Indian High Commissioner visit to Katchativu confirms the sovereignty of Sri Lanka over the Islet
Since of late while Tamil Nadu political leaders Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa, MK Stalin of DMK and others were clamoring that India should consider to annex Katchativu, but today’s visit of India’s High Commissioner to Katchativu confirms Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over the islet.
Katchativu, is a small islet located in the Palk Bay, situated 14 miles south-west of Delft, an island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka and 15 miles north-east of Pamban, off the southern coast of India, about half way between the mainland of India and Sri Lanka and lies at the periphery of Sri Lanka's area of sovereignty.
For the first time after the signing of the agreement between Sri Lanka and India in 1976, a High Commissioner of India has visited Kachchativu.
Earlier Sri Lanka’s sovereignty was determined once for all by 1976 agreement entered between Sri Lanka and India where delimitation of International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) was agreed upon as required by the United Nations Convention on the Law Of the Sea (UNCLOS), Indian fishermen do not have any right to even engage in drying of nets and use of Church in Kachchativu as 1976 agreement supersedes the agreement entered between the two countries in 1974.
The St.Anthony’s Church is located in the islet of Katchativu - is said to be the only pilgrim centre that is being visited by devotees of two countries in the world.
Accordingly, today High Commissioner of India Mr Ashok K. Kantha attended the annual feast of revered St Antony’s church at Kachchativu Island in the early morning of 24 February.
According to a press release by the Indian High Commission in Colombo, For the first time High Commissioner of India has visited Kachchativu. The High Commissioner was accompanied by the Consul General of India in Jaffna Mr. V. Mahalingam.
The statement issued by the Indian High Commission further said:
During his visit, the High Commissioner also interacted with the priests, nuns and pilgrims from India who conveyed their gratitude for organizing this traditional annual pilgrimage which has been observed since 1905.
2814 Indian devotees who came to the Island in 94 boats participated with great enthusiasm and piety in this annual feast, which is held in honour of the patron saint of sea-farers, Rev. St. Antony. Rev. Bishop Dr. Thomas Sovuntharanayagam conducted the mass at Kachchativu.
Necessary arrangements for food, water, sanitation and security were made by the Sri Lankan Ministry of Defense in coordination with local government officials and the Jaffna diocese.
The High Commission of India and the Consulate General of India had also deployed officials to assist the pilgrims. The High Commissioner expressed his sincere appreciation to the concerned authorities for the excellent arrangements.
- Asian Tribune -