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Coast guards of India, Pak to hold talks on jailed fishermen

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Coast guards of India, Pak to hold talks on jailed fishermen
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New Delhi: With scores of their fishermen languishing in jails in both countries, heads of Indian Coast Guard and Pakistani Maritime Security Agency will meet here next month to evolve strategies that would ensure their early release.

During the talks scheduled between July 5 and 7, Directors General of the two forces will also hold discussions to evolve a joint cross-border fishing mechanism under which the two countries would take a lenient view towards each others' fishing communities, sources said here.

The talks come close on the heels of the two sides holding separate parleys to address the long-pending Siachen and Sir Creek issues.

Coast Guard DG Vice Admiral M P Murlidharan and MSA DG Rear Admiral Waseem Akram will represent the two countries at the talks.

The sources said though there should not be many expectations about the outcome of the talks, it will help the two sides to engage each other and discuss the issues faced by the two sides in guarding their maritime boundaries.

There is a hotline between the Directors General of the two agencies through which they talk to each other and discuss issues.

More than 500 Indian fishermen and around 100 of their fishing boats are in Pakistan's custody after they were arrested in that country's territorial waters.

India has also apprehended Pakistani fishermen who crossed over to the Indian side as there is no proper demarcation of the maritime boundary.

India has significantly stepped up its vigil along the maritime boundary with Pakistan after a fishing vessel was used by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba to sneak into India and carry out terror strikes in Mumbai in November 2008.

PTI

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