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No military presence in Katchchativu, Lanka assures India

[PTI, Saturday, 20 June 2009 10:57 No Comment]

Terming it as a move to strain relations between Colombo and New Delhi, Sri Lanka today said it has no plans to have military presence in Katchchativu island, which was ceded by India in 1974.

"The Government of Sri Lanka categorically states that there are no such intentions of constructing a watch tower or have a military presence on the Katchchativu Island," a Foreign Ministry statement said here.

The statement came in the wake of the recent media reports alleging that the Sri Lankan government was intending to construct a watch tower and a military base on the island. The report had also claimed that the Lankan Navy was harassing Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Sri Lanka Navy, after conducting investigations, has also categorically denied allegations that Tamil Nadu fishermen were being harassed by its personnel, the statement said.

"It is likely that these malicious allegations have been orchestrated by parties with vested interests in order to strain the long standing and warm relations between Sri Lanka and India," the foreign ministry said.

Kachchativu, a 275-acre uninhabited island, is situated on the Palk Strait along the border of India and Sri Lanka.

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