India today said that it is committed to working together with the Government of Sri Lanka to find a mutually acceptable solution to the fishing issue and in this context remarks made by Minister Mahinda Amaraweera this week will not be helpful.
Amaraweera had said that he had refused to agree to a proposal from India to allow Indian fishermen to catch fish in Sri Lankan waters.
The Minister said that India had requested Sri Lanka to allow Indians to catch fish for 65 days a year in Sri Lankan waters in an attempt to resolve the Indo-Lanka fishing issue.
However Amaraweera said that he refused to agree to the proposal which had come through the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
Reacting to this statement, the official Spokesperson and Joint Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Vikas Swarup said that India was aware of the reported remarks made by the Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister.
“We also have concerns about Sri Lankan fishermen fishing in Indian waters. Frequently Sri Lankan fishermen are apprehended in our waters. However, we recognise that this is a complex livelihood issue which has a humanitarian dimension. Government attaches utmost importance to the safety and welfare of Indian fishermen. We are committed to working together with the Government of Sri Lanka to find a mutually acceptable solution. In this context, such remarks are not helpful,” Swarup said.
Earlier today Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne was asked to comment on the statement made by Mahinda Amaraweera but she refused to do so.
She however said that India and Sri Lanka are continuing talks on reaching a solution to the issue. (Colombo Gazette)