Cong PMs simply didn’t care, gave away fishermen’s rights: Jaishankar
   Date :02-Apr-2024

Cong PMs simply didn’t care 
EXTERNAL Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday claimed that Prime Ministers from the Congress displayed indifference about Katchatheevu island as if they did not care 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. The records exist of the then Foreign Secretary keeping the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, the late DMK patriarch, fully informed of the talks between the two countries, Jaishankar said and accused the regional party of conniving with the Congress in 1974 and thereafter in creating the situation which has been a cause of “great concern”. “The same people who connived at all this are today standing up and trying to pretend to be champions of fishermen,” he said.
Citing details of the agreements between India and Sri Lanka first in 1974 and then in 1976, he said a recurring theme is the indifference shown by the central government and prime ministers of the day then about the territory of India, as he named Nehru and Gandhi for their remarks. “The fact is they simply did not care,” Jaishankar said. In 20 years, 6,184 Indian fishermen have been detained by Sri Lanka and their 1,175 fishing vessels seized by the neighbouring country, he said, It is the Narendra Modi Government that has been working to ensure that the Indian fishermen are released, Jaishankar said, adding, “We have to find a solution. We have to sit down and work it out with the Sri Lankan Government.”
Jaishankar also dismissed Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh’s suggestion that a pact between the two countries in 1974 allowing the repatriation of 6,00,000 Tamils from Sri Lanka to India was made possible due to the island agreement. India’s own security interests involved in Pannun probe, says EAM: Jaishankar asserted that India’s national security interests are involved in its investigation into the alleged involvement of a Government official in the assassination plot aimed at Khalistani extremist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. “It is something we are investigating as we believe our own national security interests are involved in that investigation,” he told reporters, replying to a question about US Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti’s statement that the involvement of a Government official in an assassination bid on the citizen of another country is an “unacceptable red line”.