return to India by night with passengers from the island nation. The passengers on the maiden voyage expressed pleasure over crusing to Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Modi mentioned the ferry service between India and Sri Lanka will improve connectivity, promote commerce and reinforce the longstanding bonds between the 2 international locations.

Exterior Affairs Minister S Jaishankar described the milestone occasion as a “big step for people to people contacts between India and Sri Lanka.”

In a video message, Modi mentioned the service brings alive all historic and cultural connections.

“Connectivity is not only about bringing two cities closer. It also brings our countries closer, our people closer and our hearts closer,” he mentioned.

The prime minister mentioned India and Sri Lanka are embarking on a “new chapter in diplomatic and economic relations” and the launch of a ferry service between Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai is an “important milestone” in strengthening the relations.

Underlining the shared historical past of tradition, commerce and civilisation between India and Sri Lanka, he identified that Nagapattinam and close by cities have been recognized for sea commerce with many international locations, together with Sri Lanka, and the historic port of Poompuhar finds a point out as a hub in historical Tamil literature.

He additionally spoke about Sangam age literature like Pattinappalai and Manimekalai which describe the motion of boats and ships between the 2 international locations.

Modi additionally touched upon the good poet Subramania Bharti’s music ‘Sindhu Nadhiyin Misai’, which mentions a bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka. He mentioned the ferry service brings alive all these historic and cultural connections.

Through the latest go to of  President Wickremesinghe, a imaginative and prescient doc was collectively adopted for an financial partnership with the central theme of connectivity, the PM mentioned.

He emphasised connectivity enhances commerce, tourism and people-to-people ties, whereas additionally creating new alternatives for the youth of each international locations. Modi additionally recalled his go to to Sri Lanka in 2015 when direct flights between Delhi and Colombo had been launched.

Wickremesinghe mentioned the “ferry service is an important step in increasing the connectivity between India and Sri Lanka.”

“For thousands of years, people have traversed the Palk Strait to travel from the Indian subcontinent to this island and from Sri Lanka back to the Indian subcontinent. This is how our cultures have developed. This is how our trade developed,” Wickremesinghe mentioned in a recorded video message on the inauguration of the ferry service.

Stating that the connectivity between “our two countries” was disrupted because of the conflict within the north, the President mentioned, “now peace has returned and we can re-establish the sea connectivity” after which thanked  Modi, the Indian Transport Company “for the role they have played in re-establishing this connectivity.”

The initiative goals to revive the historic maritime connections relationship to the early 1900s. The Indo-Ceylon Categorical which was operated between Chennai and Colombo through Thoothukudi, ceased its operations in 1982 because of the civil conflict in Sri Lanka.

As a way to start the service, the Authorities of India supported the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board in upgrading amenities on the Nagapattinam port. Equally, the Sri Lankan authorities created the required infrastructure on the port of Kankesanthurai, an official launch mentioned.

India’s efforts to start out the ferry service are according to the federal government’s precedence to boost connectivity with neighbours and within the wider Indian Ocean Area.

“A direct passenger ferry between Sri Lanka and India will provide an efficient and cost-effective means of travel for the people of the two countries, boost tourism and trade links and strengthen people-to-people ties,” the discharge mentioned.

The milestone occasion was flagged off collectively by Minister of Ports, Transport and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal and Exterior Affairs Minister Jaishankar.

Each international locations will proceed to work in direction of the graduation of ferry providers between different ports, together with the normal route between Rameswaram- Talaimannar, it mentioned.

State Ministers E V Velu and S Raghupathy, too, just about flagged off the primary ferry service.

Jaishankar described the milestone occasion as a “big step for people-to-people contacts between India and Sri Lanka.”

“It is an affirmation of people-centric policies of the Modi government that have helped those in Tamil Nadu and in Sri Lanka’s northern province,” he mentioned.

The federal government, Jaishankar mentioned, adopted a neighborhood-first coverage, and had a far-sighted method for proximate nations with a deal with connectivity, cooperation and phone. “That’s exactly what we are seeking to do through this ferry service,” he mentioned.

On the longer term plans, he mentioned that India was grid connection, pipelines and financial corridors “and of course support for all in Sri Lanka to live in equal dignity and equal rights”.

Sonowal mentioned the Centre’s present initiative with the help of the Tamil Nadu authorities, will carry again the glory of the ocean hyperlink between the 2 international locations.

TN Minister Velu mentioned the all-weather passenger transport service would enhance service between the 2 international locations.

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