Sri Lanka Coast Guard seeks Indian assistance



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By Shamindra Ferdinando


Close on the heels of the latest arrest of 49 poaching Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN), Director General of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Vice Admiral Anurag G. Thapliyal is in Colombo for talks with his Sri Lankan counterpart, Rear Admiral Ravindra C. Wijegunaratne.


VA Thapliyal arrived in Colombo on Sunday (9) on a six-day visit.


The visiting ICG delegation is scheduled to visit the northern naval area during its stay.


Two groups of poachers, comprising 49 persons from Tamil Nadu, who had been apprehended in Sri Lankan waters last Wednesday evening (5), were remanded until June 19 and 20 by the Mannar and Kayts magistrate courts, respectively.


This was the first instance of fishermen from Tamil Nadu being arrested after the 45-day ban period ended on June 1.


One of the 10 Indian trawlers seized, by the navy, capsized while being towed to a northern naval base. Of the three navy personnel who had been onboard the capsized trawler, one died in the accident.


Authoritative sources told The Island that the Sri Lanka Coast Guard (SLCG) would explore the possibility of securing the ICG’s support to enhance its capabilities. Sources said that discussions with VA Thapliyal would cover a range of issues, including the possibility of having a formal mechanism to facilitate cooperation between the ICG and SLCG.


VA Thapliyal succeeded VA M. P. Muralidharan on Feb. 28, 2013.


Sources said that since the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009, the SLN and SLCG had assigned a substantial number of vessels to discourage Indian fishing fleet from crossing the Indo Lanka maritime boundary. Responding to a query, sources said that in spite of the arrest of several large groups of fishermen, poaching continued unabated.


Sources said that the contentious issue of poaching too had been discussed at different forums during the recent visit to Sri Lanka undertaken by a BJP-led parliamentary delegation.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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