Indian vessels protect fishermen: Arun Jaitley
Posted on Jul 25 2014 | IANS
New Delhi, July 25 : Navy and Coast Guard ships are deployed continuously in Palk Bay off Tamil Nadu to protect Indian fisherman from attacks on the sea, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said Friday.
The vessels also seek to check illegal activities in the sea, the minister told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
Jaitley said the Indian government had repeatedly told Sri Lanka to ensure that its navy "acts with restraint and our fishermen found in the Sri Lankan waters are treated in a humane manner".
He said India and Sri Lanka had in place practical arrangements to deal with bonafide Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen crossing the international maritime boundary line dividing the sea between the countries.
"As part of these arrangements, it has been agreed that there would be no firing on Indian fishing vessels and that Indian fishing vessels would not enter the sensitive areas designated by Sri Lanka along its coastline.
"The (Indian) government, as a result of its continuous efforts, has secured the release of all 676 Indian fishermen arrested in 2013 and 536 Indian fishermen (out of 541 arrested till July 18, 2014)," he said.
This year, Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen's associations had held two rounds of talks in Chennai and Colombo to resolve the disputes involving them, the minister said.
"It is as a result of the government's efforts that no cases of deaths of Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters have been reported since April 2011.
"Indian Coast Guard provides assistance to Indian fishermen at sea while they are in distress through regular patrolling."