'Kachchativu Island'
  • Mobile Menu

Sign-Up IcanDon't Have an Account?



Login Icon

Have an Account?


By clicking on Register, you are agreeing to our Terms & Conditions.


'Kachchativu Island'

Tue 02 Apr, 2024


  • Recently ‘Kachchativu Island’ has been in the news as a political controversy. The Indian Prime Minister criticised the Congress Party for handing over Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka.

Key Points: Historical Perspective

  • Katchatheevu is a small island located in the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka, with an area of 285 acres.
  • It is located about 33 km northeast of Rameshwaram, India, and about 62 km southwest of Jaffna, the northernmost point of Sri Lanka.
  • Katchatheevu was historically under the control of the kings of Ramanathapuram in modern Tamil Nadu.
  • During the British period, the island was ruled by both India and Sri Lanka.
  • After India's independence in 1947, Sri Lanka claimed the island due to its strategic location.
  • Finally, in the year 1974, a maritime agreement was formed between India and Sri Lanka under which Katchatheevu Island was handed over to Sri Lanka.
  • This agreement resulted in a change in ownership of the area. Along with this, to maintain goodwill, Indian fishermen on this island were allowed to fish around the island and dry their nets there. Apart from this, Indian pilgrims were also allowed to visit the Catholic pilgrimage site located on the island.
  • Two years later, the delimitation of the International Maritime Boundary Line under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1976 terminated the 1974 agreement through which Indian fishermen were prohibited from engaging in the above activities on the island. The rights received were cancelled.

Problems related to Katchatheevu Island

  • Indian fishermen encroached upon Sri Lankan waters in search of better fish in the area.
  • Extinction of fish and aquatic life in the Indian continental shelf.
  • Wild use of modern trolleys for modern fishing.
  • Damage to marine life and ecosystem.
  • Continued arrests of Indian fishermen by Sri Lankan troops
  • Since 2009, Sri Lanka has enhanced maritime security around the Palk Strait to eliminate the possibility of Tamil insurgents returning to the country.

What is the status of the dispute regarding this island in India?

  • The 1974 agreement was not accepted by the governments of Tamil Nadu and from time to time they have been raising demands to reclaim the island from Sri Lanka.
  • In 1991, a resolution was moved by the Tamil Nadu Assembly against the agreement, demanding the island be reclaimed.
  • In 2008, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalitha, approached the Supreme Court against the Center and appealed to cancel the Katchatheevu agreements.
  • He had said that the two treaties between the countries that gifted Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka were unconstitutional. Apart from this, in the year 2011, Jayalalitha once again got the resolution passed in the Assembly.
  • In May 2022, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, at a function in the presence of PM Narendra Modi, demanded that the Katchatheevu island should be reclaimed by India.

Sri Lankan side

  • Over the past few years, Sri Lanka has asserted its claim to Katchatheevu while denying rights to Indian fishermen on the island.

Important Facts For Exam

Sri Lanka

  • Capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (Legislative) & Colombo (Executive and Judicial)
  • Largest city: Colombo
  • President: Ranil Wickramasinghe
  • Prime Minister:Dinesh Gunawardene

Latest Courses