PMs from Cong indifferent about Katchatheevu, gave away Indian fishermen's rights: Jaishankar

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday claimed that prime ministers from the Congress displayed indifference about Katchatheevu island and gave away Indian fishermen's rights despite legal views to the contrary.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

New Delhi | External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday claimed that prime ministers from the Congress displayed indifference about Katchatheevu island and gave away Indian fishermen's rights despite legal views to the contrary.

Prime ministers such as Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi dubbed Katchatheevu, given to Sri Lanka in 1974 as part of a maritime boundary agreement, as a "little island" and "little rock", he told a press conference, asserting that the issue has not cropped up abruptly but was always a live matter.

It has been frequently raised in Parliament and has been a matter of frequent correspondence between the Centre and the state government, Jaishankar said, adding that he has replied to the chief minister at least 21 times.

Attacking the DMK over its public posturing against the agreement, Jaishankar said its leader and then chief minister M Karunanidhi was kept fully informed about the agreement, first reached in 1974 between India and Sri Lanka.

The Congress and DMK raised the issue in Parliament as if they bear no responsibility for it, while they are the parties which did it, he said, adding the DMK very much "connived" with the Congress in 1974 and afterwards in creating this situation.

In 20 years, 6,184 Indian fishermen have been detained by Sri Lanka and their 1,175 fishing vessels seized by the neighbouring country, Jaishankar said, It is the Narendra Modi government which has been working to ensure that the Indian fishermen are released, he said, adding, "We have to find a solution. We have to sit down and work it out with the Sri Lankan government." He claimed the people of Tamil Nadu have long been misled over the issue and that he was speaking on the matter to inform the masses.

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