‘New chapter of diplomatic and economic relations,’ PM says at launch of ferry services between Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai

PM emphasised trade, tourism and people-to-people ties in promoting new opportunities for growth for the young people of India and Sri Lanka

October 14, 2023 10:14 am | Updated October 16, 2023 12:55 pm IST - New Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi digitally addresses the flagging off ceremony of ferry services between Nagapattinam (India) and Kankesanthurai (Sri Lanka), Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi digitally addresses the flagging off ceremony of ferry services between Nagapattinam (India) and Kankesanthurai (Sri Lanka), Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

India and Sri Lanka are moving towards a “new chapter of diplomatic and economic relations”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday at the launch of ferry services between Nagapattinam in India and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka.

“Connectivity is not only about bringing two cities closer. It also brings our countries closer, our people closer and our hearts closer,” Mr. Modi said, emphasising trade, tourism and people-to-people ties in promoting new opportunities for growth for the young people of both countries.

In his remarks, Mr. Modi highlighted the rich history of maritime trade linked to Nagapattinam and nearby towns that have been known for maritime trade for ages. He also mentioned the great poet Subramania Bharati’s song ‘Sindhu Nadhiyin Misai’ which referred to a bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka. The ferry service, Mr. Modi said, brought alive all those historical and cultural links.

Mr. Modi recollected his 2015 Sri Lanka tour during which special focus was brought on air connectivity between the two sides. Later, the first international flight to Kushinagar in Uttar Pradesh arrived from Sri Lanka in 2021 carrying the holy relics of the Buddha. Mr. Modi were among the many who visited Kushinagar during this important event that was aimed at nurturing Buddhist links between the two sides.

The ferry service is part of the joint vision that was adopted during the recent visit of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to India. “Our vision for connectivity goes beyond the transport sector,” Mr. Modi said, while presenting fintech, energy and digital payments as other areas that tie the two sides closely.

“Be it restoration of railway lines connecting the north to the south, construction of the iconic Jaffna Cultural Centre, roll out of emergency ambulance service all across Sri Lanka, or the multi-speciality hospital at Dickoya, we are working with a vision of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’,“ Mr. Modi added.

The Prime Minister also highlighted the India Middle East EU Economic Corridor launched during the G20 summit and said the connectivity project will benefit Sri Lanka as well.

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