India Sri Lanka Maritime Boundary Agreement

34 PTI, « Sri Lanka Lauds Jayalalitha`s Proposal to Phase Out Bottom Trawling, » The Indian Express, August 2, 2016, indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/sri-lanka-lauds-jayalalithaas-proposal-to-phase-out-bottom-trawling-2950130/. The first agreement concerned the maritime boundary in the waters between adam Bridge and the Palk Highway and came into force on 8 July 1974. [2] The second agreement, signed on 23 March and entered into force on 10 May 1976, defined maritime boundaries in the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal. [1] [3] Internal relations and perspectives in both countries have a significant impact on bilateral relations. The livelihoods of their people and the marine ecology of the bay are threatened, as evidenced by the persistent divergences on kachchatheevu and the economic and environmental impact of increased trawling on both sides of the IMBL. Palk Bay, a narrow strip of water that separates the state of Tamil Nadu, India, from sri Lanka province in northern China, has created historically rich fishing grounds for both countries. However, in recent decades, the region has become a highly contested place, with conflict taking on a new dimension since the end of Sri Lanka`s civil war in 2009. Several problems have worsened to bring tensions to a near crisis point, with serious repercussions on internal and bilateral relations. These include persistent differences over territorial rights on Kachchatheevu Island, frequent poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters, and the harmful economic and environmental consequences of trawling. However, as the governments of both countries have recently reaffirmed their commitment to « finding a lasting solution to the fisherman`s issue »1, it is possible to create a win-win scenario in which the bay will become a common legacy of mutual utility. According to the Then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Swaran Singh, although the island was ceded to Sri Lanka, Indian fishermen continued to enjoy their traditional fishing rights in and around Kachchatheevu and also took visas at St. Anthony`s Day (end of March) each year.

This statement, set aside, was then put aside by opponents of the decision and argued that the 1976 border agreement continued to cripple traditional fishing rights.11 In August 2010, negotiations resumed and a reciprocal visit took place between Sri Lankan fishermen. This time, the Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister supported the visit and the Tamil Nadu government agreed to send observers to the meeting. Fishermen in Tamil Nadu reported being harassed and intimidated by the Sri Lankan navy and expressed their desire to revive the 2004 agreement; Sri Lankan fishermen deplored the damage caused by bottom trawling and called for an immediate end to the practice. Indian delegates stressed that it would not be possible to stop trawling if their government had not taken concrete steps to buy back the trawlers. While conclusions of the dialogue were presented to government officials, the dispute was not resolved. India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives signed another agreement in July 1976 to determine the point of the three crosses in the Gulf of Mannar. Subsequently, in November, India and Sri Lanka signed another agreement to extend the maritime border in the Gulf of Mannar. [3] Agreement to delimit maritime and other materials 5 Ahilan Kadiragamar, « Keeping India at Bay, » Hindu, 27 January 2014, www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/keeping-india-at-bay/article5620928.ece.