India-Sri Lanka Land Connectivity Feasibility Study Nearly Complete

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe said a feasibility study for land connectivity with India is nearing completion.

Wickremesinghe confirmed during his visit to the northeastern district of Mannar to inspect development projects that the initial phase of the study has been completed and the final phase is underway.

India will access the major ports of Trincomalee and Colombo by creating a land link across the Palk Strait, which is as narrow as 25 kilometres (15 miles) in some places. The initiative seeks to strengthen a “millennia-old relationship” between neighbouring countries.

The Palk Strait, a narrow line of water separating Tamil Nadu from Sri Lanka, is a hot fishing spot for both countries. It is common for fishermen from both countries to be arrested for venturing into each other’s waters.

The proposal is expected to be a major topic of discussion during Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Sri Lanka this week, along with the possibility of a power grid connection between India and Sri Lanka. Wickremesinghe also indicated there would also be a commercial deal to sell excess renewable energy from Sri Lanka to India.

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry said Jaishankar will arrive in Colombo on June 20. India’s Foreign Ministry has not officially confirmed the visit. This will be his first official foreign visit if he is appointed as Foreign Minister in the newly formed government early this month.

Jaishankar’s visit will include Adani Group’s wind power project in Sri Lanka and the construction of an industrial zone in the eastern port district of Trincomalee, reports the Indian Express.

Douglas Devananda, fisheries minister, said Sri Lanka plans to take action against illegal fishing by Indian fishermen in its waters, including bottom trawling.

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