Jan 14, Colombo: A Sri Lankan delegation left for New Delhi today to hold discussions on resolving the fisheries disputes between the two countries.
The delegation led by the Minister of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will meet the Indian union Minster of Agriculture Sharad Pawar Wednesday for talks.
The talks are aimed at, among other objectives, preparing a new cooperation plan in the fisheries sector between India and Sri Lanka.
Director General of Fisheries, S.T. Hettiarachchi, two other representatives of the Navy and the Legal Draftsmen Department and two representatives of the fisheries organizations comprise the Sri Lankan delegation.
Setting an environment conducive for discussions to achieve success at the talks, the two countries yesterday began releasing fishermen detained in each other's jails.
Sri Lanka released 52 fishermen - 20 from Malakkam in Jaffna and 32 detained in Trincomalee. Tamil Nadu released 52 Sri Lankan fishermen detained at the Puzhal prison in Chennai.
The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Sunday directed the state authorities to release the 179 Sri Lankan fishermen and the 34 vessels that are in custody. However, Sri Lankan Minister asked India to release all 213 Sri Lankan fishermen including the 34 jailed in Andhra Pradesh for Sri Lanka to release all 275 Indian fishermen in custody.
The ministerial level meeting is the outcome of a meeting held between the Minister Senaratne and the Indian Minister of External Affairs who visited in Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November last year.
During tomorrow's discussions the two countries are expected to find an amicable solution to the nagging issues of fishermen from both countries crossing into each other's territorial waters and subsequent arrests of the fishermen by the authorities on both sides.