Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao yesterday said India and Sri Lanka are talking to work out a ‘practical arrangement’ to help fishing communities of both sides to live peacefully.
“To find a solution to the issue, India and Sri Lanka are engaged in a dialogue at all levels aimed at addressing it comprehensively and working out a practical arrangement which would allow fishing communities on both sides to coexist peacefully,” she said in New Delhi.
The Foreign Secretary was addressing a seminar on Fisheries organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF). In the last couple of years, there have been several instances where fishermen from both sides have swayed into each others' territory and have been apprehended for doing so.
Rao said in view of the depleting fisheries in the area and the livelihood issues around it, "our two governments are giving special attention to the problems that have arisen concerning what is called the fishermen issue between the two countries."
She said during her last visit to Colombo to take up the issue of fishermen apprehended there, the Sri Lankan side assured the well-being of the Indian fishing community was of utmost concern for it and under no circumstances, use of force was justified. Citing examples of fishing agreements between different countries, the Foreign Secretary said the aim should be to ensure a peaceful settlement of these issues.
"This will involve some degree of political compromise. Reciprocal fishing access and cooperative management of shared fishery resources are other ideas coming from other countries," she said. (PTI)