Act with restraint on fishermen issue: India tells Colombo

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New Delhi, Mar 3 (UNI) Expressing concern over the recent upsurge in the violence in Sri Lanka, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukhejee today said India had asked the island nation to ''act with restraint'' in cases involving Indian fishermen.

India was ''closely monitoring'' the developments in Sri Lanka as the interests of the Tamil community there were a matter of ''particular significance to us,'' Mr Mukherjee said in a suo motu statement in the Lok Sabha.

India's policy towards Sri Lanka was based on the conviction that there was no military solution to the conflict and the way forward ''lies in a peacefully negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka acceptable to all communities, including the Tamils'' he explained.

With this in mind, New Delhi had welcomed as a first step the declared intention of the Sri Lankan government to fully implement the 13th Amendment.

''We are also fully conscious of the need to provide for the safety of our fishermen. While it is important for our fishermen to respect the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), especially keeping in mind the ongoing operations in Sri Lanka, we have impressed on the Sri Lankan Navy to act with restraint and for our fishermen to be treated in a humane manner,'' the Minister said.

UNI SN MIR KP1402

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