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Pandit Nehru saw it as a nuisance: Jaishankar on Katchatheevu issue
Katchatheevu
Photo courtesy: UNI

Pandit Nehru saw it as a nuisance: Jaishankar on Katchatheevu issue

| @indiablooms | 01 Apr 2024, 12:36 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has added fuel to the pot boiling Katchatheevu issue which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have weaponised to corner the main opposition force, Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a press conference, Jaishankar has lashed out at the then Congress government, which in 1974 ceded the Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, and also criticised India's first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for his attitude towards the disputed island which was located in Tamil Nadu.

Addressing a press conference, Jaishankar said, "The island was given away in 1974 and the fishing rights were also given away in 1976... The most basic recurring one is the indifference shown by the central government and Prime Ministers of the day about the territory of India. The fact is they simply did not care."

"In May of 1961, PM Nehru writes that he attached no importance at all to this little island and he would have no hesitation in giving up claim to it. He wrote that he doesn't like matters like this being pending indefinitely and being raised again and again in Parliament. He saw it as a nuisance," he added.

PM Modi slams DMK

While Jaishankar slammed the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the morning took to his X handle to lash out at the DMK, which was in power back then when Katchatheevu was handed over to Sri Lanka. DMK is ruling Tamil Nadu now in an alliance with the Congress.

An RTI filed by Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief K Annamalai revealed how the Indira Gandhi government had ceded the disputed island to Sri Lanka.

Modi cited a The Times of India report which says the then Congress government- led by Gandhi- had ceded the island to Sri Lankan taking then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi into confidence.

However, DMK MP Era Sezhiyan had lashed out at the agreement calling it an "unholy and disgraceful act of statesmanship".

Hitting out at the DMK, Prime Minister Modi posted on X on Monday, "Rhetoric aside, DMK has done NOTHING to safeguard Tamil Nadu’s interests. New details emerging on #Katchatheevu have UNMASKED the DMK’s double standards totally.

"Congress and DMK are family units. They only care that their own sons and daughters rise. They don’t care for anyone else. Their callousness on Katchatheevu has harmed the interests of our poor fishermen and fisherwomen in particular."

About Katchatheevu

Katchatheevu, which is an uninhabited island, was under the control of British Ceylon since 1921.

Though India never controlled it, the island remained a disputed territory.

In 1974, the then Indian government, under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, signed an agreement to recognise Sri Lanka's sovereignty over the island.

In a separate agreement signed in 1976, both the countries' fishermen were restricted from fishing.

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