‘Nehru saw Katchatheevu Island as a nuisance’: EAM Jaishankar as BJP intensifies attack on Cong

New Delhi: The BJP on Monday intensified its attack on the Congress over the issue of Katchatheevu Island with External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar joining Prime Minister Narendra Modi in targetting the grand old party for giving away the island to Sri Lanka.
Addressing a press briefing after Modi’s fresh attack on DMK, a Congress ally and the ruling party in Tamil Nadu, over the issue, Dr Jaishankar said India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru saw Katchatheevu Island as a nuisance.
“In an observation given by the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru in May 1961, he wrote, ‘I attach no importance at all to this little island and I would have no hesitation in giving up our claim to it. I do not like matters like this pending indefinitely and being raised again and again in Parliament.’ So, to Pandit Nehru, this was a little island, it had no importance, he saw it as a nuisance… For him, the sooner you give it away, the better…,” Dr Jaishankar said.
Countering Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge’s charge that the Modi government has suddenly woken up to the issue, the Union minister said that it is a “live issue” and didn’t surface overnight.
“The Katchatheevu issue didn’t surface suddenly; it’s a live issue, often debated in Parliament… The Congress, DMK approached the Katchatheevu issue as though they bear no responsibility,” Dr Jaishankar said.
The minister further claimed that he has replied to Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin 21 times on Katchatheevu issue.
“In fact, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written to me numerous times. My record shows that I have replied to the current Chief Minister (MK Stalin) 21 times on this issue. This is not an issue which has suddenly surfaced. This is a live issue,” he added.
The Katchatheevu Island issue surfaced after Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing a news report, took on the Congress government for “giving it away to Sri Lanka” in a social media post on Sunday. He later mentioned the issue in his rally in Meerut.
Earlier today, the prime minister said the new details that have emerged have unmasked the DMK. “Rhetoric aside, DMK has done NOTHING to safeguard Tamil Nadu’s interests. New details emerging on Katchatheevu have UNMASKED DMK’s double standards totally,” the PM said.
The Congress has countered the attack by raising the issue of alleged Chinese incursion in Ladakh. Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge accused the prime minister of “giving clean chit” to China after 20 Indian Army soldiers were martyred in a battle with the Chinese military personnel in Galwan valley.
Kharge said that the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement was a friendly gesture similar to the India-Bangladesh land agreement under which India handed over 111 enclaves to Dhaka and got only 55 in return.

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