The Government of Sri Lanka is committed to ascertaining the facts behind the recently reported violent incidents in the waters between India and Sri Lanka, which has resulted in the tragic death of Indian fishermen.
While continuing with further inquiries, the Sri Lankan authorities have requested that additional information be made available by the Indian side. Both sides agreed that the use of force cannot be justified under any circumstances, states a Joint Statement issued by the Ministries of External Affairs of Sri Lanka and India following Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao’s discussions in Sri Lanka on the issue of Indian fishermen.
Rao stressed that these incidents should be fully investigated and all steps taken to prevent their recurrence in future.
She met President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Minister of External Affairs Prof. G L Peiris, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and External Affairs Secretary C. R. Jayasinghe yesterday.
Following is the Joint Statement:
The Foreign Secretary of India, Nirupama Rao, visited Sri Lanka on 30-31 January 2011. During her visit, she called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris, on 31 January 2011. She also met Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and External Affairs Secretary C.R. Jayasinghe.
During the discussions, Foreign Secretary Rao expressed the deep concern of the Government of India at the recent violent incidents in the waters between India and Sri Lanka, which had resulted in the tragic death of two Indian fishermen. She stressed that these incidents should be fully investigated and all steps taken to prevent their recurrence in future. The Sri Lanka authorities emphasised in this regard that it is the consistent policy of Sri Lanka to treat in a humanitarian manner all fishermen, including those from the Indian fishing community, who cross into Sri Lanka waters. Given the very close bilateral relationship between the two countries, any development which impacts on the wellbeing of the Indian fishing community pursuing their livelihoods in the waters between the two countries, is of the utmost concern to Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka is therefore committed to ascertaining the facts behind the incidents. While continuing with further inquiries, the Sri Lankan authorities have requested that additional information be made available by the Indian side. Both sides agreed that the use of force cannot be justified under any circumstances.
The two sides noted that the Joint Statement on fishing arrangements of 26 October 2008, which had put in place practical arrangements to deal with bona fide fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), had led to a decrease in incidents. They agreed on the need to discuss arrangements based on the current situation so as to strengthen the safety and security of the fishermen.
Accordingly, it was decided that the next meeting of the Joint Working Group on Fishing would be convened at an early date, which would, inter-alia, address various issues relating to fishing by the two sides. The Joint Working Group would also address the proposed Memorandum of Understanding on development and cooperation in the field of fisheries. It was decided as well to enhance and promote contacts between the fishermen’s associations on both sides, since such contacts have proved to be mutually beneficial.
Karunanidhi meets PM, discusses fishermen issue
PTI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Monday met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and is understood to have raised the issue of Indian fishermen being killed allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy.
Karunanidhi, who arrived here yesterday on a three-day visit, met Dr. Singh at his 7, Race Course Road residence and is believed to have asked the Prime Minister to tell Colombo not to resort to firing at fishermen who cross the International Maritime Border.
Karunanidhi also discussed the ensuing Assembly polls in Tamil Nadu and the seat-sharing mechanism between the DMK and Congress, DMK sources said.
He is also scheduled to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
The Chief Minister had yesterday told reporters that he would discuss the fishermen attack issue with the Prime Minister. “I have been discussing the fishermen issue with Dr. Singh on several occasions,” he had said yesterday indicating that he would take up the issue with the Prime Minister again.
The meeting comes at a time when Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao is in Colombo to take up the issue with Sri Lanka. Rao was asked by External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna to travel to Colombo to discuss with the Sri Lankan government the killing of Indian fishermen.