Sri Lanka has submitted a proposal to India on renovating and rehabilitating parts of the strategically important Kankasanthurai (KKS) harbour in Jaffna in north of the country.
The Sri Lankan Ports Authority (SPLA) recently submitted a list of “what the Lankan government expects at KKS port” to the Indian high commission officials. SLPA chairperson P. Wickrama attended the meeting.
The port is located at the northern tip of the island nation in Jaffna, a high security zone.
The Lankan army captured it from the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 1995 and the armed forces continue to have a heavy presence there.
A toehold in KKS is important to India because of the port’s proximity to its southern coast. India is also entrenched in the Trincomalee harbour in eastern Sri Lanka.
In the south, China has got ahead and is building the ambitious Hambantota port project in President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s home district.
India can also help SLPA in pulling out wrecks of several ships that sank off the KKS coast.
The breakwater at the KKS port — currently only used by the Lankan navy and government ships — was severely damaged during the tsunami. But the government had postponed the repair because of the security situation.
“Besides repairing the breakwater, Indian expertise could also help in dredging the sea bed off the KKS port and rehabilitating the jetties," Agil Hewageegana, senior SLPA engineer, told HT. He said India could also help build shipyards and roads.