Monday, May 3, 2010


Since the man has surpassed the hunter gatherer phase of evolution and has been

able to live as a society, one resource that has made him shed blood and call

wars is LAND. Time after time history has been written and rewritten with new

names and of course with new BORDERS.


"This land is your land and this land is my land, sure, but the world is run by

those that never listen to music anyway"

Lines above were once quoted by Bob Dylan, an American musician and poet.

Clearly the lines reflect for why there are wars and disputes over land and

borders in almost every second country or state of the world.

Modern World's Truth Of The Day: We Want Our Borders Our


The world is shrinking day by day with every new advancement in the modern

communication systems. But as the scene on the world diplomatic stage prevails, one will

seldom doubt for how literally this fact is taken by every nation. They are involved in

expanding their borders and claiming new territories from one another.

India and the neighbours

The recent detonation of a series of nuclear devices by India and Pakistan has increased

tension in South Asia and threatens to inflame longstanding

boundary disputes that India has

with China, Nepal, and Pakistan. The disputes with China and Pakistan have already

triggered several wars. The new Hindunationalist

government in New Delhi has reversed

movement toward détente with Beijing and Islamabad. The areas in contention with China

and Pakistan are among the largest landboundary

disputes in the world. The IndoNepali

dispute over Kalapani is more recent and involves a small area.


(Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh)In the 1962 SinoIndian

War, China seized a Switzerlandsized

area, Aksai Chin (Aksayqin), and overran Arunachal

Pradesh (an Indian state the size of Austria). There are also other, smaller pockets of disputed

area. The PRC withdrew from virtually all of Arunachal Pradesh to the Line of Actual

Control (LAC), which approximates the McMahon Line that is found in a 1914 agreement

initialed by British, Tibetan, and Chinese representatives. Chinese and Indian forces clashed

in the Sumdorong Chu valley of Arunachal Pradesh in 198687.

Relations began to thaw in



(3) of (8)

On 7 September 1993,

China and India signed

an accord to reduce

tensions along their

border and to respect the

LAC. During November

1996, China and India

agreed to delimit the

LAC and institute


measures (CBMs) along

the frontier. The

agreement pledged

nonaggression, prior

notification of large

troop movements, a 10km


zone for

combat aircraft, and

exchange of maps to

resolve disagreements

about the precise

location of the LAC. In

August 1997 the sides

ratified the CBM

agreement. There seems

to have been little

substantive progress,

except for a series of


visits. The

most recent, on 27 April,

was the first visit by a

PRC Chief of Staff to India. However, two weeks before the visit the new Indian Defense

Minister, George Fernandes, accused the PRC of repeated violations of Indian territory,

including the construction of a helipad on "Indian" territory in the disputed zone, and of

aiding Pakistan's nuclear and missile programs. On 3 May he publicly labeled China as

India's number one threat and alleged that the PRC was stockpiling nuclear weapons in Tibet,

expanding naval activity off the Burmese coast, and conducting surveillance against India

from Burma's Coco Islands. After the visit of General Fu Quanyou and PRC protests,

Fernandes said that his characterization of China as India's principal threat was a personal

view, but he went on to pledge that the number of Indian troops along the frontier with China

would not be reduced. Such a statement calls into question part of the agreed CBMs.

China and India have yet to address their fundamental and very large land boundary disputes.

Moreover, their bilateral relations are complicated by the issues of Tibet (Xizang), Sikkim,


(4) of (8)

and Kashmir. India plays host to the Dalai Lama and a large number of Tibetan refugees.

They present an implicit threat to Chinese control of Tibet, which it invaded in 1950. On its

maps, the PRC continues to portray Sikkim, which was absorbed by India in 1974, as an

independent country. In addition to the Aksai Chin, China and India dispute another section

of Kashmir (the area west of Aksai Chin).



When India and Pakistan

became independent of

Great Britain in 1947,

the various princely

states, including that of

Jammu and Kashmir,

could accede to either

country. An armed revolt

of Muslim peasantry

against the Maharaja of

Jammu and Kashmir

prompted the Maharaja

to accede to India in

order to gain military

aid. Pakistan objected

and the countries went to

war. The matter was

taken up by the UN

Security Council in

1948, which adopted a

resolution calling for the

restoration of order, the

withdrawal of Pakistani

forces and reduction of

Indian forces, and a UN

plebiscite. India and

Pakistan objected to various of these provisions. They went to war over Kashmir again in

1965. In 1971 India intervened in Pakistan's civil war that led to the independence of

Bangladesh. India and Pakistan came close to war over Kashmir in 1990.

