India on Monday expressed "serious concern" over the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by the Sri Lankan Navy, saying New Delhi expects Colombo to "put in place effective measures" to avoid occurrence of such incidents in the future.
The Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said that she conveyed India's concern to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the killing of two Indian fishermen allegedly by the Lankan Navy, during her two day visit to the country. "My visit is to underscore the very serious concern about the issue. And we expect Sri Lanka will put in place effective measures to avoid occurrence of such incidents in the future," Rao told reporters just before wrapping up her hurriedly arranged visit to Colombo.
She said that she met President Mahinda Rajapaksa and conveyed New Delhi's concern to him. "He was very receptive" during her visit. Both sides agreed that the use of force cannot be justified under any circumstances, a joint statement issued after the conclusion of visit stated.
"The Sri Lanka authorities emphasised in this regard that it is the consistent policy of Sri Lanka to treat in a humanitarian manner all fishermen, including those from the Indian fishing community, who cross into Sri Lanka waters." Two sides also noted the decrease of incidents after the Joint Statement on Fishing Arrangements between the two countries in 2008.
"They agreed on the need to discuss arrangements based on the current situation so as to strengthen the safety and security of the fishermen" the joint statement said. It was decided to convene the next meeting of the Joint Working Group at an early date.
During her visit, Rao also met External Affairs minister G L Peirs and defence secretary Gothabhya Rajapaksa.
Earlier, strongly reacting to the killing of a second Indian fisherman, allegedly by the Lankan Navy, New Delhi had termed it as "unacceptable" and sought a report in the matter from its mission in Colombo. External Affairs Minister S M Krishna in New Delhi had taken the matter "very seriously", saying it was "unacceptable", sources had said.