The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012 20th & 21st January, 2012 Western Province Aesthetic Resort, Colombo

Session: Development and Progress Date: 20th January, 2012 Time: 11.30am-12.30pm
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The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012 Issues in Post-war Indo-Sri Lanka Relations: A Sri Lankan Perspective Thiyagaraja Waradas Date of Research: July 2011- January 2012 The Specific Issue The study examines the efforts taken by different stakeholders to solve the issue between Sri Lankan Northern Fishermen and Indian Fishermen. These issues emerged due to the threat posed by Indian trawler net fishers poaching in to Sri Lankan waters soon after the end of the war between Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam. The Core Argument There are three approaches in practice to solve the issue. Firstly, state level intervention initiated by India and Sri Lanka called the Joint Working Committee. Secondly, fishermen to fishermen dialogue initiated by Sri Lankan fishermen and they signed an agreement with their counterparts in South India with the support of civil society. Thirdly and the most recent approach is to establish an Interactive Joint Working Platform (IJWP), which accommodate both two levels in one platform. All these approaches suggest autonomous and isolated manner of intervention. These separate isolated attempts inherently reduce the strength of its capacity in solving issues which are rooted in different levels which seeks multilevel interventions. The first two approaches are less sensitive to the political and economic factors of the conflict. State level intervention is not linked with the grass root level needs of the people. Moreover, all of them are lacking a strong implementation mechanism. It is crucial to take in to account the following factors in any attempt to find a solution. It includes regional and extra regional relations of these countries and their regime’s

The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012 relationship with their citizens, economically, regional capitalism with neighboring small powers. An environmental aspect is also important to ensure the future of fishing and marine resources. Importance and Relevance of the Research About 2000 Indian trawler boats engage in fishing within 210 kilometers coastal line in Palk Bay. Due to this Sri Lanka is losing 5 billion Sri Lankan rupees of annual income from its marine resources. This is not only an economic and political issue, but also it destroys the entire marine wealth of the country by using banned trawler nets. It threatens the future livelihood of 30,000 fisher families in Northern Province of Sri Lanka. Indian Trawler fishermen damage equipment of Sri Lankan fishermen and prevent them from fishing. Vulnerability created by this situation is directly related to post-war peace building and reconstruction of war torn region. The Indian trawler fishermen issue has became an urgent and crucial issue that needs to be addressed by both respective governments. Therefore, this paper would focus on Indian Trawler fishermen issue and Indo- Sri Lankan relations in a post- war era. Innovativeness or Freshness of the Idea, Solutions and the Approach The issue requires a multi-track program. It includes a link between subalterns and the state, strong implementation mechanisms and political solution of both countries. This may draw a road map to find a gradual solution, which is based on the real economic, political and environmental needs of the people of both countries. Thus ensuring the grievances of the Northern Fishermen are being heard and build more trust in democratic way of peaceful conflict resolution. In other words this is neither top bottom approach nor bottom- up approach. It suggests a multi-track approach which includes a collective team play of all kinds of stakeholders.


The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012 Methodology This study involves positivist and post- positivist methodology which includes both qualitative and quantitative research methods. It is based on data collected through qualitative interviews of stakeholders in different levels, such as, policy makers, activists, community leaders and subalterns and an archival research. Potential Impact of the Current Research for Change The research widens the existing debate on the issue by articulating the Sri Lankan fishermen’s perspective. Moreover, it contributes the policy dialogue through the

suggestions arrived at through the research.

References Books Jayasinghe, W.T. (2002). Indo-Ceylon Relations: The Politics of Immigrant Labours, Stamford Lake, Pannipitiya, Sri Lanka. Jayawardene, A. (2004). Documents on Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy 1947 - 1965, Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Nissanka, H.S.S. (1984). Sri Lanka’s Foreign Policy: A Study in Non-Alignment, Vikas, New Delhi, India. Sahul Hameed, A.C. (1988). Foreign Policy Perspectives of Sri Lanka: Selected Speeches 1977-1987, Lakehouse Investments Limited, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Vernon, L.B. (1983). Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka from earliest times to1965, Tisara Prakasakayo Limited, Dehiwela, Sri Lanka.


The Young Researchers’ Forum 2012 News Papers Sunday Observer, 2010.08.22 and 2010.08.29, Lankadeepa, 2011.03.16. Websites Suryanarayan, V. (2010). ‘India’s Bilateral Agreements and Centre State Relations –A Perspective from Tamil Nadu’, South Asia Analysis Group, (accessed 03.03.2011) Other Documents

Petition submitted to the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka on 15th March 2011 by Alliance of Northern Province Fisher People’s Text of Agreement between Indian and Sri Lankan Fishermen representatives who met at St. Thomas Mount, Chennai, India, From 20th to 22nd August 2010. Vivekanandan, V. (2010), Multi-level dialogue to find solution to trans-border fishing on the Indo-Sri Lankan border, SIFFS, India.


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