Home Maritime Boundaries 266 Indian fishermen lodged in foreign jails, 184 in Pakistan jails

266 Indian fishermen lodged in foreign jails, 184 in Pakistan jails

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(From the Internet)

A significant 266 Indian fishermen are presently stated to be lodged in foreign jails as they were generally apprehended by countries on charges of allegedly crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) illegally.

Official records of Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that of the total count of fishermen lodged in foreign jails, a maximum of 184 fishermen were lodged in different jails in Pakistan followed by 31 fishermen lodged in jails of Saudi Arabia, 25 in Sri Lankan jails besides 10 in different hails in Bahrain.

Moreover, a significant 13 instances of attack on Indian fishermen by naval forces of neighbouring countries in the last three years were reported by the ministry.

Between 2003 and 2024, revealed official reports, a whopping 6658 Indian fishermen were caught by Sri Lankan navy of which 6633 were released post intervention of Indian agencies. A maximum of 1456 Indian fishermen were caught in 2008 by Sri Lankan navy who were released the same year, further revealed records of External Affairs ministry.

Measures to safeguard the fishermen

As measures initiated by the government from time to time to safeguard the fishermen from venturing into foreign waters, the Indian Coast Guard guide Indian fishermen not to cross the perceived IMBL through various community interaction programmes for the fishing community. The Indian Coast Guard ships and aircrafts maintain close surveillance along the perceived IMBL and guide Indian fishing boats towards Indian waters to prevent them being caught by Maritime Security Agencies of neighbouring countries.

Diplomatic steps to free Indian fishermen caught violating maritime boundaries

In cases of assaults on Indian fishermen, the Government through diplomatic channel takes up the matter with the Government of the concerned country, including at the highest levels. Immediate steps are taken by Indian Missions and Posts to seek consular access, ensure their welfare and also pursue their early release and repatriation along with their boats. Consular Officers of Missions/Posts make regular visits to local jails and detention centers to ascertain condition of Indian fishermen lodged and provide requisite help and support, including legal assistance through Indian Community Welfare Fund.

Bilateral mechanisms to ensure cooperation

The Government has also put in place bilateral mechanisms to ensure cooperation and understanding between India and neighbouring countries, to promote safety and security of Indian fishermen.
The concerned government of neighbouring country is requested to treat the fishermen issue as a humanitarian and livelihood concern, and it is stressed that both sides should ensure that there is no use of force under any circumstances.

Number of fishermen arrested/released by Sri Lankan Navy since, 2003

 

Year Fishermen arrested Fishermen released
2024 46 34
2023 240 243
2022 268 320
2021 159 131
2020 74 49
2019 210 205
2018 156 230
2017 453 420
2016 290 333
2015 454 375
2014 787 1045
2013 676 403
2012 197 197
2011 198 198
2010 26 26
2009 127 127
2008 1456 1456
2007 107 107
2006 19 19
2005 Nil Nil
2004 109 109
2003 606 606

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