Cross Border Territorial Demarcation: implication for a peaceful world.

Cross Border Territorial Demarcation: implication for a peaceful world.

Author:- Monika Yadav


Since ancient times the states have been building walls around the borders of the state. A fence is the territorial boundary of a sovereign country and provides country sovereignty over a specified territory and its resources also it enshrines the responsibility for the sovereign state to protect its part from the external threat, for which it needs to have strong border security and to have a physical barrier over the borders of the country ensuring security to a greater extent to that nation. The different countries have different types of fences, and securing these different kinds of boundaries at all time makes it difficult tasks.

To make the administration simple and easy, there is a need for boundaries to exist and having a Suitable, stable and mutually agreed boundaries are the prerequisites of the peace between countries. Proper demarcation is, like all other human institutions, having great significance. International Boundaries are very important as they have both the Instrumental and symbolic functions, to mark the place on the ground where sovereignty ends of one state, and another begins to show the instrumental significance of a boundary. It shows that a state can exercise its legal right to have control over the movement of goods and people and a violation of its rights by any of the outside forces will amount to an invasion.

Borders not only crucial by their instrumental and symbolic significance but also provides an imperative approach among the collective minds of the citizens to envisage their nation as a limited, sovereign community of citizens to which they belong.2

The International boundaries are established in several ways, and these ways can be termed as treaty, Delimitation, Demarcation and Delineation where each word enshrines a different meaning than others. As a  purpose to maintain peace and security, the UN also focuses on strengthening the sovereign rights of the states over their territories and on maintaining that peace

  1. Alec Mc Ewen, 2002: The demarcation and maintenance of international boundaries, presented at a workshop held at the International Border Research Unit (IBRU) University of Durham, UK, 8-10 July 2002.

There are juridical instruments between two or more countries which enforces the delimitation and demarcation.

Various methods can make the boundaries, and that makes it imperative to know what these methods are:

  1. Delimitation: it is a legal process where two sovereign states establish a common boundary on a paper, map and describe it in writing.
  • Demarcation: it includes the boundaries which are made on the ground and are visible to all.
  • Delineation: It is the Graphical and mathematical representation of the boundary.

To avoid the conflicts the boundaries are needed to be done via treaties where both parties can negotiate and agree mutually, these boundary treaties are treaties, but are distinctive and represents a particular category of treaties. As the treaties generally bind state parties that have signed and ratified and do not constitute obligations over third states, but these boundary treaties also have a widespread effect within the international community.3 So the parties must agree on demarcation to avoid any future border disputes. The international court of justice4 in specific cases has also emphasized on the establishment of demarcation over the boundaries of the countries, and this has shown positive outcomes.5

Historically, walls were used to keep invaders out. The early Chinese states built what has become known as the Great Wall to protect themselves against the nomadic groups of the Steppes. Roman Emperor Hadrian constructed a wall across the British isle separating the Roman domain from troublesome northern tribes. Israel has employed several barriers along with the West Bank and Gaza, as well as along its northern and southern borders, to protect itself from terrorism, smuggling, illegal immigration and other threats.

  1. It prevents the invaders from entering into the territory.
  • It is essential to mention the sovereignty over a territory.
  • A.D. McNair, The Law of Treaties, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1961; Jan Klabbers, The Concept of Treaty in International Law, Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff 1996; Anthony Aust, Modern Treaty Law and Practice, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2007; Olivier Corten and Pierre Klein (eds.), Les Conventions de Vienne de 1969 et de 1986 Sur le Droit des Traités: Commentaire Article par Article, Brussels: Bruylant 2006.
  • Nicaragua v. Colombia, Costa Rica v. Nicaragua in the judgment of 16 July 2009.
  • To protect the resources of the state as most of the border disputes occurs for the protection of natural resources, e.g. Sudan and Egypt, have been combated for decades over the mineral manganese of the red sea.
  • It prevents the internal riots among the various religious groups, as there is an ongoing crisis among Hindu and Muslims over the Kashmir.
  • It would stop the routine misuse of borders for entry by people smuggling contraband, overstaying travel visas, using fraudulent documents, or stowing away.
  • It would prevent the physical movement of illegal migrants over the frontier.

There are ample of reasons, why states across the centuries have turned to demarcations as solutions to strategic quagmires. By the times the demarcations have proven notably effective for many reasons as in military parlance, demarcations are delaying obstacles. They can slow down the attacker and in best-case scenarios deter them from attacking in the first place by making an effort not worth the reward.

Although the demarcation of borders has many positive aspects but practically bringing the parties for demarcation on the same page is a difficult task and demarcations become difficult as there have always been territorial claims of states over the borders and the right of peoples to self-determination creates obligations in international law.

The process of International boundaries involves forces, and the mathematical precision of boundaries is of great importance it is done by many ways and involves numerous methods which are done by a whole range of scientific equipment and various technologies and best of them all them is Ariel surveillances. These demarcations affect the lives of the people, and they should be done in accordance with the convenience of people without troubling their lives.

There is no general rule and treaty under the purview of international law; instead, it’s a matter of the treaties between the disputing nations which are governed by the general principles of the International law. For example, the treaty of Pyrenees, 1975 which was a treaty between two kingdoms of Spain and France, Great Britain and Russia conclude a treaty in 1825 with position to the limits between Alaska and British America, In 1914 Simla Convention was signed between British India and Tibet resulted in McMahon Line which exists till the date, the Jason line in 1865 was made which brought Aksai Chin into Jammu and Kashmir.

There had been plenty of examples of disputes between the states over the boundaries where troops of one nation enter into another, and these are easy were the countries having no

Substantiate demarcations. Having proper demarcations marks clear sovereignty over the territory of particular theta nation. This is very important to have demarcations as it will not only entitle the power but also diminish the cross border disputes to a great extent.

As nations have been very solemn related to their territory and to prevent the major problems of the society like trafficking, loss of lives in cross border wars. The demarcations are established over many countries as the recent example is “The Wall” which is a 30ft tall wall has been constructed between Mexico and US by 45th US president Mr Donald Trump as many contemporary examples of border barriers are considered as significant. It is essential to have a physical barrier on the borders as it prevents the illegal border crossings, and also it provides security, but it has not been very much implemented all over the world. As there are a number of benefits of having physical barriers on the borders but the physical establishments of the walls faces a lot of issues and challenges.

Many issues can be drop off, and many conflicts can be avoided if the countries have demarcations as they play a crucial role in protecting the citizens and resources of the states also resolves the boundary problems and therefore no proper demarcation results in various losses to the countries such as human resource as many armed forces die because of cross border firings and disputes, loss of natural resources, national riots between various religious groups and which give agenda to the political parties ultimately resulting into the chaos among the citizens of that country, terrorism, invaders and many more other problems.


  • Law, treaties and conventions on demarcations of borders.
  • Reports of various international and national organizations,

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