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India conveys concern over fishermen killing to Sri Lanka

India voiced "serious concern" over the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy and said it expected the island nation to put in place "effective measures" to avoid recurrence of such incidents.



Colombo: India on Monday voiced "serious concern" over the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy and said it expected the island nation to put in place "effective measures" to avoid recurrence of such incidents.

Visiting Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said she conveyed India`s concern to President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the recent violent incidents in the waters between India and Sri Lanka which had resulted in the "tragic" death of the two fishermen.

A joint statement issued after the conclusion of the visit said that additional information be made available by the Indian side on the incidents which New Delhi said should be "fully investigated."

The two sides however agreed that the use of force cannot be justified under any circumstances.
"My visit is to underscore the very serious concern about the issue. And we expect Sri Lanka will put in place effective measures to avoid occurrence of such incidents in the future," Rao told reporters just before wrapping up her two-day visit to the Sri Lankan capital.

"He was very receptive", Rao said while referring to her meeting with the President.

The joint statement also said that Rao had expressed the "deep concern" of the Government of India regarding the violent incidents.
"The Sri Lanka authorities emphasised in this regard that it is the consistent policy of Sri Lanka to treat in a humanitarian manner all fishermen, including those from the Indian fishing community, who cross into Sri Lanka waters."

The two sides also noted the decline in incidents after Joint Statement on Fishing Arrangements between two countries in 2008 which put in place pracaatical arrangements to deal with bonafide fishermen crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line(IMBL).

"They agreed on the need to discuss arrangements based on the current situation so as to strengthen the safety and security of the fishermen" the joint statement said.

It was decided to convene next meeting of the Joint Working Group at an early date. During her visit Rao also met External Affairs minister G L Peirs, her Sri Lankan counterpart C R Jayasinghe and defence secretary Gothabhya Rajapaksa.

Earlier, strongly reacting to the killing of a second Indian fisherman allegedly by the Lankan Navy, India said it was "unacceptable" and sought a report on the matter from its mission in Colombo.

PTI

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