Tuesday, 14 September 2004  
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India, Lanka can workout solution to end poaching - Indian Navy Chief

by Ranil Wijayapala

Visiting Indian Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash said yesterday that he was confident India and Sri Lanka can workout a solution to end poaching by fishermen in each others' territorial waters.

Addressing the media following his meeting with Deputy Defence Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake at the Defence Ministry yesterday, the Indian Navy Chief said the problem can be solved through the mutual goodwill of the two countries. "We are confident that we can find a solution to put an end to such incidents through the mutual goodwill of both countries," the Indian Navy Chief said referring to the recent incident in which two Indian trawlers were shot at and burnt by unidentified men in the sea off Pesalai.

Admiral Prakash said the prime aim of his visit was to find out areas where the two countries can work together in strengthening the existing defence cooperation between the two countries. He said he would invite Sri Lankan Navy Commander Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri to visit India as a gesture of strengthening ties between the two countries.

Admiral Prakash said the Indian Navy was ready to extend any assistance towards the Sri Lankan peace process as decided by the Governments of the two countries.

This was the Indian Navy Chief's first visit to a foreign country after assuming duties as the Commander of the Indian Navy a month ago.

"First I want to get to know the officials here in Sri Lanka. That is the first step towards strengthening ties between the two countries," Admiral Prakash said.

The Navy Chief called on his Sri Lankan counterpart and Chief of Defence Staff Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri at the Navy Headquarters. The Sri Lanka Navy accorded a guard of honour.

Admiral Prakash also called on President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, and Defence Secretary Cyril Herath in Colombo yesterday.

The Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Air Force also accorded guard of honours to the visiting Indian Navy Chief at their headquarters yesterday.

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