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Sri Lanka, India to relaunch ferry service after three decades

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Fri, 7 Jan 2011 13:50 GMT
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COLOMBO, Jan 7 (Reuters) - India and Sri Lanka on Friday signed an agreement to restart sea ferry services shut down for nearly 30 years, the latest sign of resurgent economic ties since the end of Sri Lanka's quarter-century civil war.

The two nations gave no immediate timeframe, but said the service should start shortly.

"Sea passenger transportation between India and Sri Lanka is being established...to speedily restore the traditional links between the two countries," a joint statement said.

Sri Lanka's ${esc.dollar}42 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.

One service will be between the Sri Lankan capital Colombo and South India's Tuticorin. Another will be between Sri Lanka's northwestern town of Talaimannar and India's Rameshwaram, a service that was stopped in 1982 due to the civil war.

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. (Reporting by Ranga Sirilal and Shihar Aneez; Editing by Bryson Hull) (Created by Nick Macfie)

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