Katchatheevu Island Dispute Explained

The controversy over India “ceding” the island of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1974 has been escalated in recent days again.

Katchatheevu is a barren islet about 14 nautical miles off Rameswaram in Ramanathapuram district of Tamil Nadu.

Through the 1974 Indo-Lanka Maritime Boundary Agreement, the Katchatheevu Island was ceded to Sri Lanka by the Indian government.

Despite the agreements, there is no well-defined maritime boundary between the two countries, leading to Indian fishermen trespassing into Sri Lankan waters in search of a better catch.

Since 2009, the Sri Lankan navy has increased surveillance of its northern maritime boundary to prevent the resurgence of Tamil insurgents, leading to a rise in arrests of Indian fishermen as a secondary outcome.