UN observers monitor part of the IndoPakistani


line. The current line was

established by the 1972 Simla accord and approximately follows the 1949 Ceasefire


The coordinates of the Simla line have not been published, and the line was never delimited

in the forbidding Siachin Glacier, near the Chinese frontier, where India and Pakistan

frequently trade artillery rounds. Firing incidents and allegations of infiltration are chronic

along the entire ceasefire


The Indiancontrolled

part of Jammu and Kashmir became a state in 1974. The parts of


(5) of (8)

Kashmir controlled by Pakistan, Azad Kashmir and the Northern Areas, have anomalous

status as administered territories. In 1963 China and Pakistan delimited a boundary that India

claims illegally gave part of Kashmir to China. In 1987 a SinoPakistani

protocol formalized

demarcation of their boundary. The termination of this boundary at the Karakoram Pass on

the Chinese line of control suggests that Pakistan recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Aksai

Chin, which is part of the former Princely State of Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have held sporadic talks. In June 1997, they agreed to eight issues for

discussion, including the issue of Kashmir and their maritime boundary. Pakistan wants to


a separate task force on Kashmir; India has resisted the idea. Talks have made little

progress due to changes in the respective governments. The recent efforts by US Ambassador

Richardson to resolve the dispute seem to have been blown out of the water by Indian and

Pakistani nuclear tests.



The dispute between India and Nepal involves about 75 sq km of area in Kalapani, where

China, India, and Nepal meet. Indian forces occupied the area in 1962 after China and India

fought their border war. Three villages are located in the disputed zone: Kuti [Kuthi, 30°19'N,

80°46'E], Gunji, and Knabe. India and Nepal disagree about how to interpret the 1816

Sugauli treaty between the British East India Company and Nepal, which delimited the

boundary along the Maha Kali River (Sarda River in India). The dispute intensified in 1997

as the Nepali parliament considered a treaty on hydroelectric

development of the river. India

and Nepal differ as to which stream constitutes the source of the river. Nepal regards the

Limpiyadhura as the source; India claims the Lipu Lekh. Nepal has reportedly tabled an 1856

map from the British India Office to support its position. The countries have held several

meetings about the dispute and discussed jointly surveying to resolve the issue. Although the


dispute appears to be minor, it was aggravated in 1962 by tensions between

China and India. Because the disputed area lies near the SinoIndian

frontier, it gains strategic


Like most boundary dispute, those of India with its neighbors are symptomatic of wider

bilateral relations. Boundaries are manifestations of national identity. They can be tripwires

of war. Recent developments in South Asia suggest that peaceful resolution of these disputes

is receding from reach.

Border disputes round the world: A brief peep

There have been various conflicts, wars and negotiation over who gets what and when and

how much if one may say so in case of land. It is not that only India that has been on the

receiving end of the consequences arising due to such conflicts. Infact these issues have been

encountered by numerous countries time and again.


(6) of (8)


LIBYA claims about 19,400 sq km in northern NIGER and part of southeastern


and also has a maritime boundary dispute with TUNISIA.



BAHRAIN and QATAR: Territorial dispute over the Hawar Islands and maritime boundary

between BAHRAIN and QATAR. KUWAIT ownership of Qaruh and Umm al Maradim

islands is disputed by Saudi Arabia. IRAN occupies two islands in the Persian Gulf claimed

by the United Arab Emirates: Lesser Tunb (called Tunb as Sughra in Arabic by UAE and



Kuchek in Persian by Iran) and Greater Tunb (called Tunb al Kubra in

Arabic by UAE and Jazirehye


Bozorg in Persian by Iran); it jointly administers with

the UAE an island in the Persian Gulf claimed by the UAE (called Abu Musa in Arabic by

UAE and Jazirehye

Abu Musa in Persian by Iran)over

which Iran has taken steps to exert

unilateral control since 1992, including access restrictions and a military buildup

on the

island; the UAE has garnered significant diplomatic support in the region in protesting these

Iranian actions.

IRAN and IRAQ, after their eightyear

war, restored diplomatic relations in 1990 but are still

to settle disputes concerning border demarcation, freedom of navigation and sovereignty over

the Shatt al Arab waterway. (IRAQ also disputes over water development plans by Turkey

for the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.)


BOLIVIA has wanted a sovereign corridor to the South Pacific Ocean since the Atacama

area was lost to CHILE in 1884. There also is a dispute over Rio Lauca water rights. (Chile

has territorial claim in Antarctica, the Chilean Antarctic Territory, which partially overlaps

Argentine and British claims.)


