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Stay off Lankan waters, Krishna to TN fishermen

[Express Buzz, Saturday, 19 February 2011 09:18 No Comment]

External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Friday urged Tamil Nadu fishermen to keep off Sri Lankan waters.

Soon after the news of the release of 136 Tamil Nadu fishermen broke, Krishna expressed relief. But he also had a word of advice for fishermen who cross the maritime boundary causing such ‘aberrations.’

“We are happy,’’ he told reporters on the margins of a conference. “At the same time I have a special appeal to make to the fishermen of TN and other regions that they should confine themselves to the Indian waters instead of straying into the Lankan waters.”

Krishna said when he spoke to his Sri Lankan counterpart G L Peiris on Thursday, he made a “special request’’ that the Sri Lankan government should intervene “in the larger interest of bilateral ties”.

The minister argued that cordial the ties between the two countries “could be furthered by the release of these fishermen”.

Sri Lanka got its Attorney general to intervene in the case, facilitating the fishermen’s release. “I am glad that the episode has ended to our satisfaction. I would like to thank the Sri Lankan government for their gesture in intervening in this,” Krishna said.

While Delhi is relieved, Colombo too has scored a few points. Unlike in the past, there was no firing at the fishermen; the fishermen were produced in court, and released through what is being acknowledged by India as a thoughtful intervention in court. And by appealing to Indian fishermen to keep off Sri Lankan waters, Delhi has implicitly conceded the point about the maritime boundary being breached by its fishermen.

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