Sri Lankan, TN fishermen reach pact

A truce has emerged in the talks between fishermen representatives from Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, with both teams agreeing to demands subject to the approval of their respective governments.

The meeting, presided over by Tamil Nadu Fisheries Minister K A Jayapal, was attended by Suchitra Durai, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, and Nimal Hettiarachchi, Director-General of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Sri Lanka. A total of 24 fishermen from India and 18 from Sri Lanka participated in the discussion.

The Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai Sabarullah Khan also participated in the meeting, which was initiated to find a solution to the dispute over fishing in the Palk Straits.

The meeting was earlier scheduled to be held on January 20, but was postponed for Monday after Sri Lanka sought time to finalise the list of representatives for the meeting.

The Tamil Nadu government has put forward a five-point agenda that includes reiterating free fishing rights of the state fishermen in Palk Bay, preventing attacks, seizure, confiscation of boats and fishing equipment by the Lankan Navy. Prior to the meeting, the two countries decided to release over 400 fishermen in custody.

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