MP Priyanka Chaturvedi questions MEA on Katchatheevu Island ownership

Member of Parliament Priyanka Chaturvedi has spotlighted a glaring disparity in the Ministry of External Affairs’ responses to RTI queries regarding the ownership of Katchatheevu Island. Her remarks have triggered a wave of controversy, casting doubts on the consistency of India’s position on the matter.

| Updated: 01 April, 2024 1:58 pm IST
MP Priyanka Chaturvedi highlighted the stark contrast between the MEA's RTI replies concerning the ownership of Katchatheevu Island has ignited controversy

NEW DELHI: Member of Parliament Priyanka Chaturvedi has spotlighted a glaring disparity in the Ministry of External Affairs’ responses to RTI queries regarding the ownership of Katchatheevu Island. Her remarks have triggered a wave of controversy, casting doubts on the consistency of India’s position on the matter.

Chaturvedi’s critique shared on X following a press conference by External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, points out a discrepancy between the MEA’s responses in 2015 and the present day. This discrepancy has drawn scrutiny and criticism from various political quarters.

Chaturvedi, joined by Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh, has strongly criticized the MEA, accusing it of swiftly changing its stance after the assumption of the Foreign Secretary as External Affairs Minister. Ramesh has gone further, alleging governmental hypocrisy and deceit, hinting at hidden motives behind the shifting narrative.

ALSO READ: Evacuated Ukrainian students contribute to Muraleedharan’s election deposit

At the heart of the controversy lies the ownership status of Katchatheevu Island. Referring to the MEA’s 2015 RTI response, Chaturvedi asserts that the island neither belongs to nor has been ceded by India, as it lies within the Sri Lankan side of the India-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line. The response cites agreements from 1974 and 1976, underscoring the absence of any territorial transfer.

 

 

In the RTI query mentioned by Priyanka, the question posed was, “Who is the rightful owner of Katchatheevu Island, India or Sri Lanka, and do you possess any written documents regarding ownership? Please provide all relevant details.” The response received stated, “Katchatheevu Island lies on the SL side of the India-Sri Lanka IMBL as delineated by the 1974 Agreement demarcating it in the Palk Straits and a subsequent 1976 Agreement demarcating it in the Gulf of Mannar and Bay of Bengal.

This did not involve either acquiring or ceding territory belonging to India since the area in question had never been demarcated. Under the Agreements, the Island of Katchatheevu lies on the Sri Lankan side of the India-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line. The 1974 and 1976 Agreements are enclosed in the Annexure of this letter for the applicant’s reference.”

ALSO READ: India doesn’t need lessons from any country on rule of law – Vice President

 

 

However, recent statements from Foreign Minister Dr. S Jaishankar contradict the earlier stance, alleging that India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had intentions to cede the island to Sri Lanka. Dr. Jaishankar referenced historical agreements placing Katchatheevu under Sri Lankan sovereignty, suggesting a departure from previous assertions.

In light of these developments, calls have arisen for the MEA to address the discrepancies in its RTI responses and provide clarity on India’s stance regarding Katchatheevu Island. This controversy underscores the intricate nature of territorial disputes and the challenges of maintaining coherence in foreign policy narratives over time.

Also Read Story

MEA issues advisory for Indians in Bangladesh amid violent protests

Maharashtra to celebrate Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s historic ‘Wagh Nakh’ return

All Telecommunications Act rules to be notified within 180 days: Scindia

Jyotiraditya Scindia Unveils Theme for India Mobile Congress 2024: “The Future is Now”