India and Sri Lanka on Friday reiterated their commitment to finding a long term solution to the issue of Indian fishermen running into trouble with Sri Lankan authorities in the Indian Ocean.
The issue of Indian fishermen figured prominently during discussions between External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and Sri Lankan Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, whose three day visit to India concluded on Friday.
This was Prof. Peiris’ first formal meeting with Ms. Swaraj. Earlier, the duo had met in 2012 when Ms. Swaraj, then the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, had led a delegation of parliamentarians to Sri Lanka.
Prof. Peiris had earlier visited India in January this year when he met the then External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid.
He had also accompanied Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the swearing in ceremony of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
(The issue of Indian Fishermen) was discussed at length…both sides felt that there needs to be a longer term solution (to the issue),” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said.
Ms. Swaraj thanked Prof. Peiris and President Rajapaksa about the “fast track approach” to the release and repatriation of Indian fishermen.
805 Indian fishermen, the largest number in the last five years, have been released by Sri Lanka this year.
“They have been or are being repatriated to India,” said Mr. Akbaruddin.