Sri Lanka has agreed to consider India’s request to release captured Indian fishing boats.
In a breakthrough in the long-running fishermen issue between India and Sri Lanka, both sides agreed to release fishermen in each other’s custody on Monday.
Following a ministerial meeting, which was attended by Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Radha Mohan Singh and his Sri Lankan counterpart Mahinda Amaraweera, Colombo also agreed to “consider” releasing of Indian fishing boats in its custody.
“Both sides agreed to a set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to expedite the release and handing over of fishermen in each other’s custody on completion of respective legal and procedural formalities,” a Joint Press Communique issued at the end of the meeting stated.
MEA sources pointed out that as a result of the agreement, Sri Lanka will release 51 Indian fishermen that it currently holds in custody. “India will release three fishermen in response. But what is equally important is that Sri Lanka has agreed to consider India’s request to release the fishing boats that had taken away from our fishermen,” said an official source.