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Controversy Surrounding Katchatheevu Island

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Welcome to the realm of geopolitical disputes and historical complexities as we delve into the intriguing case of Katchatheevu Island. Situated in the waters between Neduntheevu, Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, India, this uninhabited island has been at the center of a long-standing disagreement between the two nations.

Historical Context

The history of Katchatheevu dates back to the era of colonial rule, with the British Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) controlling the island since 1921. However, its ownership and jurisdiction have been a matter of contention, especially concerning its traditional use by Sri Lankan Tamil and Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime Agreements

The turning point in this saga came in 1974 when then Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi, acknowledged Sri Lanka's sovereignty over Katchatheevu under the "Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime agreement." This move aimed to settle maritime boundary disputes in the Palk Strait region, leading to subsequent agreements restricting fishermen from both countries from venturing into each other's exclusive economic zones.

Legal and Political Challenges

Despite these agreements, debates over the legality of the transfer persisted, with some voices in India questioning the ratification process. The matter reached the Indian Supreme Court, highlighting the complexities and sensitivities surrounding territorial claims and sovereignty issues.

Cultural and Religious Significance

Apart from its geopolitical significance, Katchatheevu holds cultural and religious importance, notably with the presence of St. Anthony's Shrine. This Catholic shrine, dedicated to St. Antony of Padua, serves as a symbol of unity and devotion for Christians from both India and Sri Lanka.

Ongoing Concerns

The unresolved status of Katchatheevu continues to pose challenges, particularly regarding illegal fishing activities and tensions arising from maritime enforcement actions. Efforts to address these issues have seen interventions from political leaders and legal bodies, reflecting the multifaceted nature of this longstanding dispute.


In conclusion, the case of Katchatheevu Island serves as a microcosm of broader geopolitical complexities, legal intricacies, and cultural nuances. As discussions and dialogues persist, it underscores the importance of peaceful resolutions, diplomatic engagements, and mutual understanding between neighboring nations. Stay informed about such critical topics and enhance your understanding of global affairs with the best IAS coaching in Delhi, offering comprehensive insights into contemporary issues shaping our world. Join us at SHRI RAM IAS, the best UPSC coaching in Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi, and embark on a journey of knowledge and excellence in civil services preparation.

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