Fishermen row: India, Sri Lanka agree on practical arrangements

October 27th, 2008 - 12:10 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 26 (IANS) With growing concern in India over the harassment and killing of its fishermen, India and Sri Lanka Sunday agreed on practical arrangements to address the issue that included Colombo designating sensitive areas in which Indian vessels will not intrude. India raised the issue of incidents of firing on its fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy during the discussions between External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Special Adviser Basil Rajapaksa, who was visiting New Delhi to allay India’s concerns over the situation in Sri Lanka.

National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon also raised the matter that has become a sensitive political issue in Tamil Nadu.

“With regard to issues relating to fishermen, in view of the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions involved, both sides agreed to put in place practical arrangements to deal with bona fide Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen crossing the international maritime boundary line,” said a joint statement on fisheries arrangements after the talks.

According to new arrangements, Sri Lanka will designate sensitive areas along its coastline and convey the same to India after which Indian fishing vessels will not venture into these areas.

Indian fishermen will also have to carry identity cards issued by the Tamil Nadu government and their vessels are required to possess permits, the statement said.

“Further, there will be no firing on Indian fishing vessels,” it said.

The two countries agreed to continue with their discussions, initiated in 2005, on the proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU) on development and cooperation in the field of fisheries, the statement said.

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