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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2710

As a goodwill gesture: Sri Lanka to release Indian fishermen held for poaching in Lankan waters.

Colombo, 14 September, (Asiantribune.com):

The government has decided to release 16 Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody in view of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s official visit to India. This will be the first official overseas trip by Wickremesinghe since he assumed office of Prime Minister. His wife Maithree will accompany him.

The fishermen from the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, arrested for poaching in Sri Lankan waters, will be freed as a "goodwill gesture" ahead of the visit Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's visit to India starting Monday, his office said in a statement.

Fishermen from the two countries often stray into each other’s’ rich fishing waters, creating a thorny issue for Colombo and Delhi.

But the two countries often release arrested fishermen ahead of official visits in a diplomatic show of cooperation.

However Fisheries Minister Amaraweera said there was no special reason. “The released is not related to the PM’s visit to India. The process to release the Indian fishermen has been taking place several times and this is just one of them” he said.

In the meantime, reports said quoting Prime Minister's Office revealed that a fishing organisation in Tamil Nadu had made an appeal to the government to consider the medical condition of the arrested fishermen.

In March, Sri Lanka ordered the release of 86 Indian fishermen arrested for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters as a goodwill gesture to mark Modi's visit and after, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered the release of 54 Indian fishermen from Tamil Nadu in April.

Whilst in India, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe is set to meet his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and several other Indian leaders, sources at the Prime Minister’s Office said.

A delegation comprising Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickrama, Prime Minister’s Secretary Saman Ekanayaka, Additional Secretary Saman Athaudahetti and Sri Lanka High Commissioner designate to India Esala Weerakoon are scheduled to attend the meetings.

Minister Samaraweera will leave for New Delhi from Geneva to join Prime Minister Wickremesinghe after making a statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council today outlining how the country is set to go about achieving reconciliation, the sources said.

At Sri Lanka- India bilateral talks, the leaders of the two countries will focus on consolidating and strengthening the friendship of India and Sri Lanka and regional links for peace and reconciliation.

- Asian Tribune -

 As a goodwill gesture: Sri Lanka to release Indian fishermen held for poaching in Lankan waters.
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