The central government said on Wednesday that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal “does not speak for India” after the Singapore government summoned the Indian envoy and conveyed “strong objection” to remarks regarding a coronavirus variant in the country.
“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,” wrote India foreign minister S Jaishankar on Twitter.
“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,” he added.
The tweet came moments after the government in a statement said that the India high commissioner has clarified to Singapore that the Delhi CM “had no competence” on Covid variants.
“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,” said the foreign ministry.
Kejriwal had on Tuesday requested the central government to suspend flights to and from Singapore with immediate effect as he warned of a possible new strain of the novel coronavirus detected in the city-state.
He said the strain is suspected to affect children.
In a Twitter post, Kejriwal had hinted that the alleged new strain could mark the advent of the third wave of Covid-19 in the country.
“The new form of Covid-19 that has come to Singapore is being said to be extremely dangerous for children. In India, it may come as a third wave,” the CM wrote on Twitter in Hindi.
“My appeal to the Central government: 1. Air services with Singapore be cancelled with immediate effect 2. Priority on vaccine options should be worked out for children too,” he added.
The chief minister’s statement was, however, dismissed by the Singapore government, which said that the comments had “no truth whatsoever” and that there was no “Singapore variant”.
In its response, the Singapore government 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.”
“Phylogenetic testing has shown this B.1.617.2 variant to be associated with several clusters in Singapore,” it added.
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