SLN has the right to shoot anyone trespassing its waters (Video)
Monday, 16 March 2015 - 16:02
Sri Lanka and India are working to resolve the fishermen's issue, but the country's Navy has the right to shoot anyone who intrudes into their territorial waters, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has told NDTV.
The reiteration of the controversial comment comes on the heels of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's trip to the island nation which he said was a “successful visit.”
Speaking to NDTV, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe said, “The Lankan Navy has the right to shoot in any part of the country if anyone enters territorial waters, this is nothing new.”
The main issue, he said, was bottom trawling by fishing boats and it has to stop. “That has been acknowledged by all sides.”
Earlier this month, ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe told a Tamil news channel, “If someone tries to break into my house, I can shoot. If he gets killed... Law allows me to do that... Why are you coming into our waters? Stay on the Indian side.” The comment had caused huge controversy and days later, on March 12, the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) had allegedly hurled petrol bombs at Indian fishing boats. No one had been injured. In February, 86 Indian fishermen were arrested and 10 fishing boats were seized by SLN.
Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe said the two countries were working on a solution to the issue. "The Foreign Minister (Sushma Swaraj) when she was here, told me that they are trying to get them (the fishermen) moved out,” he said. Ms. Sushma Swaraj had visited Sri Lanka ahead of Indian Premier's visit.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe said, had "reached out" to Sri Lanka and the Lankans had responded. “It makes a case that there should be regular visits by Indian PM to Lanka, but he covered every part and showed that India stood for all Sri Lankans. While we have to settle the outstanding problems in the North, India was not thinking only of the North but all Sri Lanka,” he added.