The Colombo–Tuticorin ferry service will begin “in a few weeks time” and help strengthen people-to-people ties between India and Sri Lanka, Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Ashok Kantha said on Wednesday.

Addressing people on the occasion of Republic Day at India House after hoisting the tri-colour and inspecting a guard of honour, he said the Thalaimannar–Rameswaran ferry service will begin “by the middle of next year.” Special attention was being paid to boost connectivity between India and Sri Lanka since “people-to-people exchanges were the bedrock of relationship between countries.”

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s two visits to India set the tone for a comprehensive agenda for furthering bilateral ties between the two countries, he said, and noted that India had opened two consulates in the past year in Sri Lanka. Last year also marked a “major expansion of development cooperation” between the two countries.

Mr. Kantha paid floral tributes at the IPKF memorial in Batramulla, on the outskirts of Colombo.

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