Sri Lanka Has Changed Attitude on Fishermen: India!

Sri Lanka has changed its attitude towards Indian fishermen straying into its territorial waters, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Tuesday.

“Sri Lanka’s attitude has changed, and this has also led to a change in our tone and tenor in dealing with them,” she said in response to a calling attention motion on the issue.

The matter was raised by members of the AIADMK.

The minister said the Indian government had appealed at the highest levels in Sri Lanka to commute the death sentences of five Indian fishermen who had been sentenced to death.

“This is a case from 2011 when (the BJP-led) NDA was not in power. We saved them and got them back,” she said.

Sushma Swaraj said the since Narendra Modi became the prime minister in May, incidents involving Tamil Nadu fishermen in the sea dividing India and Sri Lanka had been resolved within three to seven days.

Five Indian fishermen sentenced to death in Sri Lanka for alleged drug trafficking were released Nov 19 after President Mahinda Rajapaksa commuted their death penalty.

India had filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka against the death sentence. Rajapaksa and Modi spoke on telephone on the issue.

Sushma Swaraj said: “We are aiming to have a national identification system to track fishermen through transponders attached to their ships.

“There will be an alarm when the ship goes beyond Indian waters,” she said, adding deep sea fishing had been made easier and more transparent to benefit fishermen from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.