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Indian High Commissioner emphasises connectivity in first visit to Tamil Eelam

Jha along with his wife and officials from the Indian consulate in Jaffna took part in religious offerings at the Nallur Kandaswamy temple.

In his first visit to the North-East after assuming duties the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Santhosh Jha was quick to pursue India’s business interests in the region, specifically focusing on increasing connectivity between the two regions. 

The High Commissioner who engaged in diverse engagements during this three-day official visit, according to the official statement “paid special emphasis to further connectivity initiatives, central to the theme of bilateral economic partnership vision.”

Jha visited Kankesanthurai (KKS) Port and the historic Talaimannar Pier and spoke of the need for expeditious resumption of ferry services between the two countries. Here he expressed confidence regarding the “earliest recommencement of Nagapattinam-KKS ferry in the coming weeks and informed his interlocutors of ongoing efforts for the resumption of ferry services between Talaimannar and Rameswaram.”

He also visited the Palaly Airport in Jaffna where he explored opportunities to strengthen air connectivity through infrastructure development at the airport. India has so far expressed interest in three other airports including the Bandaranaike International Airport, Ratmalana Airport, and Mattala Airport. 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.

The High Commissioner also offered prayers at the historic Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge), off the coast of Mannar, just a few miles from Tamil Nadu’s southern coast. Jha was accompanied by his wife, an official from the Indian Consulate in Jaffna, and a Hindu priest who conducted a Hindu pooja along a strip of sand connecting the two countries through the Palk Strait. 



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

Reaffirming India’s endeavour to contribute towards addressing the energy needs of islands off Jaffna, he assessed the readiness for early rollout of the Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Project in Nainativu Island. The project is being implemented in Delft, Nainativu and Analaitivu Islands through grant assistance from India.

According to an official India press release, he also “paid homage to the brave sons of India who made the supreme sacrifice at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) Memorial”. The IPKF is notorious amongst Tamils for the numerous massacres and rapes it committed during its almost 3-year presence in the Tamil homeland.

High Commissioner paid homage to fallen Indian soldiers at the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) Memorial

Jha also met with a wide cross-section of stakeholders in the region including elected representatives, academics, and businessmen, among several others on avenues for further collaboration and development. 

“With grant assistance of more than LKR 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,” an official press release noted.

His visit comes after India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman travelled to both Jaffna and Trincomalee in November, as part of New Delhi’s efforts to grow closer ties to the Tamil homeland.

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