No military presence in Katchchativu, Lanka assures India | world | Hindustan Times
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No military presence in Katchchativu, Lanka assures India

world Updated: Jun 20, 2009 16:22 IST
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Terming it as a move to strain relations between Colombo and New Delhi, Sri Lanka on Saturday said it has no plans to have military presence in Katchchativu island, which was ceded by India in 1974.

"The Government of Sri Lanka categorically states that there are no such intentions of constructing a watch tower or have a military presence on the Katchchativu Island," a Foreign Ministry statement said in Colombo.

The statement came in the wake of the recent media reports alleging that the Sri Lankan government was intending to construct a watch tower and a military base on the island. The report had also claimed that the Lankan Navy was harassing Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Sri Lanka Navy, after conducting investigations, has also categorically denied allegations that Tamil Nadu fishermen were being harassed by its personnel, the statement said.

"It is likely that these malicious allegations have been orchestrated by parties with vested interests in order to strain the long standing and warm relations between Sri Lanka and India," the Foreign Ministry said.

Kachchativu, a 275-acre uninhabited island, is situated on the Palk Strait along the border of India and Sri Lanka. According to an agreement signed in June, 1974, Indian fishermen and pilgrims are allowed to visit Kachchativu and will not be required to obtain travel documents or visas from Sri Lankan authorities.