Fishermen Issue with Sri Lanka | Strange Military Stories


After the independence of both nations, fishing has become an important economic activity. Due to  a large common area between the two in the sea, the two have often had issues of fishermen straving into each other's waters. In the last few decades, fish and aquatic life in the Indian continental shelf has depleted. As a result, more fishermen enter Sri Lankan waters and also resort to the use of modern fishing trolleys that Lankan fishermen are unable to match. 

The Indian fishermen saw a golden business opportunity during the LTTE era as the Sri Lankan government has disallowed the easy movement of Sri Lankan fishermen in waters owing to military operations. However, with the LTTE war over since 2010, there is a resurgence of Sri Lankan fishermen in Palk Bay. They were trying to reclaim their legitimate lost base and, in the process, became engaged in conflict. In order to solve the issue, understanding the importance of ocean economy becomes significant. The department of ocean development and ministry of agriculture have to ensure assistance to the states so that fishermen are able to find alternative livelihood to fishing in Palk Bay. 

The Indian government has renewed the thrust on ocean economy in recent times with the PM signing MoU on ocean economy with Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Maldives in 2015. In recent times, the matter has reached the highest levels when Sirisena, in his February 2015 visit to India, rise the issue with Indian PM. There is  immediate need to sign protocol for join petrolling.

kachchativu Island Issue

Kachchatheevu is a small island located about 10 miles northeast of Rameshwaram. The fishermen used dry their nets and catch fish. It has been a part of Raja of Ramnad territory who was controlling s the Head Zamindar. When the Zamindari system was abolished, Kachchatheevu became a part of be Presidency of Madras. When India became independent and initiated a boundary negotiation at the maritime level with Sri Lanka, Kachchatheevu was a disputed territory between Ceylon and the British and there was never an agreement on boundary ever. 

In 1947 and 1976, as per agreements, the issue was bilaterally resolved between India and Sri Lanka, and the resultant maritime agreement has allowed Indians to visit Kachchatheevu for pilgrimage for which no visa is required. The Indian government has maintained that the right of access to Kachchatheevu does not cover any fishing rights. In 2008, the AIADMK filed a petition in the Supreme Court (SO asking that the SC declare the 1974 and 1976 agreements as than their the FTA in unconstitutional. 

The Indian government produced the facts in the highest court and clarified the issue af Kachchatheevu, stating that the island has not been ceded. Consequently, the AIDMK's petition was disposed of by the court.

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