On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lauded the commencement of ferry services between India’s Nagapattinam and Sri Lanka’s Kankesanthurai, deeming it a pivotal milestone in bolstering the enduring bond between the two nations. The honorable Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal, formally inaugurated the ferry service, while External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, due to unavoidable circumstances, attended the event virtually.
During his address at the launch ceremony, PM Modi underscored the significance of this momentous occasion, emphasizing its role in initiating a new chapter in the dynamic and multifaceted relations between India and Sri Lanka. He eloquently highlighted the historical and cultural significance shared by the two countries, shedding light on Nagapattinam’s prestigious maritime heritage and its mention in ancient Tamil literature as a bustling hub of sea trade, particularly with Sri Lanka.
“Great Poet Subramania Bharti in his song ‘Sindhu Nadhiyin Misai,’ had spoken of a bridge connecting our two countries. This ferry service brings alive all those historical and cultural connections,” Prime Minister Modi added, eloquently emphasizing the rich historical ties between India and Sri Lanka. His words resonated the sentiment of celebrating the enduring cultural and historical bridges that unite the two nations.
Reiterating the central theme of connectivity in the partnership between India and Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister highlighted the recently adopted vision document for the economic partnership during President Wickremesinghe’s visit. He stressed that connectivity transcends physical distances, fostering stronger people-to-people connections and nurturing a shared sense of camaraderie and understanding.
“During the recent visit of President Wickremesinghe, we jointly adopted a vision document for our economic partnership. Connectivity is not only about bringing two cities closer. It also brings our countries closer, our people closer, and our hearts closer,” PM Modi explained, underlining the holistic impact of enhanced connectivity on various aspects of bilateral relations.
PM Modi also recalled the significant progress made in transport connectivity between the two nations since 2015, marking a series of milestones in strengthening ties. He highlighted the launch of direct flights between Delhi and Colombo following his visit to Sri Lanka, as well as the landmark moment of the first international flight landing in the pilgrim town of Kushinagar from Sri Lanka. The direct flight between Chennai and Jaffna that commenced in 2019 further solidified the growing connectivity between the two countries.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister emphasized the strategic importance of the ferry service, which is anticipated to significantly boost trade, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges between the two nations. The Union Government’s investment of Rs 3 crore in dredging the Nagapattinam harbor exemplifies its commitment to facilitate and optimize the efficiency of this newly launched ferry service, showcasing India’s dedication to fostering stronger ties with Sri Lanka on multiple fronts.
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