For example China claims a large chunk of Indian Himalayan state as part of "southern Tibet," which is known as Arunachal Pradesh in India, which administers it, but China claims to not recognize Arunachal Pradesh.

If such a border dispute were to be resolved then what measures have to be deployed? What kind of historical proof both the nations have to provide? Does any international organization have the authority to make a nation comply to the end result of the border dispute negotiation?

What is the process through which historical claims could be verified, in the case if both nations accept the negotiations based on historical context of geography?

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    Negotiations depend on the good will of both sides. Historically, invasions, wars, threats or bargains have often been the way to deal with border disputes.
    – Evargalo
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 13:44
  • @Evargalo Well Invasions and War seems to be out of option because we are talking about two nuclear states with total amount of nuclear warheads exceeding 100 (unless you are ready and have your own private end-of-world nuclear bunker) . Is there any way to verify and prove historical claims ??
    – user17709
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 14:45
  • 2
    @AashishLoknathPanigrahi: China and India have officially adopted a no-first-use policy. A border dispute between the two nations, even if it escalated to war, would not escalate to nuclear war unless one of the two got really, really stupid.
    – cHao
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 15:57
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    As for historical claims, they're not exactly relevant to today. The entire southwest part of the US was once provably part of Mexico, and of the American Indian nations before that...but we're not about to hand it back. :P
    – cHao
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 16:07
  • from Devil's dictionary: GUNPOWDER, n. An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted. :-) Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


Basically, modern border disputes are resolved by making a treaty and hoping for the best. As can be seen in the current Israel-Palestine conflict, modern border disputes are often hard to resolve.

Historically, border disputes would often be solved by wars or coercion. Looking at Wikipedia's list of historical territory disputes, you can see that many territorial disputes involve war or bargaining, and looking at the (very incomplete)* list of border conflicts, you can see that historical border conflicts were larger and deadlier.

However, in the age of the United Nations and nuclear weapons, large wars over (relatively) small pieces of land, as well as large wars in general, are unlikely to happen. This is because Chapter VII of the UN's charter allows it to call upon its members(basically, the entire world) to use any means, including armed conflict if necessary, to ensure global peace in response to acts of aggression. Because of the this, large scale wars are mostly(with some exceptions) not a viable way to end a border conflict anymore.

There are certainly modern examples of modern border conflicts being resolved peacefully, both by the UN and independently by the relevant countries. In 2010 Burkina Faso and Niger submitted their border dispute to the UN's International Court of Justice, which resulted in a peaceful exchange of disputed land after the two countries agreed with the ruling. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement settled the status of Northern Ireland without the UN. However, these agreements don't always go well. In 1997 Russia and Ukraine signed the optimistically named Russia-Ukraine Friendship Treaty, which recognized the inviolability of existing Ukrainian borders. In 2014, Russia violated those borders.

In summary, because large scale war is mostly not viable because of UN agreements and nuclear weapons, both sides of a border dispute must submit the dispute to the UN and agree on the UN's rulings, or just create their own agreement. However, such an agreement relies on both sides following the terms of the agreement, and not just ignoring the agreement at a later date. There is no real way to force a country to follow an agreement short of economic coercion(sanctions, blockades) or war.

*Unrelated to the question, but when Wikipedia says 'you can help [this list] by expanding it', do they want you to find more examples or create more examples...

  • Border dispute doesn't strike me as the best way to describe the Israel-Palestine conflict. It arguably can be described that way, often is for better or worse, and probably is one such a conflict today, but let's not forget it's an extremely one-sided view of the conflict and its history. Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 19:24
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    While I agree large scale war between two major countries over small amounts of territory is unlikely, I think you are overstating the UN's role. UN peacekeepers have an okay record in regional conflicts, but I'm not sure why you think that with ~30% of the world's population in a shooting war, anyone else would get involved just because of the UN. The truth is both India and China have nuclear weapons, and that's why any war is too dangerous to risk over a small amount of territory.
    – Jesse
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 19:31
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    *Just to be safe, I'm going to help Wikipedia expand it's section by claiming part of Kazakhstan by force
    – wedstrom
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 19:36
  • @Jesse: I didn't mean to say that the UN's peacekeepers are the major reason for the UN's influence in preventing conflict. Rather, it's the fact that technically every UN member is in a defensive treaty with every other member, and that declaring war on any member would, in theory, lead to war with every member.
    – Giter
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 20:55
  • @DenisdeBernardy: I agree that the Israel-Palestine conflict is a very complex and historical issue, far beyond the scope of this question. I mostly used it to show how complex such issues might be: for example, after 70 years of conflict the status of half of a single city(East Jerusalem) hasn't been decided, let alone the entire border.
    – Giter
    Commented Mar 7, 2018 at 21:03

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