Indian government to accelerate Sea Bridge linking Dhanushkodi to Talaimannar.
By: Staff Writer
January 24, Colombo (LNW): The Indian government is set to accelerate the proposal for construction of a sea bridge linking India’s Dhanushkodi— believed to be the place where Lord Ram had ordered Hanumana to build a bridge to carry his army across to Sri Lanka—with Talaimannar
Informed sources said the government is likely to carry out a feasibility study soon for building the 23-km bridge.
India and Sri Lanka had agreed to examine the viability of developing land access to the ports of Trincomalee and Colombo during Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s visit to Delhi last July.
Following this, the external affairs ministry (MEA) held a meeting with other ministries and government agencies on this issue. Sources said the MEA officials had informed the meeting about its plan to carry out the feasibility study for the bridge before preparing a detailed plan.
“A host of issues pertaining to other sectors including dairy, oil, power and shipping which came up during Wickremesinghe’s visit were also discussed at the meeting.
The long sea bridge would require huge funds, but it will prove to be a boon for bilateral trade. But for that, the government has to evaluate technical, economic, and environmental aspects to see whether it’s viable,” a source said.
The need for this sea bridge has been part of discussions for more than a decade. In a significant development, the Indian government is contemplating the proposal for the construction of a sea bridge that would link India’s Dhanushkodi to Talaimannar in Sri Lanka.
Discussions surrounding the need for this sea bridge have persisted for over a decade. In December 2015, Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari disclosed plans to construct a road-cum-rail bridge following discussions with President Wickremesinghe.
As the government weighs the potential benefits against the associated challenges, the proposed sea bridge project remains a focal point in bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.
During bilateral discussions between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 21, the two sides had agreed to conduct a feasibility study to establish land connectivity between the two countries for developing access to the ports of Trincomalee and Colombo, apart from connectivity in air, maritime, trade and energy domains.
However, Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra seemed to be referring to the proposal made by Wickremesinghe during his second Premiership between 2001 and 2004 to build a bridge over Adam’s Bridge which is sometimes called Hanuman Bridge and Ram Sethu or Sethu.
If Indian leaders mustered the courage to face the Hindu protests against the more beneficial Sethu Samudram Project and proceed with it, the road link project might sometimes be undermined. On the other hand, Sri Lankan leaders also have to allay fears of Sri Lankan nationalists that the bridge is inimical to the national security, to go ahead with the project.