Katchatheevu Issue: No Word from India, Claims Sri Lankan Minister; TN BJP Asserts Centre’s Action

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By Sunil Chaudhary

On Katchatheevu, Sri Lanka minister says no word from India; TN BJP says Centre working on it

The resurgence of the Katchatheevu issue has sparked considerable interest in Tamil Nadu, with contrasting statements emerging from Sri Lanka and the Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) regarding India’s stance.

Katchatheevu Issue: No Word from India, Claims Sri Lankan Minister; TN BJP Asserts Centre's Action

Official Silence from India

A senior Sri Lankan minister, Jeevan Thondaman, revealed to The Indian Express that no official communication has been received from India concerning the Katchatheevu island issue. Thondaman emphasized that Katchatheevu falls within Sri Lanka’s territorial jurisdiction and reiterated the absence of any requests from India regarding its powers over the island.

BJP’s Assertions

Contrary to Sri Lanka’s assertions, the Tamil Nadu BJP, led by state chief K Annamalai, asserts that the Indian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is actively pursuing measures to address the Katchatheevu issue. Annamalai stated that the Centre is exploring all possible avenues to reclaim the territory, emphasizing the seriousness with which PM Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar are approaching the matter.

Political Speculation and Historical Context

The recent spotlight on the Katchatheevu issue, particularly in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election on April 19, has fueled speculation regarding the BJP’s strategy in Tamil Nadu. Reports suggest that the BJP has been eyeing a resolution to the Katchatheevu dispute, with efforts dating back to Annamalai’s diplomatic visit to Sri Lanka in 2022.

Challenges and Strategies

Despite the complexities surrounding the issue, including legal and diplomatic hurdles, the BJP remains steadfast in its pursuit of addressing the concerns related to Katchatheevu. While acknowledging the challenges of reclaiming the island, BJP insiders reveal a strategy focused on restoring traditional rights for Indian vessels in the area, emphasizing the potential gains for the BJP’s Tamil Nadu unit.

Conclusion

As discussions on the Katchatheevu issue intensify, both domestically and internationally, the divergent perspectives offered by Sri Lanka and the Tamil Nadu BJP underscore the complexities and sensitivities surrounding territorial disputes and diplomatic negotiations. The coming days are likely to witness further developments as political stakeholders navigate the intricacies of this longstanding issue

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