A day after Sri Lanka rejected India's proposal to allow Indian fishermen to catch fish in Sri Lankan waters, government today said such remarks were "not helpful" given that it was working together with Colombo to find a mutually acceptable solution.
"We also have concerns about Sri Lankan fishermen fishing in Indian waters. Frequently Sri Lankan fishermen are apprehended in our waters. However, we recognise that this is a complex livelihood issue which has a humanitarian dimension.
"Government attaches utmost importance to the safety and welfare of Indian fishermen. We are committed to working together with the Government of Sri Lanka to find a mutually acceptable solution. In this context, such remarks are not helpful," the Spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said.
His comments came in response to remarks by Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera, who yesterday said, "Not 65 days, we will not agree for even 65 hours" while rejecting India's proposal to allow its fishermen to catch fish in Lankan waters for 65 days a year.
Sri Lankan and Indian fishing organisations have held several rounds of discussions to sort out the vexed issue of fishermen with both sides claiming it was a livelihood issue which needs to be resolved soon.