Katchatheevu Island row : Know the details

The Katchatheevu Island row has resurfaced, sparking controversy and debate.

  1. Background:
    • Katchatheevu Island is a disputed area situated in the Palk Strait, between India and Sri Lanka.
    • In 1974, the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government ceded Katchatheevu Island to Sri Lanka through an agreement.
    • The island covers 1.9 square kilometers and lies approximately 20 kilometers from the Indian shore.
    • It is located in the middle of the ocean, equidistant from both countries, and is about 33 kilometers away from the Indian coast.
    • The island hosts a single structure: a church named St. Anthony, built by the British in the 20th century. Pastors from both India and Sri Lanka oversee its administration.
  2. Historical Context:
    • Katchatheevu Island emerged from a volcanic eruption in the 14th century.
    • It was initially occupied by the Jaffna Kingdom of Sri Lanka during the medieval period.
    • Later, control shifted to the Ramnad Zamindari in the 17th century.
    • Due to its abundant fish resources, both India and Sri Lanka claimed the island to regulate fishing activities in 1921.
    • A survey declared Katchatheevu as part of Sri Lanka, but India continued to assert its ownership.
  3. The Controversial Agreement:
    • In 1974, under the Indo-Sri Lankan Maritime Agreement, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi accepted Katchatheevu as Sri Lankan territory.
    • The move aimed to strengthen India’s relations with Sri Lanka.
    • However, this decision has remained contentious, with recent political discussions reigniting the debate.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has criticized the Congress for giving away Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka.
    • The DMK government in Tamil Nadu consistently urges for the island’s return to India.

What is the name of disputed Island situated in the Palk Strait, between India and Sri Lanka?

A) Andaman Islands
B) Katchatheevu Island
C) Lakshadweep
D) Maldives

Answer: B) Katchatheevu Island

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