We take our manifesto seriously: Jaishankar on India’s aspirations related to Katchatheevu Island

Bengaluru, April 15 (UNI) India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Monday gave a diplomatic response, regarding the contentious issue of Katchatheevu Island between India and Sri Lanka. He emphasised the importance of BJP’s manifesto and its commitment to fulfilling promises made therein.

“Yes, my answer to your question is why I started with the manifesto (in my opening remarks). We take our manifesto very seriously. In this manifesto, Rajnath ji headed the committee. So, many people gave the input. Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) himself sat down on all these things and spent time finalising what the manifesto was.

And if you look at our manifesto, what I want to say is – whatever we say in the manifesto we will do … Our promises are for real. What you see is what you get. So please look at the manifesto and keep your faith in us very strong,” he replied to a UNI query in the press conference here.

Katchatheevu Island, a 285-acre area located in the Indian Ocean’s Palk Strait between Tamil Nadu and northern Sri Lanka, has been a point of historical and diplomatic contention between the two countries. The island’s ownership has roots dating back to the 17th century when it was part of the Ramnad kingdom or principality and was leased to both the Dutch and British East India Companies.

The BJP’s manifesto doesn’t directly address the Katchatheevu issue but emphasises ensuring freedom of navigation and maritime security in the Indian Ocean. It also promises to expand India’s defence presence in strategic locations and collaborate with friendly nations to safeguard India’s and the Indian Ocean Region’s security interests.

The Katchatheevu Island was ceded to Sri Lanka in 1974 through an agreement between the DMK government in Tamil Nadu and the Congress government at the centre. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has referred to this as a “callous” decision.

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