Iyer’s “World Conflicts” – 2


The Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean located 300 km away from the coast of South America. The territory has been the center of dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina. The British claim to de jure sovereignty dates from 1690, and the United Kingdom has exercised de facto sovereignty over the archipelago almost constantly since 1833. Argentina has long disputed this claim, having been in control of the islands for a brief period prior to 1833. The dispute escalated in 1982, when Argentina invaded the islands, precipitating the Falklands War.

Contemporary Falkland Islanders consider themselves to be British. They gained full British citizenship with the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act 1983, after the Falklands War. Argentina argues that the islanders do not have the right to self-determination, arguing that they are not aboriginal and were brought to replace the Argentine population that Argentina claims was expelled after the re-establishment of British rule in 1833. The United Nations have called on both countries to begin dialogue over the sovereignty claim.

Falkland War

It was the largest armed conflict over the sovereignity of the lands, Argentina was in the midst of a devastating economic crisis and large-scale civil unrest against the repressive military junta that was governing the country. On 2 April, with Admiral Jorge Anaya, the Argentine Navy commander-in-chief at the time, as the main architect and supporter of the operation, a combined Argentine amphibious force invaded the Islands. Immediately, the UK severed diplomatic ties with Argentina, began to assemble a task force to retake the Islands and a diplomatic offensive began to gain support for economic and military sanctions. The UNSC issued Resolution 502 calling on Argentina to withdraw forces from the Islands and to both parties to seek a diplomatic solution. This solution was rejected by the argentines; The British Task Force began offensive action against Argentina on 23 April 1982 and recaptured South Georgia following a short naval engagement. The operation to recover the Falkland Islands began 1 May and after fierce naval and air engagements an amphibious landing was made at San Carlos Bay on 21 May. On 14 June the Argentine forces surrendered and control of the islands returned to the UK.


Argentine claims: sovereignty of the islands was transferred to Argentina from Spain upon independence and the British return in 1833 was illegal under the international law. It further says self-determination principles are not applicable since the current inhabitants are not aboriginal and was brought to replace the Argentine population expelled by the British invasion of 1833.

UK claims: The British were the first to claim the islands in 1690 and have never renounced that claim and the island has been constantly under the control of UK since 1833 except for 2 months when it was invaded by Argentina. It further says, Argentina’s attempts to colonize the islands in 1820-33 were “sporadic and ineffectual”. Lastly , UN General Assembly resolutions calling for negotiations “are flawed because they make no reference to the Islanders’ right to choose their own future.”


  1. @ Iyer – Romba nandri =) =P

    But what exactly does the UN mean by ‘diplomatic solution’ ?And, have these calls for ‘peaceful talks’, urged by the UN, ever resolved any dispute of a similar nature in the past?

  2. Oh the same stuff – ceasefire of all animosities, sitting on the table, coming to a compromise, etc

    Yes, the call for ‘peaceful talks’ have been successful in solving a lot of conflicts, but they were always of a very small scale.

  3. Precisely…So these are irrelevant measures…And it will be a miracle if any of these disputes (including the Kasmir dispute) EVER get resolved!

  4. Let me put it this way – conflicts are resolved only when both the parties are genuinely ready to compromise. It has never been “my way or the high way” – unless we are talking about referendums based on what the majority wants.

    Let’s take the Kashmir example, the fact that India refuses to budge from the dogmatic stand of the territory being an “integral part of the country” and the corresponding attitudes of rabid morons like Shah Ali Geelani help little – of course, then, we also have our neighbor – changing stands faster than we say “peace”.

    SUSTAINED dialog, comprehensive plebiscites of all communities involved and a workable compromise should be the way to go forward. If you are interested – have a look at how the Russian Federation works (on paper) or even the status of Hong Kong – flexibility is to be shown.

    Look at the Belfast Agreement, the Hillsborough Agreement, etc

    Peace is always a compromise. You can’t be Ayn Rand and Mandela – both at the same time.

  5. Thank you so much, Aymen….I googled all of those agreements,and a great degree of compromise and flexibility is to be seen…But again, the UN barely had any role to play! And, Kashmir IS an integral part of India!
    P.S Did you use some other source,apart from ‘wikipedia’ to read up on the Belfast and Hillsborough agreement?If yes,could you send me the link too?

  6. The UN did not, in most compromises, because the powers that be, they didn’t want it. I think the UN has played an amazing role in Lebanon where it has brought temporary – but long lasting relief for many civilians. It ensured Israel’s withdrawal twice until now, special forces ensure neutrality and better border management (UNFIL).

    The thing about it all is just this – the moment you are saying that Kashmir IS an integral part of India, you are denying Kashmir its voice. History says otherwise, we refuse to recognize Kashmir’s fiercely independent, heterogeneous past. For India, the land seems to be more important than the people – the people, we have ignored. An integral part of the country doesn’t require Armies to rape, kill and torture its “integral” citizens. The idea of India, as we’d call it – is much more complicated than just that.

    I am not supporting Kashmiri independence, I fear for the Kashmiris more than anyone else. But I don’t like this attitude in Indian debate that always says “my way, or the high way”. Like Omar Abdulla said “Kashmir acceded to India, but never merged”. Lessons need to be learnt, to become an integral part of anything, the path is NEVER through election rigging and bullets – it is always with listening, understanding and the opening up of hearts. Go to the GK Doses section, I’ve recently added a brilliant article by Nivedita Menon – go through it, it’ll do you a lot of good, especially the section that deals with Kashmir.

    I hardly Wiki. Use the BBC more often. Also, Wikipedia footnotes, use the links mentioned therein – very interesting and very helpful.

  7. I can see just one article by Nivedita Menon ( A mighty good article ),but it has nothing to do with Kashmir…! Oh yes, I shall, henceforth resort to using BBC for information =) And thank you for the GK doses section…I barely paid any attention to it until sometime back….But I reckon, I’m going to be using it very often now =)

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