India-Sri Lanka Land Connectivity Feasibility Study Almost Complete

V Bhagya Subhashini

Jun 17, 2024, 01:53 PM | Updated 01:52 PM IST

India-Sri Lanka (Al Jazeera)
India-Sri Lanka (Al Jazeera)

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe announced that the feasibility study for establishing land connectivity with India is nearing completion.

During his visit to the northeastern district of Mannar to inspect development projects, Wickremesinghe confirmed that the preliminary work for the study has been completed and the final phase is underway.

Creating land connectivity across the Palk Strait, which is as narrow as 25 kilometres (15 miles) at certain points, would provide India with access to the crucial ports of Trincomalee and Colombo. This initiative aims to fortify the "millennia-old relationship" between the two neighbouring countries.

The Palk Strait, a narrow strip of water separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, serves as a rich fishing ground for both countries. Incidents of fishermen from both nations being arrested for inadvertently trespassing into each other's waters are common.

This proposal, along with the prospect of a power grid connection between Sri Lanka and India, is expected to be a key topic of discussion during the visit of Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to Sri Lanka this week. Wickremesinghe also indicated that discussions would include a commercial venture to sell excess renewable energy from Sri Lanka to India.

The Sri Lankan foreign ministry announced that Jaishankar is scheduled to arrive in Colombo on 20 June. However, there has been no official confirmation from India’s Ministry of External Affairs regarding the visit. If confirmed, this would mark Jaishankar's first official stand-alone visit abroad since his appointment as External Affairs Minister in the newly formed government earlier this month.

During Jaishankar's visit, discussions are expected to cover all Indian projects in Sri Lanka, including the Adani Group's wind power project in Mannar and the development of an industrial zone in the eastern port district of Trincomalee, reports Indian Express.

Additionally, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda stated that Sri Lanka plans to raise the issue of illegal fishing in its waters by Indian fishermen, including the practice of bottom trawling.

V Bhagya Subhashini is a staff writer at Swarajya. She tracks infrastructure developments.

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