Chennai, July 10 (IANS) Senior leader of the DMK and Lok Sabha Member T. R.Baalu on Friday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to revive the Sethu Samudram Project to protect the Southern part of the country against China citing the later’s huge investments in Sri Lanka.
In a letter to Modi, he said: “In the wake of the current conflict with China, we need to appreciate that besides our long borders in the north west and north east from Punjab to Arunachal Pradesh, the southern coastal borders, in particular the sea between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, has assumed critical importance from the security point of view.”
“The way in which China is moving closer to Sri Lanka will never be in our national interest,” Baalu added.
According to the DMK leader China has pumped in about $7,048 million in Sri Lanka in various projects. The Hambantota port has been taken over by China.
“These investments have made Sri Lankan people perceive that, as a friend and ally, China is more preferable than India. In such a scenario, we may not rule out Sri Lanka becoming another Nepal very soon,” Baalu said.
According to Baalu, the southern Tamil Nadu coast, especially the Adams Bridge and Sethu Samudram areas have immense geostrategic value.
The DMK leader said the Rs 2,400 crore Sethu Samudram project was inaugurated in 2005 but later “certain elements inimical to the national security and economic prosperity of India, schemed and misled the judiciary by invoking irrelevant and religious beliefs and succeeded in their designs to stall the prestigious Ship Channel Project activities.”
The Sethu Samudram Project envisages dredging of a channel across the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka to allow ships to sail between the east and west coasts of India, instead of circumventing the island nation.
There was opposition to the project on the economic/religious/ecological fronts. The Hindus believe the Adam’s Bridge or the Ram Sethu was built by Lord Rama to reach Sri Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of demon king Ravana.
The Tamil Nadu government under late J. Jayalalithaa had demanded the Ram Sethu/Adam’s Bridge be called a national monument and contended that its demolition would impact marine ecology in that region.