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Indian Govt. should annul 1974 agreement and retrieve Katchatheevu – Stalin

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Accusing Prime Minister Narendra Modi of failing to stop attacks on Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan navy despite promising to find a solution during election campaign, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Friday said retrieval of Katchatheevu island was the only solution for the problems faced by fishermen.

Pointing out that as many as 619 fishermen were arrested in 48 incidents of assault by the Sri Lankan Navy, Stalin reminded Modi of his 2014 campaign speech in Ramanathapuram that he would put an end to such attacks after coming to power and accused the then Congress government of being “weak.”

“The attacks continue under the Narendra Modi regime. What does it mean? It means the Modi government is weak,” Stalin told a fishermen welfare conference in Rameswaram island. Devoting a significant portion of his speech to needle the BJP on the fishermen issue, Stalin said Modi had handed out an assurance that he will not allow the attacks to happen.

However, Stalin said, the attacks on fishermen continue to take place till date and there has been no action from the Indian Government. Of the 83 boats that it impounded in 2023, Sri Lanka has released only 16 of them and the remaining 67 is under its custody.

“The Government of India should cancel the 1974 India-Sri Lanka Agreement and retrieve Katchatheevu. Ceding the island has cost Indian fishermen their traditional rights in the Palk Bay. The Union Government should take steps to cancel the agreement or we will take steps to ensure this happens under a new government in 2024,” Stalin added.

Katchatheevu is a tiny uninhabited island of just 285 acres sandwiched between India and Sri Lanka in the Palk Bay. Originally part of the territory held by the Rajah of Ramanathapuram, Katchatheevu was brought under the Madras Presidency during British rule.

On accusation that DMK kept mum when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ceded Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka, Stalin said there was no truth in such claims as it was then Chief Minister M Karunanidhi who was the first to voice opposition when Sri Lanka began to claim ownership on the island in 1971.

“Chief Minister Karunanidhi released a statement asserting that Katchatheevu belongs to India in 1973. Indira Gandhi signed the agreement in 1974 despite Karunanidhi’s announcement. This is just an agreement. Our leader opposed the ceding of Katchatheevu by meeting Indira Gandhi after the signing of the agreement,” Stalin added.

(Deccan Herald)

(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by Deccan Herald has not been edited by SLM staff)

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SC judgement on petitions challenging IGP’s appointment, on July 24

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The Supreme Court is to pronounce judgement on the petitions, challenging the appointment of Inspector General of Police Deshabandu Tennakoon, on July 24.

The petitions were filed by 08 parties including His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

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Lawyers helped Kanjipani Imran & Ganemulle Sanjeeva to escape from SL – Tiran

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Kanjipani Imran and Ganemulle Sanjeeva, who are wanted by the police, were helped by their lawyers to escape from the country, Minister of Public Security – Tiran Alles has said.

He has said this during a media briefing held in Colombo today (July 18). 

The minister also stated that the police has seized drugs amounting to Rs. 19 billion as well as 955 firearms, since the ‘Yukthiya’ operation kicked off on Dec. 17, 2023.

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“Japan ready to resume suspended official development assistance projects”

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Dr. IZUMI Hiroto, the head of the Japanese delegation visiting Sri Lanka, lauded the successful completion of the country’s debt restructuring process, noting that it has paved the way for the resumption of Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) projects. 

These projects, which include several initiatives that were suspended last period, are now poised to restart, signaling a renewed phase of cooperation and development.

Dr. Hiroto highlighted that the international community’s confidence in President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s leadership is strongly reflected in the expedited success of the debt restructuring agreements. This achievement, accomplished in partnership with the Official Creditors’ Committee and the International Monetary Fund, underscores a remarkable turnaround for Sri Lanka.The high-level Japanese delegation, comprising representatives from the housing, construction, and urban sectors, met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Secretariat this morning (18).

During the meeting, Dr. IZUMI Hiroto highlighted the successful completion of Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process and announced that projects under Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA), including those previously suspended, are set to resume.

The discussion also focused on new investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, emphasizing the potential for enhanced cooperation between the two nations. The delegation expressed their appreciation for Sri Lanka’s economic progress and the swift achievement of debt restructuring agreements in collaboration with the Official Creditors’ Committee and the International Monetary Fund. They praised President Wickremesinghe’s leadership in navigating the country through its financial challenges, which has restored international confidence and paved the way for renewed development initiatives.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, recalling Japan’s invaluable support during Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring process, emphasized Sri Lanka’s commitment to deepening economic cooperation with Japan across various sectors, including education and agricultural modernization. The President stressed the importance of resuming stalled projects under Japanese cooperation to further strengthen bilateral relations.

Additionally, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the critical role of the Colombo Dockyard, underscoring its significance as a key institution in Sri Lankaís maritime and industrial landscape.

The Japanese delegation noted that several projects that are currently suspended, including the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) Development Project, the Colombo Port Eastern Terminal Development Project, the Central Expressway Construction and the Digital Broadcasting Project, can be promptly restarted.

Additionally, the delegation highlighted the potential to resume the Light Railway Transit (LRT), which was halted by the previous government. They are actively assessing locations to re-implement this project, recognizing its significant potential to alleviate traffic congestion in Colombo city.

Both sides emphasized the significance of Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) in executing housing for low-income earners and other urban development projects. It was also highlighted that the Government of Sri Lanka is committed to promoting environmentally friendly projects and renewable energy in line with its policies and international agreements.

The Japanese delegation expressed their willingness to the President to recruit Sri Lankan graduates in the field of technology for job opportunities in Japan’s private sector. This initiative aims to improve the electricity supply sector in Japan. The delegation also highlighted the Joint Credit Mechanism (JCM), which encompasses projects designed to promote environmental sustainability by utilizing advanced Japanese technology to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.Chief of Presidential Staff and Senior Advisor to the President on National Security Sagala Ratnayaka, Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka H.E. Mizukoshi Hideaki, Chairman of the Board – Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) Mr. MAEDA Tadashi, Presidential Senior Advisor to the President on Economic Affairs Dr. R. H. S. Samaratunga, and the Managing Director/CEO of the Colombo Dockyard PLC Mr. Thimira S. Godakumbura, along with representatives from several leading businesses in Japan attended the discussion.

President’s Media Division (PMD)
18.07.2024

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