History: Republic of former Yugoslavia, Bosnia-Herzegovina is traditionally known as the powder keg of the Balkans, with its explosive ethnic mix of three groups (Muslim Slav-43%; Serbs-31%; Croats-17%; other-9% .) and its three religions (Muslims-40%, Catholics-15% and Orthodox-31%)
The country was settled by Slavs in the 7th century. Bosnia was conquered by Turks in 1463. At the congress of Berlin (1878), the territory was assigned to Austria-Hungarian administration under nominal Turkish suzerainty. Austria-Hungary's outright annexation in 1908 generated international tensions which contributed to the outbreak of World War I.
Croats and Muslims voted for the independence in Oct.1991. a referendum for independence was passed in Feb,1992. A 'Serb republic' was formed in the predominantly Serb-populated Bosnian territories. Serbs' opposition to the referendum spurred violent clashes. In April, independence of the republic was recognised by the U.S. and E.U. Fierce fighting continued. Serbs massacred thousands of Bosnian civilians. By mid-'94 three fourth of Bosnia came under Serb control.
Peace talks were held but Serb-Muslim-Croat fighting continued. In'93, negotiations resumed to partition Bosnia. In July an ineffective ceasefire was in force. A peace plan authored by USA, UK, France, Germany and Russia was under consideration. NATO launched a series of massive air raids on Serbian positions and Sarajevo and in Serb-held Bosnian territory in August,'95 after the shelling of Sarajevo market by Serb gunmen.
In Sept., '95, Bosnia's warring sides decided to put an end to the three and half -year-old war by cutting the nation into two parts: one for rebel Serbs and the other for Muslims and the Croats. In Oct., a ceasefire was to come into effect but Serbs were reportedly engaged in a new 'ethnic cleansing' operation.
February 96 saw the end of the war and the fragile truce imposed by the Dayton accords was reaffirmed at a summit in Rome. In March, Sarajevo, divided by war for almost four years, was reunited as the last of five Serb areas passed to the Muslim-Croat federation. In July, UN war crime tribunal issued arrest warrants for Bosnian Serbs' political leader Radovan Karadzic, who later agreed to step down. In Sept., elections were held for a 3 person collective presidency and for seats in a federal parliament.
In Mar.98, US and its NATO allies decided to keep the international peace-keeping force in Bosnia (31,000 troops) through end of 1998. The Dayton peace agreement failed in knitting the three communities into a single state.
Agriculture products: Wheat, maize, potatoes, plums, timber, cattle, sheep. Industry: Textiles, timber, rugs, cement, electricity, coal, steel. The war has destroyed 95% of industrial capacity.
Mission in India:
Embassy of Bosnia & Herzegovina
C-7/9, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110 057
Tel: 26147415, 26147416