She went on to state that the centre had not taken action despite her repeated reminders.
The issue of fishermen being apprehended by Sri Lanka indeed is a matter of concern and would require some tough measures.
However before getting into the solutions one must understand the reasons behind such repeated incidents.
- There is a territorial overlap in some areas and there are no well defined boundaries.
- Sri Lanka continues to be extremely guarded despite the fall of the LTTE. The country continues to monitor any movement into their territory and always views with suspect. This fear is largely because they feel that the LTTE may try and stage a return.
- The other issue is with the Maritime Agreement of 1974. Prior to this there were no issues with fishermen from both sides fishing in the Palk Bay area. However after the agreement, both nations decided to stop fishing on either sides. The fishermen are not aware of the boundary and in the absence of a well defined one tend to stray into the other side.
What is the solution?
- India would need better fish farming so that the Indian fishermen will stick to their area and get a better catch.
- Coordination between the two countries's forces would help
- A ban on mechanised trawlers would also be a solution.
- Engage the coast guard more to ensure Indian fishermen do not stray
What has the government done so far?
The Indian Coast Guard has installed tracking devices. These devices would beep when an Indian fisherman has entered into the other side.
Further the government has also undertaken a census of the fishermen. This the government feels will help in monitoring the fishermen.
India would however need to also coordinate better with Sri Lanka on this issue.
If both sides undertaken joint operations it would ensure that the Indian fishermen do not stray into the Sri Lankan side and vice versa.