India is helping Sri Lanka to revive commercial operations at a port and airport in the island’s north to re-establish regional trade and communications links.
The High Commission of India said India’s Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, had discussed the projects during his visit to the island. The two sides also reviewed major ongoing projects, including reactivation of Palaly airport as a regional civil aviation hub and of Kankesanthurai harbour for regional and domestic trade and commerce. Both are in the northern Jaffna peninsula which was badly affected by the island’s 30-year ethnic war which ended in May 2009. Their commercial operations were disrupted by the war but they kept the peninsula connected with the rest of the island when land routes were blocked.
The statement said India and Sri Lanka had agreed to strengthen existing defence cooperation links during the talks, especially in the field of training and service to service exchanges. They also decided to hold a formal Annual Defence Dialogue beginning in 2011.