After a gap of over five years, the Indo-Sri Lankan Joint Working Group on fisheries will meet in New Delhi on March 28 to discuss issues of fishing in the narrow Palk Straits and the Gulf of Mannar and related problems.
Apart from senior officials of the External Affairs Ministries of India and Sri Lanka, the delegations which will take part in the talks will include representatives from the Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Defence, the Attorney General's Department, Immigration and Armed Forces.
The meeting of the group was revived consequent to a meeting between Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in end-January. She had rushed to Colombo following the killing of two fishermen from Tamil Nadu in Sri Lankan waters.
A joint statement issued at the end of Ms. Rao's visit decided to revive the Group at “an early date.” The Group would also address the proposed Memorandum of Understanding on development and cooperation in the field of fisheries. “It was decided as well to enhance and promote contacts between the fishermen's associations on both sides, since such contacts have proved to be mutually beneficial,” the statement had said.
India and Sri Lanka are also working on modalities for visit of delegations of fishermen from either side.