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Once Again Stalin Will Lay Claim To Sri Lanka’s Kachchatheevu, To Push PM Modi’s Hand On Island Reclamation Issue

India has extended more than just emergency aid, arranged for finance from the IMF, door delivered medicines, foodgrains and fuel to our trouble-torn neighbour, Sri Lanka. The scale of this spontaneous and timely humanitarian aid is now overshadowed by raising the issue of repossessing the Kachchatheevu island, a 285 sq km land area in the Palk Straits, a mere 17 km south of Rameshwaram. In 2013, the Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a Resolution about reclaiming Kachchatheevu, and now the DMK government headed by MK Stalin is pushing for it. Reason: Recurring skirmishes between the two nations, incidences of arrests of Indian fishermen. They are regularly detained and punished by the Sri Lankan Navy. Reportedly, the new Sri Lankan PM is planning to accede Kachchatheevu to India for a 99-year lease. India ceded Kachchatheevu in 1974, but has not succeeded in getting Sri Lanka to sign a mutually advantageous deal. As recently as March 5, 2022, when both countries held a virtual meeting of the 5th Working Group of Fisheries, India requested a humane approach to this issue. It is learnt that during PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Tamil Nadu and Stalin may bring this vexatious issue up with him.