South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

Published in The Hindustan Times on Dec. 15 by Rahul Singh ::

India will push for an arrangement with Pakistan under which both countries could take a slightly lenient view of maritime trespass by their fishermen in the Arabian Sea, a senior defence ministry official told HT.

India will hold high-level talks with Pakistan on December 17-18 here to discuss prickly maritime issues, with the focus being on reaching an understanding that fishermen who stray up to 5 nautical miles on either side of the international maritime boundary line will not be scooped up and jailed.

Currently, 808 Indian boats and 348 fishermen are in Pakistani custody, while 118 Pakistani boats and 136 fishermen are in Indian custody for violating the maritime boundary. The talks will be led by the chiefs of the Indian Coast Guard chief and the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency.

Both sides will also take up the issue of early release of the fishermen in their respective jails. Enhancing cooperation in maritime search and rescue will also be on the table.