New Delhi: India is considering a Sri Lankan proposal for a joint patrol of strategic Palk straits in the wake of increasing attacks on Indian fishermen, Defence Minister A K Antony said today.
“I will like to assure the House that the Government of India will do everything possible to protect legitimate rights of the fishermen,” he said in an intervention after DMK members raised the matter in the Lok Sabha.
He said the Navy chief had also spoken to his Sri Lankan counterpart and the Defence Minister of that country had also visited the Indian High Commission in Colombo.
“We are in constant touch with Sri Lankan authorities,” the minister said. The Sri Lankan authorities, Antony said, had held the LTTE responsbile for the attacks.
The minister said Sri Lanka too had expressed concerns over the matter and conveyed to India that it wanted to maintain good relations with New Delhi as it proposed joint patrol of the coastline. The proposal was under consideration, he added.
Antony said the government would take all “humanly possible” steps to protect the rights of fishermen.