Sri Lanka India Clash on Maritime Boundary

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Mikkis, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Mikkis

    Mikkis Regular Member

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    Sri Lanka India Clash on Maritime Boundary

    Talks aimed at resolving the thorny issue of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters ended without agreement yesterday with a joint statement failing to note India’s response to Sri Lanka’s position that both countries respect the International Maritime Boundary Line.

    The joint statement issued at the conclusion of the two-day meeting of the Joint Working Group on Fisheries in Colombo noted that Sri Lanka had “stressed” on the matter, but did not record India’s response to Sri Lanka’ position. In diplomatic parlance, Sri Lanka’s main demand that India ensure that its fishermen do not stray into Sri Lanka’s territorial waters drew no positive response that warrants a mention in the joint statement.

    Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne told the Sunday Times that Sri Lanka had always insisted on maintaining the inviolability of the IMBL. “We cannot have any compromise over the Maritime Boundary,” he said.

    The Hindu online, however, quoted an Indian official as saying India accepted Sri Lanka’s position on the IMBL. “While this was accepted by the Indian side, both sides also agreed that there was a need to manage the situation till such time that arrangements were made to discourage Indian fishermen from crossing over,” the official said.

    The talks failed to reach accord on a Memorandum of Understanding on Development and Cooperation in the field of fisheries.

    The Sri Lankan delegation was led by External Affairs Ministry’s Additional Secretary Kshenuka Senewiratne while the Indian delegation was led by External Affairs Ministry Joint Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

    The 11-member Indian delegation also included representatives from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and a host of state agencies, including the Indian Coast Guard.

    The joint statement said that both sides reiterated that the highest priority be accorded to the well being, safety and security of fishermen from the two countries and agreed that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstances.

    The statement also said the two delegations discussed measures for the expeditious release of bona fide fishermen of both countries, but Indian reports said India could not give an assurance on its own, because the matter involved the Indian states where the majority of Sri Lankan fishermen get arrested – either when they are indulging in poaching or because of mechanical failure of their boats. States, led by Tamil Nadu have evolved a mechanism to work out arrangements for genuine fishermen. Andhra Pradesh and Odisha too have set in motion the process to create such mechanisms.

    On Tuesday 13 Indian fishermen were detained by the Navy off Trincomalee, but were released two days later as a ‘goodwill gesture’, but nine Lankan fishermen who were detained by Indian coastal guards continued to remain in custody.

    Earlier India had suggested that the Palk Strait waters be made a joint fishing grounds, but Sri Lanka rejected the proposal and instead called for joint patrolling of the maritime boundary.

    http://www.sundaytimes.lk/120115/News/nws_01.html
     
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  3. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

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    Joint Press Statement after the conclusion of 4th India-Sri Lanka JWG on Fisheries

    January 15, 2012

    The 4th meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group on Fisheries was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 13-14 January 2012. The Sri Lankan delegation was led by Ms. Kshenuka Senewiratne, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Indian delegation by Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs of India. Both sides reviewed the developments since the last meeting of the Joint Working Group which was held on 28-29 March 2011 in New Delhi, India.

    2. The two sides noted that the Joint Working Group process on fisheries had a salutary effect. It was acknowledged that the Joint Statement on Fishing Arrangements of 26th October 2008 had since led to a decrease in violent incidents. Both sides reiterated the highest priority accorded by their respective Governments to the well being, safety and security of fishermen from the two countries. Both countries agreed that the use of force could not be justified under any circumstances, and reiterated in this regard the importance of extending humane treatment to all fishermen. Acknowledging that fisheries involved the socio-economic and livelihood dimensions of the fishermen living in coastal areas in India and Sri Lanka, the two sides agreed to enhance cooperation that would allow both countries to pursue their fishing activity in a safe, secure and sustainable manner, including discouraging fishermen from using destructive fishing methods. They also discussed measures for the expeditious release of bonafide fishermen from both countries. The need to respect the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) was stressed by the Sri Lankan side.

    3. Both sides noted the importance of an ongoing engagement between fishermen and fishermen’s associations in India and Sri Lanka. They agreed to encourage a continued dialogue process between the fishermen’s communities of the two countries through regular meetings. In this context, it was agreed that a delegation of fishermen’s representatives from Sri Lanka would visit India at the earliest in 2012.

    4. Both sides exchanged views on various measures to manage the fishery resources in their respective waters. Emphasizing the need for conservation of marine resources and protection of marine ecology, they agreed to the joint development of fisheries and marine resources in the Palk Bay area and the Gulf of Mannar. The two sides agreed to develop programmes for bilateral exchanges in aquaculture and fishing related activities, including training in fisheries management, genetic improvement of cultured species, fishing technology, exchange of scientists, etc.

    5. The two sides held discussions on a Memorandum of Understanding on Development and Cooperation in the field of Fisheries and agreed to work towards concluding the same at an early date.

    6. The Indian delegation thanked the Government of Sri Lanka for its assistance in rescuing Indian fishermen stranded due to cyclonic weather conditions in the Palk Straits area in recent weeks, enabling their speedy repatriation and facilitating the visit of a team from India to salvage the grounded boats. The Indian delegation thanked the Sri Lankan authorities for continuing to facilitate the visit of Indian fishermen and pilgrims to Kachchativu for the festival of St. Anthony.

    7. It was agreed that meetings of the Joint Working Group would be held on a regular basis, at least once in six months. The next meeting would be held in New Delhi at mutually convenient dates.

    Colombo
    January 15, 2012


    MEA - Ministry of External Affairs
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Where was the clash?

    And if there was a clash, who on the ground, will win if they want to?
     
  5. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    There was no clash, it is just a misleading title which attracted our friends from across the border as they are constantly told that India clashes with each of its neighbours. These are talks, not clashes, to resolve the maritime boundary issue between India and Sri Lanka. Our friends from across the border probably even see the Indo-Nepal border talks as a "clash".
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Maybe they mistake the clash of cymbals for celebration as a clash of wills!
     
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