Government of India attaches the highest importance to the safety, security and welfare of Indian fishermen. Government has worked assiduously to secure the release of Indian fishermen who are apprehended by the Sri Lankan authorities for allegedly fishing in Sri Lankan waters. Similarly, Sri Lankan fishermen have also been apprehended by our authorities for fishing in Indian waters.
Keeping in mind the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of the fishermen’s issue, Government had reached an understanding though a Joint Statement with the Government of Sri Lanka on 26 October 2008, to put in place practical arrangements to deal with bona fide Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL). Further, in the last meeting of the Joint Working Group on Fisheries which met in January 2012, both sides had agreed to hold a meeting of Fishermen’s Associations. Accordingly, one round of discussions was held at Chennai on 27th January 2014 at which Fishermen’s Associations from both India and Sri Lanka participated. Preparations are on-going for the next round of talks to be held in Colombo shortly.
As a goodwill measure prior to the next round of Fishermen’s Association discussions an understanding has been reached between the Government of India and the Government of Sri Lanka to release fishermen and boats in custody. The process of release has already commenced on both sides from 12th March 2014.
March 13, 2014
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