This was among other issues discussed at the first meeting on the contentious issue, a government official present in the meeting said.

"In the meeting, it was noted that there are currently no bonafide fishermen in each other's custody. However, Sri Lanka stressed the need to set up a joint interrogation committee in other coastal Indian states on the lines of Tamil Nadu," the official said after a three-hour meeting.

In the absence of such a mechanism, a Sri Lankan official said there is delay in release of fishermen belonging to Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and other coastal states as well as Sri Lankan fishermen jailed in these states, the official said.

India informed Sri Lanka these coastal states have been asked to set up such a mechanism at the earliest, the official added.

Tamil Nadu is the only coastal state at present which has a joint interrogation mechanism. Under this system, efforts are made for early release of fishermen without getting into legal procedures like filing FIRs and others.

Besides, the joint committee explored avenues for bilateral cooperation in fisheries and discussed opportunities of joint ventures in the fisheries sector.

"The two sides agreed to examine joint opportunities between respective scientific institutes in research, development and capacity-building," according to the joint statement issued after the meeting.

To maintain the momentum of bilateral dialogue process, the two sides agreed to organize the next round of meeting of the joint committee in Colombo at a suitable date, it added.

India has signed MoUs with many countries like Vietnam in the fisheries sector but it has not yet signed such an agreement with Sri Lanka.

A MoU with Sri Lanka will institutionalize the cooperation in the fisheries sector and also help resolve issues related to fishermen, the sources said.

There is already a joint working group between the two countries under the External Affairs Ministry looking into fishermen issues. But the joint committee under the Agriculture Ministry will focus on developing fisheries sector with mutual cooperation.

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