Gilgit Baltistan Issue
Gilgit Baltistan (GB) region
- After Kashmir’s invasion by tribal militias and Pakistan army – Since November 4, 1947, it has been under Pakistan’s control.
- Renamed – ‘Northern Areas of Pakistan’
- Karachi Agreement, 1949 – under the direct control of the Pakistan federal government.
- GB Empowerment and Self-Governance Order in 2009 – ‘Northern Areas’ were known as Gilgit-Baltistan.
- Gilgit Baltistan Order, 2018 – replaced 2009 order
- Aim: to incorporate GB as its fifth province & to integrate GB with the federal structure of Pakistan by legislative, judicial, and administrative measures.
- Only limited fundamental rights are granted to people of GB
- No constitutional status is granted to the GB region.
- Other four provinces of Pakistan – Baluchistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, and Sindh.
- “Integral part of India” – entire Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, including areas of Gilgit and Baltistan.
- China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through GB.
- Siachen Glacier – located in GB.
- An accord between China and Pakistan signed – to construct the Diamer-Basher Dam in the Gilgit-Baltistan region on the river Indus.
Indo Nepal Territorial Dispute
- Nepal unveiled a new political map.
Indo-Nepal Territorial Dispute
- India and Nepal issue – border dispute over the regions, Kalapani, Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura (all three in Uttarakhand), and Susta (Bihar).
- Kalapani – largest territorial dispute between Nepal and India.
- Tri-junction between India, China, and Nepal.
- Susta (Bihar) – located on the banks of River Gandak.
- 1816 Treaty of Sugauli – according to Nepal, the only authentic document on boundary delineation.
- Nepal lost Sikkim, Kumaon, Garhwal, and the Western Terai area.
- Gandak: the international boundary between India and Nepal.
- Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh, and Kalapani: east of the river Kali.
- Indian views – border begins at Kalapani where the river begins.
- Kali originates in springs below the Lipulekh pass
- Sugauli treaty does not demarcate the area north of these streams.
- 19th-century Administrative and revenue records – Kalapani was on the Indian side, and part of the Pithoragarh district (Uttarakhand).
- China in 2015 – recognized India’s sovereignty; agreed to expand trade through Lipulekh pass.
India Nepal Border
- India and Nepal – open border (Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950) running along with West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Sikkim.
- “open border” – free and unrestricted movement of people from either side.
India China Border Dispute
India-China Border Dispute
- Border not clearly demarcated and no mutually agreed Line of Actual Control (LAC).
- LAC – demarcation separating Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory.
- India considers LAC to be 3,488 km long.
LAC is divided into three sectors – Western, Middle, and Eastern.
- Western Sector (Ladakh) boundary dispute – Johnson Line proposed by the British in the 1860s that extended up to the Kunlun Mountains and put Aksai Chin in the then princely state of Jammu & Kashmir.
- India used the Johnson Line and claimed Aksai Chin
- China does not recognize it and accepts McDonald Line
- Middle Sector (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand) – alignment to be followed in the Barohoti plains.
- India and China have exchanged maps on which they agree.
- Eastern Sector (Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim) – McMohan Line (in Arunachal Pradesh) decided in 1914 in a meeting of China, India, and Tibet in Shimla.
- China refused to accept it.
- Tawang tract claimed by China was taken over by India in 1951.
Other related facts
- Pangong Tso lake (Ladakh) is the world’s highest saltwater lake.
- LAC between India-China passes through the lake.
Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
- BRI is a “belt” of overland routes and a maritime “road”
- Aim – to connect Asia, Europe, and Africa by networks of roadways, railways, ports, power grids, oil & gas pipelines, infrastructure projects, etc.
- To improve regional integration and increasing trade & economic growth.
- India has boycotted BRI, as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passes through Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.
- Bhutan is the only country in India’s neighborhood that has not joined the BRI.
Trans-Boundary River Water Management
News: A new study highlighted the impact of China’s dams on the Mekong River has raised questions on dams being built on Brahmaputra that originate in China.
- Brahmaputra rises from Chemayungdung glacier.
River Water Cooperation between India and neighboring countries
- Indus Water Treaty (1960): cooperation between India and Pakistan providing mechanisms to resolve disputes.
- Indo-Bangladesh Joint Rivers Commission (JRC): set up in 1972 by the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Peace.
- Ganga Treaty between India and Bangladesh, 1996: to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage near their mutual border.
- India and Nepal: Koshi Agreement (1954), Gandak Agreement (1959), Tanakpur Barrage Agreement (1991), and Mahakali Treaty 1996 were signed.
- India-Bhutan agreements: collaboration for the construction of Chuka Dam on Wangchu River.
- India does not have a water-sharing agreement with China.
- India-China Water Data Sharing: In 2006, a pact was signed, according to the pact, from May 15 to October 15 every year, China would share hydrological data for Brahmaputra and Sutlej rivers.
Some international treaties and best practices
- Berlin Rules on Water Resources: the result of the revision of the Helsinki Rules and other International Law Association rules on uses of international water resources.
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses, 1997.
- Treaty for Amazon Co-operation in 1978: signed for equitable sharing in South America between Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.
- Mekong River Commission: signed by Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
- COVID-19 Emergency Fund proposed by India – based on voluntary contributions from SAARC nations.
- SAARC Disaster Management Center (located in Gandhinagar, India) suggested being used to identify and popularize best practices.
- India offered to share India’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Portal Software.
- India proposed to create a common Research Platform.
- India proposed the SAARC health e-platform – a shared electronic platform for SAARC nations to share and exchange information, knowledge, expertise, and best practices for jointly combating the coronavirus epidemic.
Indian Ocean Commission
- The intergovernmental organization created by the Port-Louis Declaration in 1982.
- It was institutionalized in 1984 by the General Agreement for Cooperation (Victoria Agreement).
- Mandate – To strengthen the ties and to support its member states in the path towards sustainable development.
- IOC is the only regional organization in Africa composed exclusively of islands: Comoros, Reunion, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles
- Observer members – India, China, European Union, Malta, an International organization of Francophonie, Japan, United Nations.
- News: India has become an observer of the Indian Ocean Commission.
The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS)
- IONS: voluntary initiative
- Aim: to increase maritime co-operation among navies of the littoral states of the Indian Ocean Region.
- Provide an open and inclusive forum for discussion of regionally relevant maritime issues.
- Total members: 24 (including India) and 8 observers.
- Promote dialogue on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime security, and information sharing & interoperability.
Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR)
- SAGAR: a phrase coined by Indian Prime Minister in 2015 during his Mauritius visit.
- It involves enhancing capacities to safeguard land and maritime territories & interests.