India has many disputed territories. A territorial conflict is a conflict over the control of the region among two or more nations. It can be over the possession of a particular region by a new nation. The force upon seizing land from an old nation, that no longer accepts its right.
India and China
In the western area, India shares about a 2152 km long border with China. This is between the Union Territory of Ladakh and Xinjiang Province of China. A land dispute over Aksai Chin occurs in this area. India claims to be part of the former Kashmir, while China claims to be part of Xinjiang.
The conflict over Aksai Chin is the result of the vagueness by the British Empire. It was their inability to define a legitimate boundary among both China as well as its Indian colony. There was a proposal of two national boundaries Johnson ‘s Line and McDonald Line. The Johnson ‘s line(1865) shows Aksai Chin in former Jammu and Kashmir (now Ladakh) i.e. under India ‘s control.
McDonald Line (proposed in 1893) establishes this under China ‘s control. Johnson Line is the legitimate national border that India shares with China. While China sees the McDonald Line as the right border to India. The Line of Actual Control separates Ladakh (Indian areas) and Aksai Chin Indian Areas. It is concurrent with the disputed line of the Chinese Aksai Chin.
On the eastern side, the country shares a 1,140 km long border with China. It passes from Bhutan’s eastern limit to a site near Talu Pass at Tibet, India, and Myanmar tri-junction. This line of boundaries is the McMahon Line. The Shimla Convention 1914 outlined the McMahon line on the map. This was further accepted by the Tibetan officials. Thereby, China claims the McMahon Line to be unlawful and unacceptable.
India and Pakistan
Pakistan has almost occupied 78,000 sq.Km of Jammu and Kashmir in an illegal manner. Pakistan occupied J&K actually belonged to the Indian Territory. Besides this, Pakistan also ceded 5,180 sq km to China. This happened under the so-called Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement of 1963.
Siachen Glacier is in the eastern Karakorams of the Himalayas. It is at the east of the Actual Ground Position Line between both the countries. The complete Siachen Glacier is under Indian administration since 1984. It also includes all the major passes. This was possible because of Operation Meghdoot conducted in 1984.
The mountainous region of the Saltoro mountain ranges is a subrange. This is of either the Karakoram Heights or the Saltoro Ridge. They are on the southwest side of the Siachen Glacier. This is in the core of the Karakoram. According to India, they are the part of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. Whereas, according to Pakistan, they are part of Gilgit-Baltistan.
In 1984, India took military control of both the major peaks and range passes. Sir Creek is a disputed 96 km long strip of water. It is in the Rann of Kutch marshlands between India and Pakistan.
Pakistan asserts that the line to follow the estuary’s eastern shore belongs to them. While India asserts that the centerline belongs to them. India claims the centerline. Although the centerline is different from the definitions.
The definitions were in paragraphs 9 and 10 of the 1914 Bombay Government Resolution. This resolution was between the then Sindh Government and Rao Maharaj of Kutch. The international border between the two is not demarcated in the Sir Creek area and of the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL).
India and Nepal
Kalapani is a valley which India administers as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district. It is on route Kailash Mansarovar. India ‘s recent political map affirmed Indian claims about the region. The region which Nepal asserts belongs to its westernmost part. Indian government declared Uttarakhand as part of the historic area. In the Kalapani area, the Kali River defines the boundary between India and Nepal. The Kingdom of Nepal and British India signed the Sugauli Treaty in 1816. It placed the Kali River as the western frontier of Nepal with India. The conflict about the origin of this river led to conflicts between these countries.
Each nation created its own maps promoting its own argument. Susta region is among the disputed lands between India (Uttar Pradesh) and Nepal. Susta lies on the bank of the Gandak River (in Nepal called the Narayani River). The Gandak river’s change in direction is the primary factor for conflicts within the Susta area.
India and Sri Lanka
India and Sri Lanka have a border to the sea. Between both the nations exists a 30-km long deep channel, the Palk Strait. Though peace has resided, when it comes to the Indo-Sri Lankan border problem. There have been conflicts over who owned Kachchatheevu Island in the Palk Strait. In 1974, India gave it to Sri Lanka.
India and Bangladesh
There have been some major conflicts between India and Bangladesh. The implementation of the landmark “Land Boundary Agreement” helped in fixing these conflicts. This lead to the approval of the Land Boundary Agreement 1974 and its 2011 Protocol. This took place during the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh in June 2015. The implementation of the Agreement and framework has resolved the conflicts.
Ways to resolve the conflict
Article 33 of the Charter of the United Nations says that the parties to any dispute need to seek the solution. Parties mean nations susceptible to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.
For resolving the dispute countries can opt for –
- Judicial settlement;
- Or by recourse to regional agencies, arrangements or other peaceful means.
Thus it is necessary for a country to make legal opinions. The explanation of the opinions needs to be lucid and compelling at the same time.
One should not be way too optimistic about the influence of international law. Especially in the monitoring of conflicts between the nations. There are certain restrictions to international law, according to several legal scholars. Those regulations are tools that Countries use to pursue their interests. In other terms, countries are rational actors. They’re using international norms whenever the law protects their country’s interests. And if the law harms their national interests they will disregard the same.
India needs to plan about its neighboring countries, particularly China and Pakistan. India’s unresolved boundaries cause big difficulties. China is setting irrational claims on regions. The regions that already been a part of India. It is not workable for India to follow the frontier with China. There needs to be more productive diplomatic involvement between the two nations. So, that they can mitigate their border disputes, which have lasted for decades. As for Pakistan, the two nations must come to the negotiating table. So as the countries can analyze their critical issues. Pakistan should call for an end to any form of support for terrorism and its “Proxy War” against India. So that it can bring India on the board to address border disputes.
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