India and Sri Lanka are close to clinching an agreement on drawing a fishing boundary in the Palk Strait that would put an end to recurring attacks on fishermen from Tamil Nadu allegedly by the island navy, Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy said today.
“The proposed agreement is in final stages. Both Indian and Sri Lankan Governments have agreed to the boundary proposals,” he told reporters.
External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid held several rounds of talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart as the government wanted to put an end to the continuing mid-sea attacks on the fishermen, vandalisation of nets and their arrests, he said.
Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka was also holding talks with the government, he said adding the PMO was following up the matter.
He said Sri Lankan and Indian fishermen have been called for talks to finalise the sea boundary for the purpose of fishing.
Expressing confidence that the agreement would be signed, Narayanasamy said both the Central and state governments have to take steps. He also sought the cooperation of the Tamil Nadu Government in finalising the agreement.
Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has taken up with the Centre the issue of frequent attacks on the state fishermen and even demanded retrieval of Katchatheevu, an islet ceded by India to Sri Lanka in the 1970s.
Sri Lankan has been accusing Tamil Nadu fishermen of poaching by crossing into their territory near Katchatheevu, known for its rich fish wealth. (PTI)