Lanka says no firing on Indian fishing vessels: Pranab

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Chennai, Oct 26 (UNI) Assuring that there would not be any firing on the Indian fishing vessels, Sri Lanka today agreed to put in place practical arrangements to deal with fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundry Line (IMBL) while fishing in high seas.

Talking to mediapersons after a 90-minute long meeting with Tamil Nu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi here this evening, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said this was agreed upon by the two countries after a meeting with Lankan Envoy Basil Rajapaksa with the Indian Government at New Delhi earlier in the day.

He said as part of these practical arrangements, Indian fishing vessels would not venture into the sensitive areas identified by the Sri Lankan Government along its coast line.

He said the Lankan Government also assured that it would not open fire on Indian fishing vessels (in the event of they crossing the IMBL on the high seas).

During the meeting, both India and Sri Lanka have agreed to put in place the practical arrangements keeping in mind the humanitarian and livelihood dimensions of bonafide Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen crossing the IMBL, he added.

Mr Mukherjee said it was also agreed that Indian fishing vessels would carry valid registration and permit and the fishermen would have on person valid identity cards issued by the Tamil Nadu Government.

Both India and Sri Lanka also agreed to continue with their discussions, intiated in 2005, on the proposed Memorandum of Understanding on development and Cooperation in the field of fisheries, Mr Mukherjee said.

UNI GV PD SK KP2105

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