India-Pak spat affecting SAARC, needs to get resolved insists Lankan PM Wickremasinghe

| Updated: Oct 06, 2016 21:29 IST

New Delhi [India], Oct. 6 (ANI): With the SAARC summit been called off due to a growing strife between India and Pakistan over the surgical strike, Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe on Thursday expressed hope that the issue between the two Asian neighbours gets resolved soon, as the tensions between them is adversely impacting other South Asian member nations. "These are the issues which South Asia grapples with, it is going to impact on SAARC, whether SAARC is going to continue or not. Let's hope things are resolved," Wickramesinghe said. He lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his leadership. He then praised External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi for showing restraint and far-sighted leadership during a tense situation. The 19th Saarc Summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November was suspended after five of the eight nations, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Sri Lanka, pulled out of it. Nepal, however, regretted the postponement of the summit citing that the present environment was not conducive. Responding to a query on the fishermen issue where Sri Lanka has long fumed over illegal fishing by Indian fishermen, Wickeremasenghe said, "We need to find a solution to it, otherwise there is going to be lot of problems in northern Sri Lanka, because Indian fishermen are fishing in Sri Lankan waters and depriving our fishermen." Indian fishermen, originating from Tamil Nadu, use thousands of bottom-trawlers to fish in the Palk Bay. They reportedly cross the maritime boundary between the countries, often prompting arrest by the Sri Lankan Navy. Till November last year, as many as 126 Indian fishermen were arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy. (ANI)