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Wish to put an end to episode: Singapore after Centre says Kejriwal doesn't speak for India

Singapore High Commissioner to India, Simon Wong on Wednesday said that they would wish to put an end to the episode where Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made some irresponsible remarks about a Singapore strain of coronavirus but failed to ascertain fact, adding they were happy with the response of the Indian government that Delhi CM doesn't speak for India.

Edited by: India TV News Desk New Delhi Updated on: May 19, 2021 18:28 IST
Exchanges between both countries' foreign ministers, I
Image Source : ANI

Exchanges between both countries' foreign ministers, I would say that we would wish to put an end to this episode because authorities representing Government of India had spoken and we are heartened by those assurances, says Simon Wong, Singapore High Commissioner to India.

Singapore High Commissioner to India, Simon Wong on Wednesday said that they would wish to put an end to the episode where Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal made some irresponsible remarks about a Singapore strain of coronavirus but failed to ascertain fact, adding they were happy with the response of the Indian government that Delhi CM doesn't speak for India.

"We were happy to see EAM Dr Jaishankar had put 3 points that Singapore and India are solid partners in the fight against Covid, that Delhi CM doesn't speak for India, and that the comments made were irresponsible," Singapore High Commissioner to India, Simon Wong mentioned.

"Exchanges between both countries' foreign ministers, I would say that we would wish to put an end to this episode because authorities representing Government of India had spoken and we are heartened by those assurances," Simon Wong said.

"In Singapore, we have Protection from Online Falsehoods & Manipulation Act (POFMA) to mitigate misinformation & we reserve right to invoke POFMA on assertions made by CM (Delhi). However, we're satisfied with Government of India's clarification," Simon Wong added.

"It (Delhi CM's remarks) would not impact our (India-Singapore) hand-in-hand fight against Covid. As witnessed yesterday and today with transportation of medical aid, we're working together. Pandemic knows no boundary or political colour," Simon Wong mentioned.

"This morning, we invited High Commissioner Kumaran to express concern that prominent figure in Delhi failed to ascertain facts before making claims. Following meeting, MEA spokesperson pointed Delhi CM has no competence to pronounce on Covid variant," Wong said.

What's the controversy

The Centre had lashed out at Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal for his irresponsible allegations against Singapore over the virulent variant of Coronavirus that has hit India.

The reprimand against Kejriwal came after Singapore foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan objected to the Delhi chief minister's tweet. Kejriwal had tweeted in Hindi on Tuesday that the "new variant of Coronavirus in Singapore is reported to be extremely dangerous for children. In India, it may come as a third wave." He appealed to the Centre to "suspend air services with Singapore immediately and vaccinate children on priority."

To this, Balakrishnan responded, quoting Kejriwal, "Politicians should stick to facts! There is no "Singapore variant"."

Separately, a statement from Singapore's ministry of foreign affairs had said, "MFA regrets the unfounded assertions made on Facebook and Twitter by chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal that a variant of Covid-19 found in Singapore was particularly harmful to children and could cause a third wave of infections in India."

"MFA is disappointed that a prominent political figure had failed to ascertain the facts before making such claims. MFA met the High Commissioner of India P Kumaran this morning to express these concerns. As highlighted by MOH in its press release of 18 May 2021, there is no "Singapore variant". The strain prevalent in many of the Covid-19 cases in recent weeks is the B.1.617.2 variant, which was first detected in India."

MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi informed on Twitter that the Singapore government had called in India's high commissioner today to convey its strong objection to Delhi CM's tweet on the 'Singapore variant'. "High commissioner clarified that Delhi CM had no competence to pronounce on Covid variants or civil aviation policy," he tweeted.

Jumping in to do the damage control, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar also tweeted tagging Vivian Balakrishnan, "Singapore and India have been solid partners in the fight against Covid-19. Appreciate Singapore's role as a logistics hub and oxygen supplier. Their gesture of deploying military aircraft to help us speaks of our exceptional relationship."

He further censured Kejriwal saying, "However, irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships. So, let me clarify-Delhi CM does not speak for India."

ALSO READDelhi CM does not speak for India', says S Jaishankar as Singapore objects to Kejriwal's comment

 

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