Sri Lanka insists no licence in its waters for Indian fishermen

Colombo: The Sri Lankan Fisheries Ministry has denied claims that Indian fishermen are to be given a licence to catch fish in its waters on certain days, Xinhua news agency reported. Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said that India has put forward a proposal to allow Indian fishermen to catch fish 75 days of the year. He said a final decision on any proposal will be taken only after talks with Sri Lankan fishermen's associations. "They have made several requests but we have not agreed to anything," the minister said. Fishermen in India's Tamil Nadu state had recently expressed a desire to hold urgent talks with Sri Lanka and reach a compromise to resolve the long-standing issue. Tamil Nadu Fishermen's Association President S. Emiret had said that fishermen from the state are prepared to sit down with their Sri Lankan counterparts to map out a time-based solution to end the crisis. Amaraweera said several rounds of talks had been held in the past but most ended in failure as those who attended from the Indian side were linked to politicians from Tamil Nadu and had other agendas. He also denied claims that talks had failed to progress as a result of decisions taken by the Sri Lankan side. Fishermen in Northern Sri Lanka protested on Tuesday after reports emerged that the country was to allow Indian fishermen to catch fish in its waters.