MOUTHPIECE! Chidambaram slams EAM Jaishankar over Katchateevu island row

Chidambaram questioned Jaishankar's recent statements on the detention of fishermen, highlighting inconsistencies in the government's response over the years.

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Courtesy: ANI (File)

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram stirred controversy on Monday by criticizing External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's stance on the Katchatheevu island dispute. Accusing Jaishankar of a significant shift in position, Chidambaram described him as transitioning from a "suave liberal foreign service officer" to a "mouthpiece of the RSS-BJP," drawing attention to the evolving dynamics of Indian diplomacy.

Chidambaram's remarks on S Jaishankar

In a pointed remark, Chidambaram questioned Jaishankar's recent statements on the detention of fishermen, highlighting inconsistencies in the government's response over the years. He emphasized that detention incidents occurred during various administrations, challenging Jaishankar's condemnation of the Congress and DMK on the issue. Chidambaram's critique underscores the political sensitivity surrounding the Katchatheevu dispute and the need for a cohesive national approach.

Support from Congress

Echoing Chidambaram's sentiment, Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also weighed in on the debate, questioning the validity of Jaishankar's assertions. Ramesh emphasized the historical context of the Katchatheevu Agreement, asserting that the island's status had never been conclusively defined. His remarks add depth to the ongoing discourse, urging a reevaluation of India's approach to maritime boundaries and territorial disputes.

Jaishankar's response

In response to criticism, Jaishankar reiterated the government's position, citing historical precedents to justify current policies. He highlighted past administrations' decisions regarding the Katchatheevu island, portraying it as a longstanding issue that demands attention. Jaishankar's remarks underscore the complexity of India's diplomatic relations with neighboring Sri Lanka and the need for a nuanced understanding of historical agreements.

Political implications of Katchatheevu dispute

The Katchatheevu dispute has emerged as a significant point of contention ahead of elections, with parties leveraging the issue to garner support. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's criticism of the Congress and DMK reflects the electoral significance of the matter, as parties vie for Tamil Nadu's support. The politicization of the dispute underscores its relevance in shaping regional politics and diplomatic discourse.

As the debate over the Katchatheevu island dispute intensifies, stakeholders must prioritize constructive dialogue and collaborative solutions. Chidambaram's critique and subsequent responses underscore the need for a balanced approach that addresses historical grievances while safeguarding national interests. With elections looming, the resolution of the Katchatheevu issue assumes heightened significance, highlighting the intersection of politics and diplomacy in shaping India's foreign policy agenda.