Critically examine the deep sea fishing angle in the India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. How this issue can be resolved? Make logical suggestions.
The relation between India and Sri Lanka has been strong on the basis of economic terms with India being Srilanka’s largest trading partner. The issues regarding the fishermen staying in each other’s territorial water area has come as a potential concern for both countries. The straying of fishermen is a common thing between India and its neighbors but in the case of Sri Lanka, the issue is a little complicated which needs an immediate solution.
- Indians tried to conduct a symposium of fishermen’s associations from both countries at Rameshwaram, Tamil Nadu. But there is still no meeting ground between the two sides.
- In 1974, the island of Katchatheevu which is the main concern between the two countries was ceded to Sri Lanka when India and Sri Lanka demarcated their international maritime boundary line.
- According to Sri Lanka, the Wedgebank was given to India in exchange. But Indian fishermen continue to be caught fishing off Katchatheevu by declaring it as a “traditional” fishing ground.
- Territorial Maritime waters of each nation in some areas overlap into each other.
- As stated by Sri Lanka, the mechanized Indian trawlers are causing harm to marine resources.
- In order to create a suitable understanding between two nations, frequent meetings should be organized between the fishing communities of both countries.
- Both countries should consider the livelihood issue before taking any action against the poor fisherman. Continuous monitoring could be a solution to stop unfair practices.
- All boats should be equipped with GPS enabled location systems that will help to track the activities of the fishing boats.
- Leasing of fish blocks by both nations to gain foreign exchange.
- Apart from that, both countries should maintain adequate fish populations in fishing areas.
Apart from all the above-mentioned solutions, government intervention of both countries is essential. The agreements reached by the fishing communities amongst themselves need strong backing from the governments and their marine forces. Otherwise, effective implementation of the solutions will never be achieved.
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