AsiaIndiaPoliticsSAARCSecuritySouthern AsiaSri Lanka

India and Sri Lanka Seek Long Term Solutions To Tamil’s Problems

SL Foreign Minister Peiris for Permanent Solution to Fishermen Issues

Modi Govt Puts Indo Sri Lankans issues on fast track

By TN Ashok Diplomatic Editor

New Delhi, July 11 : Sri Lanka has responded favourably to India’s demand for finding a long term solution to Tamil’s problems in the island and a permanent solution to the fishermen’s issues as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is bullish in finding a quick solution to these besides elevating bi lateral trade and economic ties .

“Discussions between the Indian External Affairs Minister Ms Sushma Swaraj and the visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G L Peiris covered all substantive issues. Both ministers agreed that there was a need to have a long term solution to the Tamils problems and permanent solution to the fishermen’s issues “, Syed Akbaruddin , spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry , told newsmen today.

The Tamils issue seemed to top the agenda of discussions between Swaraj and Peiris at the luncheon meeting held at the Hyderabad house here in the capital. The bilateral discussions reportedly pertained to issues such as the Palk Bay conflict between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka but skipped the Katcha Theevu issue as such. The much-discussed economic partnership agreement also figured prominently.

Indian Fishermen, fishing in Palk Bay, often struggle to catch fish in the Indian Ocean and are arrested by Sri Lankan maritime officials for venturing into, what Lanka claims is its territory. The fishermen, mostly from Tamil Nadu, say they have been traditionally fishing in these waters.

The external affairs ministry spokesman pointed out that since the Modi government assumed power the fishermen’s issue had been fast tracked and over 249 fishermen’s release had been secured including 37 today. In the last five years, some 805 fishermen had been released from captivity in Sri Lankan jails.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Ms J Jayalalitha has also been raising the tamils issue in her meetings with the Prime Minister Modi whenever she visited Delhi.

The Sri Lankan foreign minister’s visit follows closely President Mahindra Rajapakse’s visit to India along with Peiris to attend Modi’s inaugural as premier. They held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi soon after he was sworn in as Prime Minister.

During the Rajapaksa-Modi meet, the Indian Prime Minister is said to have urged Sri Lanka to deliver on its promise of early and full implementation of the 13th Amendment granting equal status and civic rights to Tamils in the island alongside the majority Sinhalese. This followed the India-Lanka Accord of 1987 and a promise then made by the Sri Lankan President in 2010.

Also, according to the peace accord signed between the two countries in 1987, Sri Lanka agreed to devolve powers to the provinces. But the island nation hasn’t yet devolved police and land powers to the Tamil dominated Northern Province.

On the economic front, ways to strengthen trade ties between the two countries was also discussed as Indo Sri Lanka trade now was restricted to a shade under US $ 5 billion, though there was scope to up this to a much higher level. Sri Lanka is to invest US $ one billion in a manufacturing facility in Visakhapatnam that would provide employment to over 32,000 people.

Related posts