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Irrelevant, destructive, this Kachchatheevu love

Irrelevant, destructive, this Kachchatheevu love

The campaigning for Lok Sabh polls, happening the whole hog, apparently reveals that concerted efforts are underway to induct PM Modi back in power for the third time. His claim is that NDA will bag not less than 400 seats. The BJP is in power in most of the major north Indian states. In the elections held at the fag-end of the previous year, BJP defeated Congress in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. Alongside it is now revealed that the party received thousands of crores in devious corporate donations. Godi Media continues in gushing praise of Modi more than before. On the other hand, the political leaders critical of the government and the BJP are set upon by ED and Income Tax team, jailing each of them. Many prominent opposition leaders, afraid of the hunters, have already taken refuge under the shade of lotus. Many others are reportedly waiting for their turn to cross over. Among those turncoats are the leaders who even found place in the Opposition’s list of candidates.

Who is Modi afraid of in this favourable scenario and what ails the BJP? Obviously, they smell something that could give way to alarm and apprehension. The most recent campaign weapon that PM Modi pulled out suggests the same. All previous governments, relying on justifiable reasons, made it a point to have warm ties with our southernmost neighbour, Sri Lanka. Now China is effectively putting efforts to lure Sri Lanka in its sphere of influence. Needless to say, it is a threat to national interests and security. Has PM Modi completely forgotten these aspects when he accused the erstwhile Congress regime of having tossed Kachchatheevu to Sri Lanka?

Why does his foreign minister Jaishankar come out justifying Modi? Records from the British period prove that an accord had been made on this islet with the then Ceylon. This uninhabited islet with a total area of only 285 acres sits 23 km away from Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and 19 km from Nedundive in Lanka. The island has no strategic importance other than fishermen of both countries often visiting the place. Nevertheless, the ownership dispute between the two countries went on. Finally in 1921 the British India authorities came to an agreement to hand over the island to Ceylon. It was no doubt a sore point for the Tamilians. But Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1974 handed over the islet, knowing only too well that the mainland, renamed as Sri Lanka, slipping into undesirable international alliance and treaties could be against India’s national interest. Given this background, the UPA government or subsequent NDA government never raised any claim on the islet that comes within both the countries’ sea route. Further, in 2022 the Ministry of External Affairs told Rajya Sabha that Kachchatheevu is located on the Sri Lankan side of the Indo-Sri Lankan border. Not long after Modi came to power, the Ministry of External Affairs in a document submitted in the Madras High Court termed it as a solved issue. Replying to PM Modi and Minister Jaishankar, the Congress leaders raised a relevant question what Modi administration has done over the years to recover Kachchatheevu. Although it is fine to shout anything to lure votes, those in responsible positions should desist from making comments that could adversely affect international relations - especially so when those trying to capitalize on it are hovering over the head.

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TAGS:EditorialLok Sabha Elections 2024Kachchatheevu IssueSri Lankan border
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