Needless provocation by Sri Lankan ministers and their Indian counterparts' failure to rebut their misguided statements, quoting facts and figures, made the normally mild Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, O Panneerselvam, shoot off an angry letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging the government of India to register its disapproval in the strongest possible terms at the appropriate level. His outburst came on a day Sri Lanka’s minister for fisheries and aquatic resources development, Mahinda Amaraweera, led his country’s delegation at the ministerial-level talks with the Indian delegation led by agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh in Colombo on the Palk Bay fisheries conflict. Amaraweera spoke of a proposed legislation in Sri Lanka that would levy heavy fines on Indian fishing boats ‘trespassing’ into his country’s territorial waters and nationalisation of Tamil Nadu fishing boats seized by the Sri Lankan Navy. The Indian side sought the release of 114 fishing boats and 51 fishermen held captive by Sri Lanka. It is unfortunate the Indian delegation failed to correct Amaraweera that no Tamil Nadu fishing boat violated Sri Lankan territorial waters and detaining our fishermen in custody is against all canons of law. India’s external affairs ministry, Navy and Coast Guard are ill-informed about the intricate legal position of the Palk Bay waters and invariably take the side of Sri Lanka whenever Tamil Nadu fishermen are attacked, abducted and held prisoners by the Sri Lanka Navy and plead for their release as if they had committed a crime instead of asserting the rights of our fishermen. The Palk Bay fisheries conflict arose out of a goodwill gesture India extended to Sri Lanka by gifting Kachchativu, a tiny, uninhabited islet in the Palk Bay belonging to Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu, to boost the morale of former Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike when it was at its lowest ebb, by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974 by an international treaty. Under the treaty, Sri Lanka committed itself to honour the rights of Tamil Nadu fishermen to fish in the traditional waters of the bay for all time to come and extend unhindered access to St Antony’s church built by Indian fishermen more than a century ago. In 1976, the countries redrew their territorial waters based on Kachchativu becoming a part of Sri Lanka which shrunk India’s territorial waters in the Palk Bay drastically, but without extinguishing any of Tamil Nadu fishermen’s rights enshrined in the treaty. During the nine-year rule of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka attacked and seized fishing boats from Tamil Nadu. In the name of good relations with the neighbouring country, New Delhi ignored the infractions. Meanwhile, both the AIADMK and the DMK governments had challenged the ceding of Kachchativu without observing the constitutional requirements. Pending disposal of the case, status quo ante should be observed and the Indian Navy and Coast Guard should be directed to protect Tamil Nadu boats fishing in the Palk Bay.