India is set to build a sea bridge and tunnel connecting Sri Lanka while a pact has been inked with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal for seamless flow of traffic and passenger vehicles, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said on Wednesday.
“The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to fully finance a bridge-building project connecting Rameshwaram to Sri Lanka. The project was also discussed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his counterpart during the latter’s recent visit,” Mr. Gadkari said in a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha.
The India-Sri Lanka connectivity project cost is pegged at about Rs 24,000 crore.
“The government, right from the day it assumed office, has been focussed on enhancing regional cooperation. Subsequent to Modi’s announcement of ‘Act East policy’, India proactively engaged in building effective and credible links between South Asia and Southeast Asia through enhanced regional connectivity,” he said.
A major milestone was the signing of the Bangladesh Bhutan India Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) in Thimphu to facilitate seamless movement of passenger and cargo vehicles in the region, he said.
Under BBIN MVA, a cargo trial run was held on the 640 km Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala route in November, which was a substantial reduction compared to the traditional 1,550 km transit route from Kolkata to Agartala via Siliguri-Guwahati-Silchar, Mr. Gadkari said, Indian media reports.