External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday reprimanded Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal over his claims of "new Singapore COVID-19 variant" alarm and said "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," tweeted Jaishankar. Earlier on Tuesday, Kejriwal had cautioned Centre about a "new Singapore COVID-19 variant" that can hurt children the most.
However, irresponsible comments from those who should know better can damage long-standing partnerships.— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) May 19, 2021
So, let me clarify- Delhi CM does not speak for India.
In a tweet Kejriwal had said, "The new COVID variant in Singapore is being said to be extremely dangerous for children, in India it may come as a third wave. My appeal to the central government: 1. Air services with Singapore to be cancelled with immediate effect, 2. Priority on vaccine options should be worked out for children too."
Talking on the importance of India-Singapore partnership in fight against COVID-19 pandemic, Jaishankar tweeted, "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."
Singapore government had also strongly objected to Kejriwal's tweet. "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," tweeted Arindam Bagchi, official spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs.
Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday said there is no truth in the references in reports in a section of Indian media about the presence of a new variant of coronavirus in the country, adding that there is no "Singapore variant".
It said the strain that is prevalent in many of the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is the B.1.617.2 variant, which originated in India.
A statement by Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH) referred to reports in a section of media citing remarks of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
"There is no truth whatsoever in the assertions found within the reports. There is no "Singapore variant". The strain that is prevalent in many of the COVID-19 cases in recent weeks is the B.1.617.2 variant, which originated in India. Phylogenetic testing has shown this B.1.617.2 variant to be associated with several clusters in Singapore," the statement said.
Responding to Kejriwal tweet, Union Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs; Civil Aviation; and Minister of State (MoS) Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri informed him that the international flights are cancelled since March 2020 and also there was no air-bubble with Singapore.
Puri tweeted, "Kejriwal ji, international flights since March 2020 is cancelled, there is no air-bubble with Singapore. There are some flights operating under 'Vande Bharat' to bring back Indian's nationals. They are our own people. Yet, we are seeing to it. All precautions are being taken."