New Indian envoy visits Northern Province; calls for better connectivity between Sri Lanka & India

PTI | Colombo | Updated: 18-02-2024 16:34 IST | Created: 18-02-2024 16:34 IST
New Indian envoy visits Northern Province; calls for better connectivity between Sri Lanka & India
  • Country:
  • Sri Lanka

Indian High Commissioner Santosh Jha has made his first official visit to Sri Lanka's Northern Province and stressed the need for improved connectivity between the two countries.

The newly-appointed Indian envoy completed his three-day maiden visit to the island nation's north on Saturday, the Indian High Commission said in a statement on Sunday.

He participated in diverse engagements during the visit, attesting to the ''deep-rooted nature of the bilateral partnership as also India's firm commitment to deepening socio-economic and cultural ties with Northern Province,'' it said.

Jha emphasised connectivity while visiting the Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port and the Talaimannar Pier and spoke of the need for expeditious resumption of ferry services between the two countries.

During his visit to the Palaly Airport, he explored means to strengthen air connectivity through infrastructure development at the airport, the statement said.

In 2023, Sri Lanka sought Indian financial assistance to extend the runway at the Palaly airport after India's Alliance Air began Chennai-Palaly flights.

"Underscoring the rich and shared cultural heritage between India and Sri Lanka, the High Commissioner offered prayers at the historic Ram Sethu (Adam's Bridge). He also visited the ancient Thiruketheeswaram temple, which was renovated with grant assistance from the Government of India," the statement said.

In India's endeavour to contribute towards addressing the energy needs of islands off Jaffna, Jha assessed the readiness for early rollout of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Project in Nainativu Island.

The project is being implemented in the Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu Islands of the island nation through grant assistance from India.

"With grant assistance of more than SLR 70 billion, Northern Province has been a region of focus in India's multi-dimensional development cooperation partnership with Sri Lanka, and the visit was an opportunity to reiterate India's unwavering commitment to the people of the region," it said.

According to the statement, Jha distributed deep freezers to fishermen communities in Mannar to enhance their livelihood opportunities, reaffirming India's commitment to diverse sections of society.

He also distributed dry rations to hundreds of needy families in Jaffna and Kilinochchi, with a special focus on those headed by women.

At the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) memorial in Jaffna, the High Commissioner paid homage to the brave sons of India who made the supreme sacrifice in Sri Lanka.

The IPKF was formed under the mandate of the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord signed in 1987 that aimed to end the civil war in the country between militant Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan military.

Jha assumed charge as the High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka in December 2023.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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