The Indian government said today that Singapore summoned the Indian ambassador and expressed its "strong objection" to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's tweet about a "Singapore variant," adding that the envoy told them Kejriwal "had no competence" on Covid variants.
Foreign Minister S Jaishankar tweeted, "The Delhi Chief Minister does not speak for India," reports NDTV.
The foreign minister appreciated Singapore's role as a logistics hub and oxygen supplier said, "Singapore and India have been solid partners in the fight against Covid-19."
"Their gesture of deploying military aircraft to help us speaks of our exceptional relationship. 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," the Foreign Minister tweeted.
Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan then replied to Mr Jaishankar:
Around the same time, the government also put out a statement about reassuring Singapore after Mr Kejriwal's comments.
"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.
Yesterday, Mr Kejriwal had urged the government to "cancel air services" with Singapore on account of what he called "a new form of corona that came to Singapore" and was extremely dangerous for children.
"The new form of Corona that came to Singapore is 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. Vaccine options should be worked out for children too," Mr Kejriwal had said in a Hindi tweet.
Hours later, Singapore put out a strong rebuttal and said it was the India-dominant strain that had been detected in most recent cases in the country.
"There is no truth in the assertion that there is a new Covid strain in Singapore. Phylogenetic testing has shown that the B.1.617.2 variant is the prevalent strain in many of the Covid cases, including in children, in recent weeks in Singapore," the Singapore High Commission in India tweeted.
Earlier today, Singapore's Foreign Minister said "Politicians should stick to facts. There is no 'Singapore variant'", in a sharp reaction to Arvind Kejriwal's tweet yesterday.
Union Aviation Minister Hardeep Puri also posted a dig at the Delhi Chief Minister, reminding him that international passenger flights to and from India are suspended.
The highly contagious B.1.617 variant was first detected in India and has now been found in several nations. It is said to have driven the second wave in the country.
Scientists and doctors have talked about a possible third wave that is likely to target children.