Prevailing territorial conflicts around the world demonstrate how hard territorial claims of the states are to be managed. Historically speaking, territorial disputes have been a crucial cause of war.
territorial conflicts in large numbers were experienced by China in the 19th
century which were laid by regional powers particularly by Russia against
China. Similarly, issues of Alsace-Lorraine, Kashmir, the Golan Heights, the
Beagle Channel and the Nagorno-Karabakh are the notable ones. In this context, territorial
issues in African countries also matter, historical precedents include a
controversial claim of Togo against Ghana and Badme territory which was claimed
by both Ethiopia and Eritrea.
contemporary world, issues of such nature occur when official representatives
of a country claim a territory mostly sharing a border with their land, which
is often claimed or administered by the other country. As per data from Issue
Correlates of War (ICOW) which shows that around 800 territorial disputes have
been identified from the year 1816 until this day. Territorial conflicts have
encouraged militarized conflicts between states than diplomatic disputes,
nevertheless, these conflicts also create issues for one another which include
maritime, river and economic issues. Most of the wars fought regionally due to
the territorial issues between states, particularly the states who share
borders. In this scenario, a conflictual situation takes birth when there is a
disagreement between the official representatives of countries over a piece of
case of South Asia, India and China have launched their security and foreign
policy discourse in 2005. Their dialogue was based on territorial issues and
regional nuclear proliferation. India blames China for transferring missiles to
Pakistan, throughout this region, Kashmir territory is the shared issue between
three regional powers. This part of the world is heavily militarized. Yet, in
2020, there were skirmishes between China and India on the militarized
boundaries, which is still underway and causing huge threats to world peace.
the existing case of Nagorno-Karabakh, the dispute between Armenia and
Azerbaijan. Tracing back the roots of the conflict, literature shows that the
South Caucasus countries’ issue emerged three years before the downfall of the
Soviet Union when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan in 1988.
This led both countries to war and Armenians occupied almost 20 percent of
Azerbaijan’s territory which included Nagorno-Karabakh and its surroundings.
The ceasefire agreement was brought in 1994 followed through peace talks. As
per UN Security Council resolutions Armenian forces were asked to withdraw
their forces from the occupied territories including Nagorno-Karabakh, which
seemed failed to be fulfilled by Armenia. Despite the peace agreement brokered
by the Russia, US, France and other major powers, yet both neighbouring
countries continue their fight to take control of territories including
Nagorno-Karabakh. In April 2016, an escalation of tensions between the
Azerbaijani military and the ethnic Armenians resulted in huge loss of lives
and infrastructure damage on both sides. Similarly, in September 2020, both countries
started their fight over the claimed territories, which went on for weeks.
Although, the world is fighting against the pandemic, in this paradigm, war is
its own disease.
ongoing war between Armenia and Azerbaijan was supported by several powers
diplomatically, this help was from their close allies by offering full support
in terms of military etc. Luckily current conflict of the Nagorno-Karabakh
reached a ceasefire, which has once again been brokered by Russia with the help
of other powers. This gives a hope that at least major powers involve
themselves in the peace process, however, this temporary settlement can calm
down the war situation, but on the other corner, issue is still there, the
Nagorno-Karabakh time bomb will keep ticking.
has become inconceivable to violate the state borders in modern days, for the
emergence of the norm of territorial integrity. While it is really alarming for
global peace when countries take steps over territorial claims. Theoretically,
territorial conflicts can be resolved through proper channels involving
peaceful conflict management process which include negotiations and
adjudication with the help of international courts. This method of solving
territorial conflicts will not only promote democratization but also will
result in stability of borders shared with neighboring countries in the long
Hussain Magsi: MS in International Relations, from Jilin University, China. I
am a content creator, freelancer, and write op-ed for national and
international newspapers. I can be reached at email@example.com