July 23, Madurai: The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court in Chennai, hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition filed on the proposed sale of two naval warships to Sri Lanka, has called for the records of the written correspondence between the central Indian government and the state government of Tamil Nadu over the issue.
A civilian, an advocate has filed the PIL petition in the Madras High Court seeking the court to direct the central government of India to cancel the proposed sale of two naval warships to Sri Lanka.
A division bench comprising Justices M Jaichandren and R Mahadevan sought the records on the proposed sale.
The petitioner has expressed fears that these warships could be used against the Tamil Nadu fishermen who are continually arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy for intruding into Sri Lanka's territorial waters for fishing.
The petitioner has stated in his petition that there was a strong sentiment against Sri Lanka among Tamils in Tamil Nadu and they are angered and agonized by the proposal to sell warships to the island nation.
Denying the petitioner's allegations Deputy Secretary of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs Mayank Joshi on behalf of the government has told the court that no warships were being sold to Sri Lanka.
However, following extensive negotiations for over two years, the Sri Lankan Government in May 2013 has signed a commercial contract with Goa Shipyard Ltd for supply of only two "Offshore Patrolling Vehicles" under a proposed line of credit from EXIM Bank, the official told the court.
This deal would enhance maritime security in the Indian Ocean region for mutual benefit of two countries, he said.