Foreign Secretary convenes meeting on fishing in waters between India and Sri Lanka

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New Delhi, Feb 26(ANI): A meeting was convened on Saturday, under the Chairmanship of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, to discuss matters relating to fishing in the waters between India and Sri Lanka.

The Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu, the Director General of Coast Guard, Secretary (Animal Husbandry and Fisheries) of Tamil Nadu, and officials from the Defence Ministry and External Affairs participated in the meeting.

The meeting was convened against the background of the recent developments concerning the violent incidents in the waters between India and Sri Lanka and the arrests of Indian fishermen.

While satisfaction was expressed at the release of the 136 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Government, it was nevertheless emphasized that resort to firing and use of force in such situations, as had happened in January, had no justification.

It was decided that the Central and Tamil Nadu Governments would encourage a delegation of local fishermen's associations from Tamil Nadu to visit Sri Lanka in March to meet with their Sri Lankan counterparts.

"Such contacts have proved to be mutually beneficial and should be strengthened," an External Affairs Ministry statement said.

The meeting also welcomed the convening of the Joint Working Group on Fishing proposed for March, which would also discuss the proposed draft Memorandum of Understanding on development and cooperation in the field of fisheries.

During the meting, the Tamil Nadu Government referred to the ongoing efforts to inform their fishermen about the need to observe security and safety parameters while engaging in fishing activities in the waters between India and Sri Lanka.

"Measures to further augment security in the vicinity of the International Maritime Boundary Line were also focussed on. The welfare, safety and security of our fishermen will continue to receive the highest priority of both the Central and State Governments," the statement said. (ANI)

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