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Home "Nehru Saw It As Nuisance": S Jaishankar Doubles Down On Katchatheevu Row

“Nehru Saw It As Nuisance”: S Jaishankar Doubles Down On Katchatheevu Row

Doubling down on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cost at Opposition over the Katchatheevu island row, Exterior Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar as we speak mentioned Jawaharlal Nehru, the nation’s first Prime Minister, wished to present away the island to Sri Lanka.

In 1974, the then Indira Gandhi authorities had accepted the uninhabited island, about 1.6 km lengthy and over 300 m broad, a Sri Lankan space underneath Indo-Sri Lankan maritime settlement. The problem has resurfaced after a media report primarily based on a RTI reply obtained by Tamil Nadu BJP chief Okay Annamalai on the 1974 pact. In 1976, after the Tamil Nadu authorities was dismissed throughout the Emergency, one other pact restricted fishermen of each nations from fishing in one another’s waters. The harassment of Tamil Nadu fishermen by Lankan authorities is a key subject within the state, and the BJP has raised this with an eye fixed on the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Neither Mr Annamalai nor the newspaper have shared the RTI reply, and NDTV cannot independently confirm the content material and the date it was issued on.

Late AIADMK chief and former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had been crucial of the DMK and the Congress on this subject and had demanded a lease in perpetuity with Sri Lanka granting fishing rights to Indian fishermen in Lankan waters. She had additionally pressed for steps to retrieve the island.

Addressing the media, Dr Jaishankar as we speak quoted former Exterior Affairs Minister Swaran Singh’s 1974 handle in Parliament. “I really feel assured that the settlement demarcating the maritime boundary within the Palk Bay might be thought of as honest, simply and equitable to each nations. On the similar time, I want to remind the honourable members that in concluding this settlement, the rights of fishing, pilgrimage and navigation, which either side have loved prior to now, have been absolutely safeguarded for the longer term,” he mentioned, quoting the previous minister.

In lower than two years, Dr Jaishankar mentioned, there was one other settlement between India and Sri Lanka. “On this settlement, India proposed the next: with the institution of the unique financial zones by the 2 nations, India and Sri Lanka will train sovereign rights over the dwelling and non-living assets of their respective zones. The fishing vessels and fishermen of India shall not interact in fishing within the historic waters, the territorial sea and the unique zone of Sri Lanka,” he mentioned.

“(In) 1974, assurance is given. By 1976, an settlement is concluded which provides away this assurance,” he mentioned.

The consequence, he mentioned, is that 6,184 Indian fishermen have been detained within the final 20 years. In the identical interval, 1,175 Indian fishing vessels have been seized by Lankans, he added.

The Katchatheevu subject, he mentioned, has been repeatedly raised in Parliament by numerous events over the previous 5 years. “In actual fact, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written to me quite a few occasions. My document exhibits that I’ve replied to the present Chief Minister (MK Stalin) 21 occasions on this subject. This isn’t a difficulty which has abruptly surfaced. This can be a stay subject,” he mentioned.

The Congress and DMK, he mentioned, have approached the matter “as if they don’t have any accountability”. “We imagine that the general public has a proper to know the way this case took place.”

“We all know who did this, how the state of affairs arose. What we have no idea is who hid this, what has been hid from the general public,” he mentioned.

India’s declare, he mentioned, is principally that the Kathatheevu island belonged to the Raja of Ramnad and that he had it from the British period. Afterward, his rights moved to the Madras authorities. “The Indian view was additionally that there was no documentary proof that Sri Lanka had an authentic title,” he mentioned, including that the Sri Lankan argument was that they’ve data going again to the seventeenth century.

After each India and Sri Lanka grew to become impartial, he mentioned, there have been points between these nations about utilizing this island. In 1974, Dr Jaishankar, mentioned then Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Mrs Gandhi spoke about this on the latter’s journey to India.

In 1958, then Legal professional Normal MC Setalvad mentioned in a authorized opinion that whereas the matter isn’t free from problem, “the stability lies in favour of concluding that the sovereignty of the island was and is in India”, Dr Jaishankar mentioned.

The important thing folks, he mentioned, had been of the opinion that “we’ve a case” and felt that we should not less than insist for fishing rights across the island. “The island was additionally given away in 1974 and the fishing rights in 1976,” he mentioned.

“How did this occur has many elements to it. One is the indifference proven by the central authorities and Prime Ministers of the day concerning the territory of India. The actual fact is, they merely didn’t care,” Dr Jaishankar mentioned.

Quoting an commentary by Prime Minister Nehru in Might 1961, he mentioned, “I connect no significance in any respect to this little island and I’d don’t have any hesitation in giving up our declare to it. I don’t like issues like this pending indefinitely and being raised repeatedly in Parliament.”

“So, to Pandit Nehru, this was a bit island, he noticed it as a nuisance. For him, the earlier you give it away, the higher,” the minister mentioned.

This view, he mentioned, continued within the Indira Gandhi period. Mrs Gandhi, he mentioned, had remarked in a Congress assembly that this island was a “little rock”. “This dismissive angle was the historic Congress angle in the direction of Katchatheevu.”

The Exterior Affairs Minister’s press interplay got here after Prime Minister Modi focused the Congress for “callously” freely giving the island to Lanka.

“Eye-opening and startling! New information reveal how Congress callously gave away Katchatheevu. This has angered each Indian and reaffirmed in folks’s minds – we won’t ever belief Congress,” he mentioned on X, sharing the report.” Sharing a media report that mentioned Mrs Gandhi had taken then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi into confidence with regard to the choice on the island, the Prime Minister mentioned DMK has “accomplished nothing” to safeguard Tamil Nadu’s pursuits.

Congress’s Manickam Tagore hit again, calling the BJP’s cost on the difficulty a “diversionary tactic”. “The issue with BJP, RSS and PM Modi is that persons are rejecting them in Tamil Nadu and so they desire a diversionary tactic… The federal government of India headed by Indira Gandhi signed an settlement known as the Indira Gandhi-Sirimavo Bandaranaike settlement in that point to save lots of 6 lakh Tamils and to save lots of them, this island was given to the Sri Lankan authorities. We’re very clear that if our fishermen are attacked, we are going to elevate our voices to take again Katchatheevu Island. However, in 10 years, Prime Minister Modi has failed to take action. They won’t get even one seat in Tamil Nadu by these low cost techniques,” he mentioned.

DMK’s A Saravanan mentioned the Exterior Affairs Minister has mentioned nothing new. “The query is why the BJP is raking up this subject now. As a result of they’re scared, they know they’ll lose this election and in Tamil Nadu, they’re dealing with a rout. The Prime Minister can not reply the query, why no flood reduction for Tamil Nadu. He’s now citing false bogeys,” he mentioned.

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