Sri Lanka India fishing dispute talks in Jan

Dec 29, 2011 (LBO) – Sri Lanka and India will hold talks on resolving a fishing dispute which escalated after the end of a 30-year war, when a joint working group meets in January. Fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratne said Sri Lanka will hold talks with an Indian delegation made up of state and central government officials on January 13 and 14 in the second such round of discussions.

Arrests

India’s foreign, fisheries and defence ministries and navy will be in the delegation, minister Senaratne said. Representatives from the states of Tamil Nadu, Andra Pradesh will also be represented.

“It is not only Tamil Nadu. Our fishermen are being arrested in Andra Pradesh, especially in Vishakapatnam, Orissa and Andaman Islands,” he said.

“When they are arrested in Andaman Islands we have to deal with the central government, and the paper work takes a long time.”

Sri Lankan fishermen are often arrested by Indian authorities. When Senaratne took over the ministry in 2010 there were 779 fishermen in Indian jails which were now down to 22 he said.

“We have reduced incidents of encroaching into India waters by educating fishermen,” he said.

Senarat