Making a statement after the issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said she had taken it up with Wickremesinghe.

The minister said she was in Sri Lanka when she read the transcript of the interview in which Wickremesinghe justified the firing on Indian fishermen intruding into Sri Lankan waters.

"My meeting was fixed with Wickremesinghe, so I raised the issue strongly with him," she said, adding that "India has expressed its objection strongly."

Sri Lanka regularly arrests fishermen from Tamil Nadu who enter Sri Lankan waters. At times, the fishermen are shot and killed. Their vessels are also seized. The issue has caused strains in bilateral relations.

Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka are separated by a narrow strip of sea. The minister said she told Wickremesinghe that the Indian fishermen released from Sri Lankan prisons in January -- after a new government took office in Colombo -- went through the whole legal procedure.

"I said that if we justify firing, we will keep firing at each other," she added.

Sushma Swaraj said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has suggested that Indian fishermen must go for deep sea fishing. Until then, a solution has to be found through a meeting between Indian and Sri Lankan fishermen.

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