Colombo: Sri Lanka has released 18 Indian fishermen arrested for illegally fishing in the Sri Lankan waters, an official said on Saturday.

The fishermen, who were held off the coast of Point Pedro two months ago by the Sri Lankan Navy, were freed by a court here on Friday.

"They are now to be handed over to the immigration officials for repatriation to India," the official said.

Illegal fishing by Indians in the Sri Lankan waters have been a recurring problem and has figured at high level talks between the two neighbours.

However, the Navy says there has been a marked decrease in the number of cases compared to a few years ago.

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