Sushma Swaraj takes up fishermen issue with Lanka PM Wickramasinghe

India on Saturday raised the 'humanitarian' issue of Indian fishermen's rights with Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, who has stoked a controversy by his remarks that they may be shot if they intruded into Sri Lankan waters.

hidden March 07, 2015 20:33:14 IST
Sushma Swaraj takes up fishermen issue with Lanka PM Wickramasinghe

Colombo: India on Saturday raised the "humanitarian" issue of Indian fishermen's rights with Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe, who has stoked a controversy by his remarks that they may be shot if they intruded into Sri Lankan waters.

On a two-day trip ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit next week, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also made it clear to him that there was no comparison between the issues of Italian sailors and Indian fishermen.

Sushma Swaraj takes up fishermen issue with Lanka PM Wickramasinghe

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj with Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickramasinghe. PTI

"In the discussion with Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, she (Swaraj) raised the matter regarding issues related to Indian fishermen.

"She explained our view that issues of fishermen is a humanitarian issue. It is an issue of livelihood," MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters, hours after Wickramasinghe's remarks in an interview to a Tamil channel stoked a controversy.

Wickramasinghe alleged that Indian fishermen were taking away the livelihood of Northern Lanka fishermen.

"If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed... Law allows me to do that," he had said.

Wickramasinghe also linked the right to take coercive action to the issue of Italian sailors being arrested, saying that if India is friendly with Italy, it should show the "same magnanimity to Italy that you want us to show."

Asked about Lanka's attempt to link the two, Akbaruddin said, "Absolutely no. These are two different issues".

He explained that there are different aspects even if one views it either from a humanitarian perspective or legal perspective.

"And the External Affairs Minister forthrightly explained to Sri Lanka Prime Minister our perspective on this. Our understanding is that he does understand what the nuances and differences are and agreed to take this conversation forward," he said.

The issue of Indian fishermen also figured in the talks that Tamil National Alliance (TNA) had with Swaraj. This is the first time that TNA has raised the issue of fishermen with the Indian government, analysts here said.

PTI

Updated Date:

also read

Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka Highlights, 1st Test Day 1 in Chittagong: Lanka 258/4 on Day 1
First Cricket News

Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka Highlights, 1st Test Day 1 in Chittagong: Lanka 258/4 on Day 1

Bangladesh vs Sri Lanka Live, 1st Test Day 1: Bangladesh host Sri Lanka in the first Test in Chittagong.

Two rescued, four trapped in quarry in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli after giant stone falls
India

Two rescued, four trapped in quarry in Tamil Nadu's Tirunelveli after giant stone falls

As rescue operations continued for several hours, information on the condition of those trapped in the rubble remained unclear

Sri Lanka anti-government protests enter 50th day; agitation likely to intensify
World

Sri Lanka anti-government protests enter 50th day; agitation likely to intensify

Sri Lanka's economic crisis has created political unrest with a protest occupying the entrance to the president's office demanding his resignation continuing for the past 49 days