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Ahead of talks, India asks SL to release fishers, boats at earliest

India has demanded that fishermen and fishing boats currently in the custody of Sri Lanka be released at the earliest.

Ahead of talks, India asks SL to release fishers, boats at earliest
Representative image.

The issue was taken up at the Fifth Meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries, which was held virtually in March, according to an official statement. Both the countries will continue to cooperate and engage in dialogue to solve the fishermen-related issues.

The Indian delegation was led by Jatindra Nath Swain, Secretary, Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, an official statement said on Sunday.

The other members of the Indian delegation included senior representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Tamil Nadu, Government of Puducherry, Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

The Sri Lankan delegation was led by Ms R.M.I. Rathnayake, Secretary, Ministry of Fisheries, Government of Sri Lanka.

“The Joint Working Group discussed all relevant issues in detail including the concerns relating to fishermen and fishing boats which have been on the agenda of bilateral discussions between India and Sri Lanka for many years,” the statement said. Swain observed that the India is always committed to work constructively with Sri Lanka towards resolution of issues related to fishermen and their livelihoods in a humanitarian manner.

The issues relating to investigation on recent deaths of fishermen and status of apprehended fishermen and fishing boats too figured in the meeting.

Jaishankar lands in Sri Lanka:

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in Sri Lanka to hold bilateral talks with the top leadership and attend the seven-nation BIMSTEC summit, officials here said on Sunday. This is his first visit to the island nation since India extended an economic relief package to bail Sri Lanka out of the current economic crisis. Although Jaishankar’s visit is primarily for the BIMSTEC engagements, the officials said that he would be taking part in all important bilateral talks with the Sri Lankan leaders.

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