Katchatheevu Saga: The Half-Truths and Lies of India’s External Affairs Minister

Dr. Jaishankar's blatant disregard for the truth in the Katchatheevu issue is not only unfair but also detrimental to India's reputation on the global stage.


In politics, the manipulation of truth has become an art form, but what truly poses a danger is not the outright lies nor the complete truth, but the insidious half-truths that breed confusion and sow discord. A press conference held yesterday by Dr. S. Jaishankar, India’s Minister of External Affairs, regarding the Katchatheevu island issue, epitomizes this dangerous game of deceit and manipulation.

Kachchatheevu, an island of Sri Lanka

Dr. Jaishankar, once hailed as one of the best politicians in recent Indian history, has now turned towards Sri Lanka with what appears to be ulterior motives, armed with a slew of distorted facts and half-truths. In his attempt to justify his stance, he shamelessly peddles narratives that conveniently serve his political agenda, while conveniently omitting crucial details that might challenge his narrative.

One of the most egregious examples of this manipulation is Dr. Jaishankar’s selective amnesia regarding the 1974 agreement, conveniently ignoring the reciprocal nature of the arrangement. While he lambasts the Congress government for allegedly giving away Indian fishermen’s rights, he conveniently sidesteps the fact that Sri Lankan fishermen were also granted privileges under the same agreement. This blatant duplicity cannot be overlooked.

Crucially, Dr. Jaishankar’s failure to acknowledge the significance of “Wedge Bank” in the Katchatheevu issue further underscores his penchant for selective storytelling. The reciprocal agreements allowing Indian fishermen to dry their nets at Katchatheevu and Sri Lankan fishermen to fish at Wedge Bank were integral to the 1974 agreement. All these ceased with 1976 agreement among three nations; Sri Lanka, India and Maldives. However, Dr. Jaishankar conveniently ignores this fact, further muddying the waters of truth.

Furthermore, Dr. Jaishankar’s attempts to paint Sri Lanka as the villain in the ongoing conflict only serve to obfuscate the truth. By blaming Sri Lankan authorities for the arrest and detention of Indian fishermen, he conveniently ignores the illegal activities of these fishermen, who engage in destructive bottom trawling in Sri Lankan waters. It is India’s responsibility to address these transgressions rather than pointing fingers at its neighbour.

Thankfully, there are voices of reason amidst the chaos, with Indian intellectuals and diplomats stepping forward to challenge Dr. Jaishankar’s narrative. Sumanth Raman, a prominent political analyst, rightfully calls for transparency, urging Dr. Jaishankar to produce evidence supporting India’s claim to Katchatheevu.

The truth of the matter is that Katchatheevu is an uninhabited island controlled by Sri Lanka, a fact that has been conveniently overlooked by Indian politicians seeking to assert their dominance. The historical context of the island’s acquisition, as outlined in W. T. Jayasinghe’s seminal work, sheds light on the intricacies of the diplomatic negotiations that led to its transfer.

India’s hegemonic aspirations, built on a foundation of distorted facts and half-truths, are not only unsustainable but pose a threat to regional stability. It is high time for Indian politicians to recognize that power comes with responsibility, and true leadership lies in upholding the principles of transparency and accountability.

Dr. Jaishankar’s blatant disregard for the truth in the Katchatheevu issue is not only unfair but also detrimental to India’s reputation on the global stage. It is imperative that we demand transparency and honesty from our leaders, lest we fall prey to the dangerous allure of half-truths and lies.