"PM Nehru Wanted To Give It Away": S Jaishankar As Katchatheevu Row Heats Up

“PM Nehru Needed To Give It Away”: S Jaishankar As Katchatheevu Row Heats Up

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Doubling down on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cost at Opposition over the Katchatheevu island row, Exterior Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar right now stated Jawaharlal Nehru, the nation’s first Prime Minister, needed to present away the island to Sri Lanka.

In 1974, the then Indira Gandhi authorities had accepted the island, about 1.6 km lengthy and over 300 m huge, a Sri Lankan space underneath Indo-Sri Lankan maritime settlement. The problem has resurfaced after a media report based mostly on a RTI reply obtained by Tamil Nadu BJP chief Ok Annamalai on the 1974 pact. In 1976, after the Tamil Nadu authorities was dismissed in the course of 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 difficulty within the state, and the BJP has raised this with a watch on the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

Addressing the media, Dr Jaishankar right now 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 identical 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 up to now, have been totally safeguarded for the longer term,” he stated, quoting the previous minister.

In lower than two years, Dr Jaishankar stated, 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 have interaction in fishing within the historic waters, the territorial sea and the unique zone of Sri Lanka,” he stated.

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

The consequence, he stated, 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 difficulty, he stated, has been repeatedly raised in Parliament by numerous events over the previous 5 years. “Actually, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written to me quite a few instances. My document reveals that I’ve replied to the present Chief Minister (MK Stalin) 21 instances on this difficulty. This isn’t a difficulty which has instantly surfaced. It is a dwell difficulty,” he stated.

The Congress and DMK, he stated, have approached the matter “as if they haven’t any duty”. “We consider that the general public has a proper to understand how this case happened.”

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

India’s declare, he stated, 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 unique title,” he stated, 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 stated, there have been points between these nations about utilizing this island. In 1974, Dr Jaishankar, stated then Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Mrs Gandhi spoke about this on the latter’s journey to India.

In 1958, then Lawyer Basic MC Setalvad stated in a authorized opinion that whereas the matter is just not free from issue, “the stability lies in favour of concluding that the sovereignty of the island was and is in India”, Dr Jaishankar stated.

The important thing individuals, he stated, have been of the opinion that “we have now a case” and felt that we should insist at the very least for fishing rights across the island. “The island was additionally given away in 1974 and the fishing rights in 1976,” he stated.

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

Quoting an statement by Prime Minister Nehru in Could 1961, he stated, “I connect no significance in any respect to this little island and I’d haven’t any hesitation in giving up our declare to it. I don’t like issues like this pending indefinitely and being raised time and again in Parliament.”

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

This view, he stated, continued within the Indira Gandhi period. Mrs Gandhi, he stated, 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.”

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