Indian passengers disembark the Scotia Prince passenger ferry, as it arrives from the Tuticorin port of India, to the Colombo port June 14, 2011. India and Sri Lanka on Tuesday resumed sea ferry services for the first time in 30 years, aiming to boost tourism and economic cooperation after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte
Reuters): India and Sri Lanka on Tuesday resumed sea ferry services for the first time in 30 years, aiming to boost tourism and economic cooperation after the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war. An Indian ferry with a capacity for 1,044 passengers docked at Colombo’s port yesterday morning after leaving Tuticorin port. Officials said a Sri Lankan ferry would also make the journey within two weeks, and the service could be boosted to three round trips a week, depending on passenger traffic.
“(This) will be beneficial to the economic, social and cultural advancement of the two countries,” Sri Lanka’s Ports Ministry said in a statement. “With the end of the three-decade war in Sri Lanka, the tourism industry has gained impetus and is expected to have a boost from this ferry service.”
Ferry services between India and Sri Lanka stopped in 1982 due to civil war, which ended in 2009.
According to the agreement, ferry services between Sri Lanka’s northwestern town of Talaimannar and India’s Rameshwaram would also resume, but Ports Ministry officials did not give a date as infrastructure in war-hit Talaimannar is still being rebuilt.
Sri Lanka’s $50 billion economy is on an economic revival path after the end of the fight against Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009. Sri Lanka has been trying to establish economic ties with India after having turned down demands by South Indian Tamils to halt the war in its final phase.
India and China are increasingly competing for lucrative and strategic investments in Sri Lanka since the end the war after both of them provided military assistance, including ammunition, in the final phase of the war.