India-Sri Lanka ferry service: 'Embarking new diplomatic chapter,' says PM Modi | Mint – Mint

As passenger ferry service from India’s Nagapattinam to Sri Lanka flagged off on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that we are embarking on a new chapter in the diplomatic and economic relations between India and Sri Lanka.
PM Modi said, “We are embarking on a new chapter in the diplomatic and economic relations between India and Sri Lanka. The launch of a ferry service between Nagapattinam and Kankesanturai is an important milestone in strengthening our relations.”
Modi further stressed that the ferry services between India and Sri Lanka will enhance connectivity, promote trade and reinforce the longstanding bonds between our nations.
Mentioning poet Subramania Bharati’s Sindhu Nadhiyin Misai, PM Modi said, “Great poet Subramania Bharati, in his song Sindhu Nadhiyin Misai, had spoken of a bridge connecting our two countries (India and Sri Lanka). This ferry service brings alive all those historical and cultural connections.”
PM Modi noted that this ferry service brings alive all those historical and cultural connections. “During the recent visit of President Wickremesinghe, we jointly adopted a vision document for our economic partnership. Connectivity is the central theme of this partnership. It is for bringing our countries closer… It enhances trade, tourism and people-to-people ties. It creates opportunities for the youth of both countries.”
PM Modi further recalled that in 2015, a direct flight between Delhi and Colombo was launched. “Later, the first international flight landed in pilgrim town of Kushinagar from Sri Lanka… The ferry service between Nagapattinam and Kankesanthurai is yet another important step in this direction.”
Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe said, “This is an important step in increasing the connectivity between India and Sri Lanka…The connectivity between the two countries was disrupted due to the war in the north and now peace has returned and we can reestablish the connectivity, I discussed this with PM Modi and I must thank him and the Indian shipping corporation for the role they have played in reestablishing this connectivity”
According to a press release issued by the High Commission of India, Colombo, “The discussions on strengthening connectivity and resumption of ferry services between the two countries were held virtually by the India-Sri Lanka Joint Committee on July 14 this year.”
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The India-Sri Lanka Joint Committee was formed as a part of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Passenger Transportation by Sea.
The productive discussions focused on the resumption of ferry services between the two countries connecting mutually agreed points. Both sides agreed that the resumption of ferry services would boost regional trade and tourism and promote stronger people-to-people ties, the release stated.
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Earlier on Thursday, officials from the Nagapattinam Shipping Harbour Department announced on Thursday that they are introducing a special fare of 2,800, which includes 2,375 and an 18% tax, as a promotional offer for passengers travelling on the ferry on October 14th (for a single day). This rate represents a 75% reduction from the regular price.
The passenger transportation ship was originally set to resume its operations on October 10, 2023, following a four-decade hiatus. However, due to administrative complications, the departure was pushed to October 12, and subsequently delayed further to October 14, as reported by ANI.
(With inputs from agenices)
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