COLOMBO [SRI LANKA]: Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murugan has discussed with Sri Lanka's Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda the issue of fishermen, a major irritant in the bilateral relationship, and emphasised that it was a humanitarian matter related to their livelihood.
Murugan arrived in the country on a four-day visit on Thursday.
''MOS @Murugan_MOS met Minister for Fisheries Hon. Douglas Devananda. Emphasised that (the) issue of fishermen was a humanitarian matter which pertains to their livelihood,'' the Indian High Commission tweeted.
Illegal fishing in the Sri Lankan waters by Indian fishermen has been a recurrent problem despite many high-level talks held between the two sides.
The fishermen issue is a contentious one in the ties between India and Sri Lanka, with the Lankan Navy personnel even firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seizing their boats in several alleged incidents of illegally entering Sri Lankan's territorial waters.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, during his visit here last month, also met with Devananda and discussed the issue of Indian fishermen.
''Discussed cooperation on fisheries and stressed working together and humanitarian approach,'' Jaishankar tweeted on January 20.
On Friday, Murugan also underlined India's commitment to strengthen age-old civilisational bonds with Sri Lanka as he visited the Mannar District in the Northern Province.
Murugan started his engagements in Mannar with prayers at the sacred Thiruketheeswaram Temple, an enduring symbol of ties between Sri Lanka and India.
''The temple trustees recalled with gratitude the generous assistance in the restoration of the temple by the Government of India,'' the Indian High Commission tweeted.
''MOS @Murugan_MoS stressed the commitment of India to strengthen age-old He also handed over dry rations and daily essentials to 150 families in Mannar, extending assistance to people in different parts of Sri Lanka.
He also visited Thalaimannar, from where ferry services are proposed to be resumed between India and Sri Lanka.
''Deeper connectivity promotes people-to-people interactions and commercial and business exchanges!!,'' the Indian mission said in another tweet.
During the visit, Murugan will dedicate to the people of Sri Lanka the Jaffna Cultural Centre, the foundation stone of which was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
He would meet with President Wickremesinghe before his departure on February 12, officials added.
The minister would also visit various sites that underline the scale and extent of India's people-centric development partnership in Sri Lanka and also interact with a cross-section of leaders and stakeholders.
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