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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Saturday, 13 April 2024 3.06 AM IST

Nehru was keen to give away Katchatheevu: External affairs minister S Jaishankar

katchtheevu-island-jaisha

NEW DELHI: External affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar in a press meet reiterated that it was former PM Jawaharlal Nehru’s keenness that resulted in Sri Lanka acquiring Katchatheevu island from India. Over the years, many MPs in parliament have raised the issue of Katchatheevu and have also asked the government to adopt a gung-ho attitude to wrest back the island.

“Tamil Nadu CM Stalin wrote to me several times regarding Katchatheevu and I have written back to him 21 times. Nehru was happy to leave behind the stress of managing a small island which he considered a nuisance. Nehru also said not to raise Katchatheevu again in Parliament.” Jaishankar criticized the Congress by quoting former Union Minister Swaran Singh's speech in Parliament.

Both countries were confident that the demarcation agreement in the Gulf of Pakistan would be fair and just. Meanwhile, Swaran Singh told Parliament that the agreement fully safeguards fishing rights, pilgrimage and waterways enjoyed by both sides and promised the same continuing in the future.

But Jaishankar pointed out that within two years there was another agreement between India and Sri Lanka. India tabled certain points in the agreement. With the establishment of Special Economic Zones by both countries, India and Sri Lanka will exercise sovereignty over resources in their respective zones. India assured in 1974 that it would not engage in fishing in Sri Lanka's historic waters, seas and exclusive zone. But this agreement ended in 1976. As a result of this agreement, Sri Lanka has imprisoned 6,184 Indian fishermen in the last 20 years. 1,175 fishing boats of India were also seized.

Katchtheevu is now turning into a lethal political weapon for BJP to annihilate the opposition nexus. In such a move, BJP made public a report sent by the then Tamil Nadu CM M. Karunanidhi to the Foreign Secretary informing his approval of ceding the island to Si Lanka.

The whole issue of Katchatheevu emerged after Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai obtained the crucial documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The congress in a verbal retaliation asked PM Modi to explain the 10,000 acres of land given to Bangladesh and about China publicly claiming Arunachal as their land.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin termed the sudden emergence of Katchatheevu as PM Modi’s specially weaved election drama.

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TAGS: JAISHANKAR, MINISTER, PARLIAMENT, TAMILNADU, DELHI, BJP, ISLAND, CONGRESS
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