Colombo: Fishermen from India and Sri Lanka
could fish in the Palk Strait in turns to resolve the
sensitive fishing issue, an irritant in bilateral ties, former
President A P J Abdul Kalam has suggested.
Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen should fish in turns for
three days each in a week, leaving one day as a holiday by
both the parties, Kalam told a press conference here.
Kalam said he had also given the suggestion to Sri Lankan
President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his meeting with him.
"This will keep the fishermen active on all days and
increase their income that would lead to less tension on the
shared fishing ground. These are my proposals and it is up to
the governments to consider this," Kalam said.
His second proposal was to encourage deep sea fishing
with modern boats where the fish can be canned without delay.
Sri Lankan Navy frequently arrests Indian fishermen for
allegedly violating the international maritime boundary limits
and stray onto Lankan waters.
The Navy last night arrested at least 43 Indian fishermen
for allegedly violating the international maritime boundary.
The frequent detention of Indian fishermen has emerged as
an irritant in diplomatic ties.
Kalam said he understood the problem well as he had a
close association with fisherman in Rameshwaram and therefore
held a keen interest in resolving their problems.
"Fishermen are naturally enticed by shoals of fish
irrespective of national border. Hence it`s difficult to
enforce rigid borders regarding fishing," he said.
The 80-year-old former president, who is held in high
esteem here, expressed comments on other areas of his work in
Kalam thought that trilingual will naturally lead to
racial amity among the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in the
"I had a discussion with President Mahinda Rajapakse on
the practical aspect of implementing the trilingual policy,
the 13th amendment plus and the fisheries issue," he said.
The 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka`s constitution envisages
devolution of powers to Sri Lanka`s north and east, dominated
by ethnic Tamil minorities.