Indian HC calls on Foreign Relations Minister

Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay met Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda at the Foreign Relations Ministry on Monday.

The High Commissioner thanked the Government for organising the 4th NSA level Trilateral Meeting on Maritime Security in Colombo on November 28. He appreciated Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s visionary inaugural remarks at the meeting. The High Commissioner and the Minister agreed that enhanced cooperation among various countries, particularly Sri Lanka and India, is crucial for addressing challenges like terrorism, radicalisation, organised crime and drug trafficking in the region. The High Commissioner expressed the confidence that India-Sri Lanka relations will reach new heights in the coming year.

The High Commissioner responded positively to the request for Government of India assistance in arranging repatriation of about 1,500 Sri Lankans stranded mostly in South India due to COVID19 pandemic. The two Governments will coordinate the matter through diplomatic channels.

The High Commissioner appreciated ongoing cooperation between the authorities of the two countries on matters related to fishermen. He said that such cooperation had saved lives of fishermen of both countries. The High Commissioner thanked the Government for the cooperation in returning the mortal remains of Indian fishermen who lost their lives at sea in inclement weather earlier this year.

The High Commissioner highlighted concrete steps taken by the Government India and the State Government of Tamil Nadu in addressing all dimensions of the issue and specifically underlined Government of India’s ongoing measures to support and encourage Indian fishermen to practise deep sea fishing.

He said that the next meeting of the bilateral mechanism on matters pertaining to fishermen could soon be arranged online.

On the proposal for joint management for Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar by Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda, the High Commissioner shared that the forward looking elements in the proposal needed to be examined further.


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