Jaishankar accuses Opposition of doublespeak on Katchatheevu, China rows - Hindustan Times
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Jaishankar accuses Opposition of doublespeak on Katchatheevu, China rows

Apr 13, 2024 05:46 AM IST

According to Jaishankar, the records made available through RTI suggests foreign secretary had briefed then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi between 1973-1974 about the Katchatheevu

External affairs minister S Jaishankar on Thursday accused the Opposition of doublespeak on China and Katchatheevu issues, saying parties like DMK say one thing in Parliament while doing “deals indoor”.

External affairs minister S Jaishankar (C) arrives at the public function on Friday. (Mahendra Kolhe/HT)
External affairs minister S Jaishankar (C) arrives at the public function on Friday. (Mahendra Kolhe/HT)

Responding to Nationalist Congress Party (SP) chief Sharad Pawar’s remarks that Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised the Congress for ceding an island (Katchatheevu) to Sri Lanka in 1974 but he must also speak on “encroachment of Indian territories by China”, Jaishankar said that Congress and its allies are indulging in “double game”.

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According to Jaishankar, the records made available through RTI suggests foreign secretary had briefed then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi between 1973-1974 about the Katchatheevu.

“The then CM approved India’s position saying can’t go in public accepting it but he will help the government manage the situation,” he said.

“We are today trying to make the point that it is DMK’s nature that they say one thing in Parliament while doing deals indoor,” said Jaishankar.

Speaking on standoff with China, Jaishankar said, at some locations across the Line of Control, both sides have abnormally forward deployment.

“This is very dangerous. In some cases, they like in Kailash range we are very forward…in our history we have never gone that far and that high,” he said.

Since 2020, clashes have erupted between forces of two nations along the LAC, which is 2,100 miles long border.

On being asked what the way is forward to resolve the issue, Jaishankar said, India is trying to persuade China to take back troupes.

“We have an agreement with them that neither side can bring more than 5,000 troupes at a time on border. If you bring, give notification. But China has disregarded that. Right now, the 1993-96 agreement stands breached,” he said.

Later in the evening while speaking at an event titled ‘Why Bharat Matters: Opportunity for youth and participation in global scenario’, Jaishankar said India’s budget for infrastructure on the border with China was increased significantly after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister.

India should have learnt lessons from the 1962 war, but no headway was made in the development of border infrastructure till 2014, he claimed, adding that the Modi government increased the budget for the same from 3,500 crore to 14,500 crore.

“China is our neighbour, and be it China or any other neighbor, the border settlement is a challenge. I would like to dwell upon history here as if we do not learn lessons from history, we will continue to make mistakes again and again,” the minister said.

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