India, Sri Lanka to discuss fishermen issue

The recent arrest of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy and related incidents will figure at the bilateral International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) meeting of the navies of India and Sri Lanka to be held shortly, according to Inspector General Satya Prakash Sharma, Commander, Coast Guard Region, East.

He was reviewing maritime security with KBL Bhatnagar, Deputy Inspector General of Coast Guard, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and Commandant S. Mankoti, Commanding Officer, Coast Guard Station, Puducherry.

Mr. Sharma told The Hindu here on Thursday that some fishermen of Rameswaram were apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy for allegedly entering Sri Lankan waters. The process of convening the meeting, of which Indian Coast Guard was a part, had been activated and it would be held shortly.


To a question about the repeated incidents of arrest of Indian fishermen in the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar and the alleged harassment by the Sri Lankan Navy, Mr. Sharma said that talks were on between the two governments at different levels to find a solution.

A few forums and fishermen associations were also working out plans. He hoped that a peaceful solution would be arrived at.

Asked about an immediate solution to the issue, he said: “The Indian fishermen should carry out their activities peacefully in Indian waters. We [Coast Guard] are here to take care of their safety and security.”

Asked about the outcome of the enquiry being conducted by the Coast Guard into the alleged involvement of its vessel in an accident near Mandapam recently, in which a fisherman was killed, the Inspector General said that the preliminary probe by two Deputy Inspectors General of the Coast Guard was at the final stages.

The Tamil Nadu police were conducting separate enquiry into the accident. The Coast Guard had provided all information sought by them and would continue to coordinate with them to find out the real reason for the accident. Earlier, Mr. Sharma met Lt. Governor of Puducherry Iqbal Singh and Chief Secretary M. Sathiavathy. (The Hindu)