While thanking Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris for the invitation to the upcoming Commonwealth Summit, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had remained noncommittal about attending the event to be held in Sri Lanka, the Indian Express reported.
It said Dr. Singh told the visiting minister that Colombo had to expeditiously release the arrested Indian fishermen in keeping with the earlier process instead of subjecting them to a judicial trial.
Sri Lanka had unilaterally changed the process with regard to fishermen nabbed by its navy for poaching in territorial waters claiming that an adequate deterrent was needed. This had led to almost 114 Indian fishermen languishing in Sri Lanka facing a long judicial process.
The main purpose of the minister’s visit was to invite Dr. Singh to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on November 15-17.
According to sources Dr. Singh told the visiting minister of the “need for the expeditious return of Indian fishermen as has been the process followed by both sides in the recent past.”
“He emphasised the need to treat it as a humanitarian issue,” an official source said.