The Iturup island is the largest and northernmost island in Russia’s southern Kuril Islands. The Kuril Islands are located in Northern Pacific Ocean near the Kamchatka gulf. While the mainland of Russia lies to the west of the Kuril Islands, the islands of Japan lie to the South of them.
Both Russia and Japan claim these islands but they are controlled by Russia.
What is the history of the island?
- Historically, The Southern Kuril Islands were a part of Japan.
- However, after the Japanese defeat in the Second World War, in 1945 the Soviet Union took control of the entire Kuril islands and displaced most Japanese residents.
- The islands are still claimed by Japan.
- A former peace treaty between the two nations has not been signed since the end of the 2nd World War over this territorial row.
- Russia has heavily fortified the islands and has based considerable military assets in the region.
Why are they in the news?
The Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited an island which is claimed by both Japan and Russia. This was criticized by the Japanese authorities who have urged Russia to take positive steps to end this dispute.
Connection to India
The Kuril Islands are located near the hydrocarbon-rich Sakhalin Islands are a prime target of ONGC Videsh Limited which seeks to develop and produce from hydrocarbon assets located overseas.