In a momentous announcement, the Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Gopal Baglay, revealed plans to revitalize ferry services between the two nations after decades of dormancy. Additionally, the High Commissioner expressed that the idea of an international cruise from India to Sri Lanka was no longer a mere concept but a tangible possibility being actively pursued. These exciting developments mark a significant step forward in strengthening the maritime connectivity and tourism potential between India and Sri Lanka.

The resumption of ferry services, a long-awaited endeavor, promises to enhance travel options and foster greater people-to-people exchange between the two nations. The once-thriving ferry routes that had fallen into disuse over the years will be revitalized, offering an alternative and scenic mode of transportation. The renewed ferry services are expected to serve as a convenient and economical means of travel for both locals and tourists, facilitating cultural and commercial interactions.

During his speech, High Commissioner Baglay recounted a recent train journey undertaken by diplomatic envoys through the enchanting landscapes of Sri Lanka. The vintage train, named the Viceroy Special, carried the passengers through misty forests, lush plantation areas, and picturesque scenery, reminiscent of the Vasuri and Nilgiris regions of India. The journey culminated in the awe-inspiring destination of Ella, renowned for its world-famous nine arches bridge. The High Commissioner marveled at the transformation of the once bustling tourist spot, which had recently undergone a remarkable change, with hundreds of tourists from India, Sri Lanka, and other countries visiting the area.

Addressing the gathering Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Gopal Baglay said;

“I am inspired by the presence of the Honourable President, and if I may mention, it was on his visit last weekend that the diplomatic envoys embarked on an unforgettable train journey through some of the most beautiful parts of Sri Lanka, aboard a vintage train called the Viceroy Special.

I mentioned this not just to reminisce about the beautiful journey through the misty forests, plantation areas, and picturesque landscapes of Sri Lanka, but because it reminded me of two things. One is the resemblance of the area to Vasuri and Nilgiris, which some of you might be familiar with, especially those who have come from India. The altitude is roughly the same as Visuri, but due to the tea plantations on both sides of the railway tracks, it gives the impression of passing through Nilgiri. However, this is not the reason I am mentioning it. When we reached our destination, a place called Ella, which is famous for, among other things, the world-renowned nine arches bridge, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Just six months ago, when I visited, there were hundreds of tourists on either side of the railway track and all over the place.

There were tourists from India, Sri Lanka, and other countries. For some of us on the train, it was a stark reminder of how different that moment was from about a year ago.

Mr. President, your presence here is, to me, a vote of confidence in the present and the potential, as well as a reiteration of the partnership between the people of India and Sri Lanka for progress. It signifies a step towards even closer cooperation for the prosperity of both nations.
The theme “Transcending Borders, Transforming Lives,” is precisely the spirit of the India-Sri Lanka relationship that has brought these two countries together as civilizational twins. We are all aware of the geographical proximity of India and Sri Lanka, but over the course of millennia, this proximity has been layered with history, culture, civilization, religions, languages, music, films, cricket, democracy, diversity, plurality, respect, peace, and harmony.

When you visit Sri Lanka, it also reflects the values that we cherish and share, as demonstrated by Buddha and Mahatma Gandhi.
I express my gratitude to the Minister of Tourism and the invaluable guidance and leadership of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Over the past few months, we have not only resumed the Chennai-Jaffna flights, which used to operate four times a week, but these flights will now operate every day starting from July 16th. We are also working on resuming the ferry services, which have been inactive for decades, and the idea of an international cruise from India to Sri Lanka is no longer just a concept.

The use of Indian currency in Sri Lanka is a boost to tourism, as Indian tourists can now conveniently use their currency for payments. Additionally, efforts are underway to enable digital payments between the two countries. This will not only facilitate transcending borders and transforming lives but also build upon the legacies that form our common heritage.”