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Oral Quesition Answers Hon. Mr. Ravi Karunanaya​ke on 30th Nov 2011 No.1522-11

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Parliamentary Question No.1522/11
Replies to Questions for Oral Answers
Due Date: 30th November 2011


(a)    Q    Will he inform this House as to when India officially gave up their claim on
Kachchativu  Island?       

A    Kachchativu was not given or ceded to Sri Lanka.  Therefore, the question of India officially giving up her claim on Kachchativu does not arise.  During the negotiations between India and Sri Lanka of the 1974 Maritime Boundary Agreement on the Historic Waters in the Palk Bay and Palk Straits, Sri Lanka established its claim to sovereignty over Kachchativu based on historical records since 1665 belonging to the Dutch East India Company and the British Colonial Government.  Based on official correspondence, maps and specific legislation made by Ceylon in respect of the Island, Sri Lanka was able to establish through evidence, the regular exercise of administrative control over the Island as well.  Accordingly, the 1974 Agreement formally confirmed Sri Lanka’s sovereignty over the Island.

The Indian position on the matter was conveyed most recently on 26th August 2011 by the Minister of External Affairs of India in a Statement in the Lok Sabha (The House of the People or the Lower House of the Indian Parliament), as follows:

Quote    
I wish to bring to the attention of the august House that our fishermen have access to visit the Island for rest, for drying of nets and for the annual St. Anthony’s Festival, and that the rights do not cover fishing around Kachchativu Island.
We will have to also bear in mind the fact that as per the Agreements we have concluded with Sri Lanka in 1974 and 1976, Kachchativu Island lies on the Sri Lankan side of the Maritime boundary.  These Agreements were laid before the Parliament.  Therefore, as far as the Government of India is concerned, the issue of Maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka, and consequently, that of sovereignty over Kachchativu Island is a settled matter.
Unquote

(b)    Q    Will he table the agreement signed by the Government of Sri  Lanka and India on the
rights of Kachchativu Islands?

A     Copies of the 1974 Agreement and 1976 Agreement are attached as Annex – I and II respectively.
(c)    (i)    Q    As to why various claims are made by Indian political personalities trying to
revive Indian claim of Kachachativu Islands?

A    I am unable to speculate on the reasons for statements by others.

(ii)    Q    Whether the Minister has spoken with Indian counterpart on this matter?

A    The 1974 and 1976 Agreements have clearly and conclusively established the maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka.  Therefore, the matter has never been raised by the Indian Government or by the Sri Lanka Government.


(d)    Q    Will be also state whether Sri Lankan Government insist that India stands by the  
previous agreement of handing over Kachchativu Islands to Sri Lanka and they have no claim to such an Island which Sri Lanka legislatively and historically owned?  

A    The question does not arise since, as far as the Government of Sri Lanka and the Government of India are concerned,  the issue of the Maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka, and consequently, that of sovereignty over Kachchativu Island is a settled matter.

(e)    Q     If not, why?
A    The question does not arise as explained at (d) above.