Sri Lanka keen on enhancing connectivity with Indian ports

  1. The Sri Lanka Ports Authority(SLPA) chairman has said that Srilanka is keen on enhancing connectivity with Indian ports using ferry services.
  2. The chairman said that the two countries can set up a ferry service connecting Kankesanthurai port(KKS) in Jaffna with Karaikal near Puducherry and similarly between Colombo and Tuticorin in south India.
  3. This ferry service can facilitate tourism and small-scale trade.It will also help with Buddhist tourism from the south of the island and by extension people-to-people connection.
  4. In 2011,India and Sri Lanka had launched a ferry service between Tuticorin and Colombo but it was soon terminated after private operators running it said it was not commercially viable.
  5. Further,India is also a partner in an initiative aimed at developing the East Container Terminal(ECT) at the Colombo Port.In May,2019,Sri Lanka,Japan and India had signed a Memorandum of Cooperation(MoC) to jointly develop the ECT at the Colombo Port at an estimated cost of up to $700 million.
  6. However,the ECT has remained a contentious topic in Sri Lanka with Srilankan President voicing opposition to India holding majority stake or control in it.But with the Japan stepping in the ECT terminal has acquired some momentum.