SL repatriates 24 more detained fishers

In a recent development highlighting the ongoing maritime tensions between India and Sri Lanka, twenty-four Indian fishermen, who were detained by the Sri Lanka Navy for allegedly fishing in the island nation’s waters, have been repatriated to India. This comes just two days after another group of five Indian fishermen were sent back to their homeland.

The Indian High Commission in Colombo confirmed the repatriation, stating that the fishermen boarded from Colombo and are currently en route to India. This marks the latest in a series of repatriations, with nineteen Indian fishermen being sent back earlier this month, and five just two days prior to this latest group.
The issue of fishermen crossing territorial waters has been a contentious one in the bilateral relationship between India and Sri Lanka. Instances of the Sri Lanka Navy firing at Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait and seizing their boats have been reported, exacerbating tensions between the two neighboring countries.
According to reports, the Sri Lanka Navy has detained 23 Indian trawlers and 178 Indian fishermen for allegedly fishing in Sri Lankan waters thus far in 2024. These fishermen are handed over to authorities for legal action, as confirmed by the Sri Lankan Navy in a statement issued late last month.
The repatriation of detained fishermen is a critical aspect of managing the maritime disputes between India and Sri Lanka. However, it also underscores the need for continued diplomatic efforts and dialogue to address the root causes of these recurring incidents and find long-term solutions to prevent further escalations.