India and Sri Lanka Focus on Economic Connectivity with Air, Sea, and Pipeline Projects

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India and Sri Lanka Focus on Economic Connectivity with Air, Sea, and Pipeline Projects

Sri Lanka on the map (© Shutterstock/Eivaisla)
Sri Lanka on the map (© Shutterstock/Eivaisla)

Two neighboring countries, India and Sri Lanka signed bilateral agreements to enhance economic ties through increased air and sea connectivity, the Wire news outlet reported.

According to the report, both nations have given the green light for further feasibility studies on pipelines and land bridges to bolster their economic linkages.

Connectivity would be the central theme of President Ranil Wickremesinghe's first visit to India since assuming office a year ago.

Sri Lanka has been facing economic challenges, including a historic default on its external debt, resulting in difficulties procuring essential commodities due to dwindling foreign currency reserves. Last year, India extended emergency assistance amounting to $4 billion to the Indian Ocean nation.

During his visit to India, President Wickremesinghe held several meetings with top Indian government officials. The trip's highlight was signing five bilateral agreements with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday afternoon.

Prime Minister Modi stated in his press statement that they had adopted a vision document titled "Promoting Connectivity, Catalyzing Prosperity" to strengthen maritime, air, energy, and people-to-people connectivity between the two nations.

The vision aims to foster cooperation in tourism, power, trade, higher education, and skill development, signifying India's long-term commitment to Sri Lanka.

President Wickremesinghe also announced initiating a feasibility study for a gas pipeline, expressing that "the construction of a multi-product petroleum pipeline from Southern India to Sri Lanka will ensure an affordable and reliable supply of energy resources to Sri Lanka." Additionally, efforts to connect the two countries' electricity grids will be expedited.

The leaders further discussed the development of the northern port of Trincomalee as an "energy hub." They emphasized their commitment to cooperation projects in the Trincomalee area and envisioned Trincomalee becoming a national and regional center of industry, energy, and economic activity.

The newfound focus on economic connectivity between India and Sri Lanka holds the potential to usher in a new era of prosperity and collaboration between the two countries.

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