COLOMBO: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena during the recent talks in New Delhi that the row over fishing in the Palk Strait is best settled through direct talks between the fishermen's associations of the two countires.
Briefing newsmen on the Delhi talks here on Thursday, the Lankan cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said that he, as a former Fisheries Minister, had made a presentation on the issue to bring out the fact that Lanka loses millions of dollars of earnings every year because of poaching by Indian trawlers in North Lankan waters.
Modi suggested that Lankan fishermen could fish in Indian waters as a quid pro quo.But Senaratne pointed out that this would not solve the problem of the North Lankan fishermen who cannot fish in Indian waters.They do not look for tuna which is aplenty in Indian waters.They look for prawns which are available in the Palk Strait.
Modi then suggested that the best thing would be to leave the matter to the fishermen's associations of the two countries which could meet and come to some agreement.
Senaratne said Modi will be in Lanka from March 13 to 15 on a state visit, the first by an Indian PM since 1987.But Indian officials said the PM's tour plan has not been finalized.