Kalam suggests India, Lanka to fish in turns
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Last Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 18:37
  
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 Sri Lanka.

Kalam thought that trilingual will naturally lead to racial amity among the Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in the nation.

"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.

PTI


First Published: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 18:37


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