Two sections of boundary of BRAZIL with URUGUAY are in dispute Arroio


(Arroyo de la Invernada) area of the Rio Quarai (Rio Cuareim) and the islands at the

confluence of the Rio Quarai and the Uruguay River.


CHINA considers TAIWAN as a renegade province. Chinese Nationalists retreated to the

island in 1949 after losing to the Communists in a mainland civil war. CHINA also disputes

two sections of the boundary with RUSSIA, a 33km

section of boundary with NORTH


(7) of (8)

KOREA in the Paektusan

(mountain) area, and a maritime boundary with VIETNAM in the

Gulf of Tonkin. Paracel Islands is occupied by China, but claimed by Vietnam and Taiwan.

China claims the Japaneseadministered


(Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai), as

does Taiwan.


NICARAGUA and COLOMBIA are disputing the Archipelago de San Andres y Providencia

and Quita Sueno Bank. VENEZUELA also has maritime boundary dispute with

COLOMBIA in the Gulf of Venezuela, and claims all of Guyana west of the Essequibo



CYPRUS:1974 hostilities divided the island into two de facto autonomous areas, a Greek

Cypriot area controlled by the internationally recognised Cypriot Government (59% of the

island's land area) and a TurkishCypriot

area (37% of the island), that are separated by a UN

buffer zone (4% of the island); there are two UK sovereign base areas within the Greek

Cypriot portion of the island. Turkey and Greece also have complex maritime, air and

territorial disputes in the Aegean Sea.


ESTONIA claims over 2,000 sq km territory in the Narva and Pechory regions of RUSSIA,

based on boundary established under the 1920 Peace Treaty of Tartu.

Based on the 1920 Treaty of Riga, LATVIA had claimed the Abrene/Pytalovo section of

border ceded by the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic to Russia in 1944. There also are

ongoing talks over a boundary dispute with LITHUANIA (primary concern is oil exploration



ETHIOPIA and SOMALIA: territorial dispute over the Ogaden, and Ethiopian troops have

crossed the border. Most of the southern half of the boundary with Somalia is a Provisional

Administrative Line. ETHIOPIA and ERITREA disputed ownership of the triangle of land in

Badme and although arbitration through The Hague brought a solution, the issue remains

sensitive between the two countries.


JAPAN claims the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and the Habomai group occupied

by the Soviet Union in 1945, now administered by RUSSIA.


(8) of (8)


Liancourt Rocks (Takeshima/Tokdo), administered by SOUTH KOREA, is claimed by

JAPAN. The Japaneseadministered


(Senkaku Islands/Diaoyu Tai) is claimed

by both CHINA and TAIWAN. The Paracel Islands are occupied by CHINA, but claimed by



Certain territories of MOLDAVIA and UKRAINE including

Bessarabia and Northern

Bukovina are

considered by Bucharest as historically a part of ROMANIA; this territory

was incorporated into the former Soviet Union following the MolotovRibbentrop

Pact in

1940. ROMANIA is also in disputes with UKRAINE over the continental shelf of the Black

Sea under which significant gas and oil deposits may exist; they agreed in 1997 to twoyear

negotiating period, after which either party can refer dispute to the International Court of



KYRGYZSTAN is in territorial dispute with TAJIKISTAN on the boundary in Isfara Valley

area. TAJIKISTAN also disputes most of the boundary with CHINA.


NORTHERN IRELAND: The 12th century saw the first involvement by England in Irish

affairs when the Earl of Pembroke, known as Strongbow, intervenes in a local dispute in

Leinster in 1170. King Henry II lands the following year. In the 16th century, first Henry

VIII and then Elizabeth I take an increasing interest in Ireland. Colonisation increases,

sparking off several rebellions late in the century. The first Northern Ireland Parliament

opens in 1921, and Ireland (making up the southern parts of the island) becomes a full

republic in 1949. The British government gives new constitutional guarantees to the Northern

Ireland Parliament at Stormont, but the conflict with the Irish Republican Army continues.

During the Easter of 1999, Ulster Unionists and the IRA signed the Good Friday Agreement

and in November they reached a constitutional agreement. However, after centuries Northern

Ireland remains part of the United Kingdom.



TAIWAN and VIETNAM. In 1984, BRUNEI established an exclusive fishing zone that

encompasses Louisa Reef in the southern Spratly Islands, but has not publicly claimed the

island. PHILIPPINES claims the MALAYSIAN state of Sabah.VIETNAM is in dispute with

CAMBODIA over offshore islands and sections of their boundary.

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