Against the backdrop of the recent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy, GPS equipment is being fitted on boats to help them in navigation.

“Our fishermen, sometimes, go into their (Sri Lankan) areas. They do not know that they have crossed international boundaries. Therefore, GPS devices are being fitted to fishing boats as part of an ongoing pilot project,” Minister of State for Defence Jitendra Singh said today.

He was replying to a query on attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy.

Commissioning an in-shore patrol vessel ICGS Rajkamal for the Coast Guard, he highlighted the need for educating fishermen about the geographics of the area.

He described the international boundaries between India and Sri Lanka as “very very complex”. “So what happens is our fishermen go into their areas. So such problems can only be dealt with bilaterally.”

A joint group between the Indian and Sri Lankan Governments with senior officers of the Coast Guard, police and diplomatic channels has been formed and will meet every six months, the Minister said.

“We need to strengthen dialogues, and strengthen such meetings and such communication between both countries to solve the problems,” he said.

Replying to a query on China, he said, “The rise of any military is no threat to us. China is a partner, a global force. We respect that. We have good relations with the Chinese and we want to keep it that way. We want to have good relations with our neighbours.”

(This article was published on January 8, 2013)
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