India, Sri Lanka to speedily free fishermen

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS): The Indian and Sri Lankan Coast Guards have agreed to work for the speedy release of fishermen arrested for violating the maritime boundary, the government said Friday.

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley told the Lok Sabha that the directors general of the Coast Guards of the two countries met in New Delhi June 25.

The major issues discussed included training and cooperation on maritime search and rescue, maritime pollution response, conduct of joint maritime exercises and speedy release of arrested fishermen.

Sri Lanka frequently arrests Indian fishermen who stray into its waters. Indian authorities too occasionally arrest Sri Lankan fishermen. The two countries are divided by a narrow strip of sea.

The issue has generated a lot of heat in Tamil Nadu, to which the Indian fishermen belong.

Jaitley said the two Coast Guards "have agreed to strengthen cooperation through institutionalised bilateral mechanisms.

"They also agreed to continue cooperation for speedy release and repatriation of fishermen found violating the maritime boundary between the two countries."


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Title: India, Sri Lanka to speedily free fishermen

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