India, Lanka step up dialogue on fishermen issue

Both sides discussed steps for faster release of those arrested for intrusion into each other’s waters.

Published: 15th January 2012 08:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:14 PM   |  A+A-

COLOMBO: Ahead of External Affairs Minister SM Krishna's visit to Colombo, India and Sri Lanka have agreed to step up dialogue among fishermen communities of both countries and discussed measures for faster release of those arrested for intrusion in each other's waters.

The two countries, at the fourth meeting of the joint working group on fisheries, also agreed to enhance cooperation to pursue fishing activity in a safe, secure and sustainable manner.

"They also discussed measures for the expeditious release of bonafide fishermen from both countries," said a joint statement issued after the two-day talks that concluded here yesterday.

The Indian delegation was led by by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Joint Secretary in charge of Sri Lanka in the External Affairs Ministry, while the Sri Lankan delegation was led by Kshenuka Senewiratne, Additional Secretary in Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry.

The 11-member Indian delegation included representatives from Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and several agencies, including the Coast Guard. During the talks, Sri Lanka stressed on the need to respect the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).

Indian fishermen are often accused of straying into the territorial waters of Sri Lanka leading to their arrest by the naval forces of the island nation. Krishna is arriving here tomorrow on a four-day visit.

The two sides agreed to encourage a continued dialogue process between the fishermen's communities of the two countries through regular meetings, the joint statement said.

A delegation of fishermen's representatives from Sri Lanka is expected to visit India in 2012.


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