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Mahinda Rajapaksa to discuss fishermen’s concerns with Narendra Modi

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Development partnership, regional safety, COVID-19 response, Tamil query are additionally on the desk.

Following a gathering with Sri Lanka’s northern fisher leaders, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised to take up their concern over “trespassing Indian trawlers” with Prime Minister Narendra Modi within the digital summit scheduled on Saturday.

“Our fisher leaders from the Northern Province raised the issue of Indian trawlers poaching in our waters, and using banned fishing practices, often damaging the boats and fishing nets of Sri Lankan fishermen. PM Rajapaksa said he will take up the matter with PM Modi,” Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda advised The Hindu on Friday. “There is a fear that our Navy may not be arresting them fearing the Indian fishermen might be carriers of the coronavirus,” he added.

While Sri Lankan Navy arrested 210 Indian fishermen in 2019, solely 34 have been arrested up to now this 12 months. Some fisher leaders, together with from Point Pedro, level to a “persisting problem” of Indian trawlers, however others word that the variety of trespassing bottom-trawlers has come down significantly, particularly after Sri Lanka launched harder legal guidelines and stiff fines for overseas vessels.

“There are also some local fishermen who engage in banned fishing practices. PM Rajapaksa has promised to look into that as well,” mentioned Annalingam Annarasa, chief of the federation of fisher cooperative societies in Jaffna, after Friday’s assembly.

 

Complaints of Indian fishermen, most originating from Tamil Nadu, will seemingly be one of many points taken up by the 2 leaders in India’s first digital summit within the neighbourhood. Bilateral cooperation, together with improvement partnership, regional safety, COVID-19 response and the political state of affairs are anticipated to be mentioned.

Sri Lanka’s Tamil management has expressed hope that the leaders will discuss the pending Tamil query, particularly within the wake of some in authorities calling for abolition of provincial councils, the one structural assure up to now of a measure of energy devolution to the provinces.

Closest neighbours

R. Sampanthan, the Trincomalee MP and chief of the Tamil National Alliance, mentioned the TNA very wished that India-Sri Lanka relations are additional strengthened and that they “continue to be closest neighbours of each other, in every possible way”.

“We are historically, culturally, religiously linguistically very closely associated with each other. This relationship, in my view, will be greatly strengthened by a negotiated peaceful resolution of the national issue in Sri Lanka relating to the Tamil question,” he advised The Hindu on the eve of the leaders’ assembly.

“We fully support PM Modi’s message conveyed to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the Tamil question must be addressed on the basis of justice, equality and dignity. We want a solution on that basis within the framework of a united, undivided, indivisible Sri Lanka. And we do sincerely hope that the strengthening of relations between India and Sri Lanka will contribute towards the achievement of that objective and will further strengthen our friendship,” he mentioned.



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