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QUESTION NO.1452 MEETING WITH SRI LANKA OVER ARREST OF FISHERMEN

July 04, 2019

RAJYA SABHA
UNSTARRED QUESTION NO.1452
TO BE ANSWERED ON 04.07.2019

MEETING WITH SRI LANKA OVER ARREST OF FISHERMEN

1452. DR. V. MAITREYAN:

Will the Minister of EXTERNAL AFFAIRS be pleased to state:

(a) whether Government has held any high level meeting with Sri Lanka to resolve the issue of regular arrest of fishermen due to violation of maritime border;

(b) if so, the details of the meetings held during 2018 and 2019 and the outcome thereof;

(c) the number of fishermen and boats captured and languishing in jails of Sri Lanka, at present;

(d) the details of policy decision taken in this regard; and

(e) whether Government has any proposal to retrieve Katchatheevu back as it was ceded to Sri Lanka as per agreements of 1974 and 1976?

ANSWER
THE MINISTER OF STATE IN THE MINISTRY OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS
[SHRI V. MURALEEDHARAN]

(a) to (d) Government regularly takes up the matter of early release and repatriation of Indian fishermen with the Government of Sri Lanka. This issue has been discussed at high level meetings between the two sides. It was discussed during bilateral meetings held during the visit of President of Sri Lanka to India from 30-31 May 2019 and the visit of Prime Minister of India to Sri Lanka on 9 June 2019.

A Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries has been set up with Sri Lanka, as a bilateral institutional mechanism to help find a long-standing solution to all fishermen issues. It has also been agreed that Ministers for Fisheries of the two countries meet every six months to review the progress. Ministers of Fisheries of both the countries have met two times, in January 2017 in Colombo and in October 2017 in New Delhi. Also, three rounds of JWG have been held. The first meeting of the JWG on Fisheries was held in New Delhi in December 2016 where both sides agreed to a set of Confidence Building Measures (CBMs). The 2nd and 3rd meetings of the JWG held in April 2017 in Colombo and in October 2017 in New Delhi, took stock of the implementation of the CBMs.

Currently, there are 5 Indian fishermen and 34 fishing vessels in Sri Lankan custody. It has been Government’s constant endeavour to secure early release of the Indian fishermen and fishing boats in Sri Lankan custody.

(e) No.

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