India’s Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Transport Minister has discussed with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on an $5.19bn road project that would link India and the island nation with a seabridge and an underwater tunnel.

The two countries discussed plans to construct a sea bridge and a tunnel that would connect the 22km stretch between Talaimannar of Sri Lanka and and Dhanushkodi of India, PTI reported, citing official sources.

"Multilateral funding agency ADB has also shown keen interest in financing $5.19bn India-Sri Lanka proposed project."

India has already inked motor vehicle agreements with Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, in order to boost connectivity with neighbouring countries and is now also planning to improve connectivity with the island nation.

The news agency quoted a source as saying: "Multilateral funding agency ADB, which has already agreed to finance infrastructure projects worth about $8bn for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) region, has also shown keen interest in financing $5.19bn India-Sri Lanka proposed project."

Makeshift ferry service arrangements currently connect the 22km narrow stretch.

The BBIN motor vehicle agreement was signed in Bhutan a few months ago and India wants Sri Lanka to join this pact, which intends to facilitate movement of vehicles within these regions.

Meanwhile, the work on the $8bn road connectivity projects between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal is likely to be completed by 2017.

By the end of this year, India plans to ink another similar agreement with Myanmar and Thailand.

"We are working on the project and as soon as it is completed, Trans Asia Road and transport network could be extended to Sri Lanka," Gadkari added.