Arvind Kejriwal sparks row with tweet claiming new form of Covid-19 in Singapore; Centre responds

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Updated: May 19, 2021 1:31 PM

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal's remark did not go down well with Singapore as it summoned India's High Commissioner to register its objection.

Delhi CM Arvind KejriwalExternal Affair Minister S Jaishankar said that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal does not speak for India.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s tweet claiming a new Covid variant allegedly found in Singapore has forced the Ministry of External Affairs to issue a clarification. In a tweet, the Delhi CM said Tuesday that a new strain of COVID-19 found in Singapore is said to be extremely dangerous for children and the same can lead to the advent of the third COVID-19 wave in India. The CM urged the central government to immediately cancel flights operating between India and Singapore and asked them to work on priority to make the vaccine available to children.

His remark did not go down well with Singapore as it summoned India’s High Commissioner to register its objection. “Singapore Government called in our High Commissioner today to convey strong objection to Delhi CM’s tweet on ‘Singapore variant’. High Commissioner clarified that Delhi CM had no competence to pronounce on Covid variants or civil aviation policy,” informed Arindam Bagchi, Official Spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs.

After Singapore officially objected to Kejriwal’s remark, External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar said that the two countries are ‘solid partners in the fight against COVID-19’. “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 said in a tweet.

To further dissipate the matter, he said that Delhi CM does not speak for India. “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,” said Jaishankar in another tweet.

Reacting to Dr Jaishankar’s tweet, Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said that the focus should be on resolving the health crisis. “Thanks Dr S Jaishankar, let’s focus on resolving the situation in our respective countries and helping one another. Nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” he said in a tweet.

Singapore’s Embassy in India also said that the new variant found in Singapore is not new and it’s the same B.1.617.2 variant that has been found in India as well.

Earlier, Union Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri had clarified that neither commercial nor air bubble flights are operational between India and Singapore. He said that only some Vande Bharat flights are being operated between the two countries and that too only to bring back Indians who have been stranded there. He added that the Government of India is keeping a close watch on the situation.

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