The Katchatheevu Island Dispute: A Comprehensive Overview

The Katchatheevu island controversy: A Comprehensive Overview - An image representing the historical background, controversies, and recent developments of the Katchatheevu Island Dispute between India and Sri Lanka
The Katchatheevu Island Dispute: A Comprehensive Overview

Katchatheevu, an uninhabited island situated in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka, has long been a contentious issue between the two nations. This article delves into the historical context, controversies, and recent developments surrounding the dispute over the island.

Historical Background

Historically, Katchatheevu was under the control of the Kings of Ramanathapuram in modern Tamil Nadu. During British colonial rule, the island was jointly administered by India and Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). However, after India's independence in 1947, Sri Lanka claimed the island due to its strategic location.

Transfer to Sri Lanka

In 1974, then-Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed an agreement with Sri Lanka, ceding Katchatheevu to the island nation. This move, undertaken without consultation with the Indian people or parliament, was seen as an effort to secure Sri Lanka's support, particularly as it was set to host the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit in 1976.

Controversies and Issues

The transfer of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka has led to several problems for Indian fishermen. While the 1974 agreement initially allowed Indian fishermen to dry their nets and use the island's church for religious observances, the 1976 delimitation of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) effectively revoked these rights, causing tensions.

Legal Challenges and Sri Lanka's Stance

In India, the cession of Katchatheevu is considered illegal as it was not ratified by the Indian Parliament. However, Sri Lanka maintains its claim over the island, denying Indian fishermen access and asserting that the Indian court cannot nullify the 1974 agreement.

Recent Developments and Way Forward

In March 2024, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticized the Congress party for ceding Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1974. Modi's remarks highlighted the need for a diplomatic resolution to the dispute, emphasizing the importance of dialogue between India and Sri Lanka to ensure the rights and well-being of affected communities on both sides.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post