"I Replied 21 Times": S Jaishankar Trashes DMK Claims Over Katchatheevu

To Pandit Nehru, Katchatheevu was a little island, it had no importance, and he saw it as a nuisance, said Foreign Minister S Jaishankar.

'I Replied 21 Times': S Jaishankar Trashes DMK Claims Over Katchatheevu

Congress andDMK approached Katchatheevu issue as though they bear no responsibility, said S Jaishankar.

Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Monday trashed the DMK's claims over not being consulted about the Katchatheevu island, which was "handed over" to Sri Lanka in 1974, and said he had replied to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister 21 times over the matter.

Here are the top 10 quotes by the foreign minister on this row:

  1. "We are talking about 1958 and 1960. The main people in the case wanted to make sure that at least we should get the fishing rights. The island was given away in 1974 and the fishing rights were given away in 1976."
  2. "One, the most basic recurring (aspect) is the indifference shown by the then central government and the PMs about the territory of India. The fact is they simply did not care."
  3. "To Pandit Nehru, this was a little island, it had no importance, and he saw it as a nuisance. For him, the sooner you give it away, the better. This view continued to Indira Gandhi as well."
  4. "The PM (Indira Gandhi) is said to have remarked in the AICC meeting that this is a little rock...so, this is not just one PM. This dismissive attitude was the historic Congress attitude towards Katchatheevu."
  5. "I am reminded of those days when Pandit Nehru called our northern boundary a place where not a blade of grass grew. I would like to remind that after this historic statement by PM Nehru, he never regained the confidence of the country."
  6. "The fishermen are still being detained today, boats are still being apprehended and the issue is still being raised in Parliament. It is being raised in Parliament by two parties who did it."
  7. "Whenever there was an arrest, how do you think they (fishermen) were released? It is very good to give statements from Chennai, but the people who do the work are us."
  8. "We now know not only who did it but also who hid it"
  9. "DMK questions handing over Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka and claims Tamil Nadu government was not consulted. The fact is it was kept fully informed. The Katchatheevu issue was a matter of frequent correspondence between the Centre and Tamil Nadu. I replied to the Chief Minister 21 times."
  10. "Congress and DMK approached Katchatheevu issue as though they bear no responsibility."

What is the Katchatheevu island row?

In 1974, the then Indira Gandhi government recognised the island, about 1.6 km long and over 300 m wide, a Sri Lankan area under Indo-Sri Lankan maritime agreement. The issue has resurfaced after a media report based on an RTI reply received by Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai on the 1974 pact.