India hopes for early resolution of fishermen issue with Sri Lanka

Monday, 21 November 2016 00:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Reuters: India said last week it hopes for a joint committee meet soon to resolve the ongoing fishermen issue with Sri Lanka.

The two nations decided to set up the committee a day before President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in India on 6 November.

“We look forward to an early meeting of that particular committee, because as you know we have agreed on step-by-step approach to resolve the fishermen issue once and for all. And I am sure the joint working group, once it meets, will be able to take some concrete steps in that regard,” said VikasSwarup, Spokesperson of the Indian Foreign Ministry told reporters in New Delhi.

Fishermen from the South Asian neighbours frequently stray into each other’s territory and end up spending years in their jails.

The arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy has been a major topic of debate between the two nations.

Swarup said a high number of Indian fishermen and boats are currently in the custody of the island nation.

“As far as the figures are concerned, currently there are four Indian fishermen and 130 boats in Sri Lankan custody and there are zero Sri Lankan fishermen and 14 boats in Indian custody,” he said.

Earlier in the day, two fishermen were injured in firing by Sri Lankan Navy while they were fishing in the Indian Ocean region.

India shares an expansive oceanic border with Sri Lanka without any perceptible demarcation and fishermen on both sides ignore rules while netting their catch.

Sri Lanka has long fumed over poaching and illegal fishing by Indian fishermen that it says deplete the catches of its own fishermen.