India, Sri Lanka hold meeting of joint working group on fisheries

India and Sri Lanka on Wednesday held a meeting of the joint working group on fisheries, during which important humanitarian matter was discussed.

The meeting, which took place through video conferencing, was led by Fisheries Secretaries of both countries.

“Fourth Joint Working Group Meeting, led by Fisheries Secretaries of Government of India and Sri Lanka gets underway. Both sides are focussing on this important humanitarian matter through video conferencing overcoming the challenges posed by COVID-19,” Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka tweeted.

The meeting comes weeks after it was reported that 36 Indian fishermen have been apprehended by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Ministry of External Affairs had then said it is in close touch with authorities in Sri Lanka to ensure consular access to the Indians and facilitate their early release.

The MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava, on December 17, said there are well-established bilateral mechanisms between India and Sri Lanka for discussions and cooperation on the issue of the fishermen.

“The JWG, which is led on the Indian side by secretary, department of fisheries, is expected to address all the issues relating to the subject… between India and Sri Lanka, including the release of apprehended fishermen and fishing boats, modalities of communication between relevant authorities on the two sides, cooperation in dealing with issues related to the livelihood of the fishing community on both sides and such other matters as are mutually agreed upon,” he had said.

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