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As though they have no responsibility for it : EAM Jaishankar hits out at Congress, DMK on Katchatheevu issue

A small island situated between India and Sri Lanka in the Palk Strait has become a significant focal point in Indian politics. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the matter on Monday, criticizing the Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), suggesting they are treating it as if they bear no responsibility. Jaishankar stated during […]

EAM S Jaishankar
EAM S Jaishankar

A small island situated between India and Sri Lanka in the Palk Strait has become a significant focal point in Indian politics. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the matter on Monday, criticizing the Congress and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), suggesting they are treating it as if they bear no responsibility.

Jaishankar stated during a press conference, “Now, every political party in Tamil Nadu has taken a position on this. Two parties, the Congress and the DMK, have approached this matter as though they have no responsibility for it. As though the situation is for today’s central government to resolve, there is no history to this, this has just happened, they are the people who are taking up the cause; that is the way they would like to project it.”

He also highlighted the gravity of the issue by mentioning the detention of Indian fishermen and seizure of fishing vessels by Sri Lanka. “In the last 20 years, 6184 Indian fishermen have been detained by Sri Lanka and 1175 Indian fishing vessels have been seized, detained or apprehended by Sri Lanka,” he added.

Moreover, Jaishankar emphasized that the Katchatheevu issue has been a recurring topic in Parliament discussions and correspondence with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister. “The then CM of Tamil Nadu has written to me numerous times. And my record shows that to the current CM, I have replied 21 times on this issue. This is not an issue which has suddenly surfaced. This is a live issue. It is an issue which has been very much debated in parliament and in the Tamil Nadu circles. It has been the subject of correspondence between the union government and the state government,” he stated.

Regarding the historical context, Jaishankar highlighted the handover of Katchatheevu by the Indian government in 1974 and the subsequent relinquishment of fishing rights in 1976, expressing concern over the indifference displayed by past central governments regarding India’s territorial integrity.

It is worth noting that Katchatheevu, positioned between Rameswaram (India) and Sri Lanka, was historically utilized by fishermen from both nations. In 1974, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi acknowledged Katchatheevu as Sri Lankan territory under the “Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime Agreement,” solidifying Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over the island.

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