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Steps to check fishermen from straying to foreign waters, says Sushma Swaraj

Marking of the maritime boundary should be done in a way so that it is easily identifiable by the fishermen, said the External Affairs Minister.

By: PTI Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: March 3, 2016 6:17:09 pm
indian foreign policy, sushma swaraj, sushma in sri lanka, Sir lankan constitution, diplomatic capital, President Maithripala Sirisena, indo-lankan relations, express opinion External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday said the issue of Indian fishermen straying into Pakistan’s waters would be resolved soon with the installation of GPS in fishing boats and marking of the maritime boundary.

Responding to concerns raised by her party colleague during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, she said the issue of fishermen crossing over to Pakistani waters would soon be
resolved as GPS navigation system were being installed on fishing boats to guide them.

Besides, the international maritime boundary could be clearly marked by floating poles and lights to warn fishermen not to go beyond them, she said, adding that marking of the maritime boundary should be done in a way so that it is easily identifiable by the fishermen.

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“They (fishermen) want us to help them with information about the maritime boundary. The issue in relation to Pakistan would be soon resolved. We will install GPS and mark the maritime boundary line so that neither Pakistanis come to our side, nor do Indians stray to the other,” she said.

Earlier, BJP’s Mansukh Lal Mandavia raised the issue of 117 Gujarat fishermen being arrested by Pakistan. He said fishermen from Tamil Nadu were also arrested by Sri Lanka.

Swaraj said the issue was not of Gujarat or Tamil Nadu, “they are Indian fishermen.”

The Minister said when Pakistani fishermen come to the Indian side, they are arrested here and when Indian fishermen cross over, Pakistan arrests them.

On the arrest of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, a mechanism was set up under which it was decided that fishermen of both sides would meet and find a solution.

However, 5-6 meetings have taken place but this mechanism has not given any solution till date, she said.

Swaraj said that during her recent visit to the island nation, she had raised the issue with the Sri Lankan President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister.

It has been decided that since fishermen of the two sides are not able to find a solution, Sri Lankan fisheries minister would come to India in May to hold talks.

The matter would be discussed and “we will find a permanent solution,” Swaraj said

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