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CHAPTER -11 HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA - CHINA BORDERS
CHAPTER -11
HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA - CHINA
BORDERS
CHAPTER - II HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA - CHINA BORDERS 2.1: INTRODUCTION: Till 1962, Himalayas
CHAPTER - II
HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA - CHINA BORDERS
2.1:
INTRODUCTION:
Till 1962, Himalayas had been considered as a "natural barrier" against invaders. But
the Chinese invasion of 1962 showed that a determined enemy can overcome any difficulty. For
thousands of years, Himalayas were considered as a dividing wall between India and China. In
1951, after the Chinese conquest of Tibet, China started violations of natural limits. On her
repeatedly violating India's natural frontiers during the period 1954 to 1962, India's Prime
Minister Pandit Nehru, brought these intrusions to the notice of the then Chinese Premier.
China refused to acknowledge these intrusions of Indian territory by her Armed Forces.
Further, she claimed that her forces were inside her own territory and hence the question of
intruding did not arise; in any case, where was the actual boundary demarcated on ground ?
Thus started the boundary dispute between India and China.
This a fact that throughout the history, there was never any actual demarcation of the
boundary line on the ground by way of pillars, vistas or barbed wire fencing etc. But natural
barriers and historical delimitation was considered as a boundary between India and China till
1958. If the India-China border could have been demarcated on actual ground and indicated by
vistas, pillars, barbed wire fencing in the past, there would not have been a "border dispute"
between these two Countries. China has illegally occupied an area of 2,500 square miles in the
Western Sector (Ladakh) in addition to the 12,000 square miles occupied earlier in 1962
through aggression. 1 And fiirther,claims 13,000 to 15,300 square kilometers in the Western
Sector, 140 square kilometers in the middle Sector and 94,700 square kilometers in the Eastern
Sectors. 2
To prevent further Chinese intrusion into Indian territory, the demarcation of the India's
Northern frontier is highly essential. The poor visibility of identification signs on the border has
aggravated the complexity of India-China border dispute. The changes in the sovereign powers
of these two Countries have further added misconceptions among the Government of India and
15
China about the border issue. Therefore, the delimitation and demarcation of India's Northern frontier has
China about the border issue. Therefore, the delimitation and demarcation of India's Northern
frontier has assumed added importance in the settlement of the border dispute.
2 2
BOUNDARY, BORDER AREA & FRONTIER:
Before going into the details about the delimitation & demarcation of the India-China
border, it is highly essential to define the terminologies i.e boundary, border area and frontier.
Boundary is a line of demarcation based on political agreement and geographical
barriers which indicates the limits of a state. Sometimes, boundaries are not "demarcated" on
the actual ground due to difficult nature of terrain or conflict. In such a situation, "Actual
Control" of the area over a period of time becomes a part of that particular state for all
practical purposes. Such "un-demarcated" boundary becomes a source of conflict amongst the
adjoining states. The boundary is a meeting place of two socio-political bodies each having its
peculiar "interests", structure and ideology".-^ In fact, a boundary is not a line but a a vertical
plane that cuts through the air space, the soil, and the sub-soil of adjacent state.'*
The boundaries bind together an area and the people under one sovereign Government
and at the same time, separates the sovereign political units from each other. Boundary is line
which indicates the outermost territorial limits of state sovereignty.^
Border means an area which adjoins the boundary line with a variable depth. Border area
means an area which extends inwards from the boundary line. And the depth of the border area
may depends on the nature of terrain and geopolitical location of concerned area.^ Normally,
border area used to be considered as a "sensitive area" and hence development was carried out
to facilitate conduct of military operations.
"Frontier" means an area which is "in front". Frontier is a politico-geographical area
lying beyond the integrated region of the political units & into which expansion could take
place. The frontier is outer oriented, its main attention is directed towards the outlying areas
which are both a source of danger and a coveted prize. "Frontier" is historical phenomenon in a
modem world, has no place or existence except "Antarctica".^
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2 3 A CONCEPT OF DELIMITATION AND DEMARCATION: Boundary is a living organisation in the
2 3
A CONCEPT OF DELIMITATION AND DEMARCATION:
Boundary is a living organisation in the political sense and passes through various evolutionary
stages i.e. allocation, delimitation, demarcation and administration. Allocation is the primary
stage in boundary evolution. And many a times it is determined by the geographical factor
i.e.mountains, rivers, sea coast, watershed etc. Such geographical features have shaped
destinies of the nations.
Delimitation and demarcation is an important stage of evolution of boundaries.
Delimitation means to mark or determine the limits of boundary or the setting of limits.
Delimitation means the actions of delimiting at their points of contact the territories of two
states and of determining the line which should separate them. This is an important stage of
determining the locations of the frontier. Delimitation of a frontier is the business of treaty
makers who should decide on the trustworthy evidence, the line of frontier limitation which will
be acceptable to both the contending parties with all due regard to the local conditions of
topography and the views of the local people. The process of delimitation denotes an arbitrary
award which is the initial step in such determination [as in the Franco - German convention of
1872 or 1885 convention on Congo]. It can connote specifying of the location of the boundary
line as a whole, the principle of whose location is accepted but the details are worked out later,
for example Franco - Spanish Treaty of 1886,
Demarcation is the legitimate process to marking the boundary. Demarcation is
primarily the ascertaining of the detailed location on the ground of the boundary accepted by
two sides. Abnormenant is the fixing of boundary pillars along the line thus ascertained.
Demarcation is the creation on ground of conventional marking by which a frontier can be seen
(as in the 1843 Belgium - Netherlands convention and the 1959 International Court Of Justice
(ICJ) judgment in the Zendereygon case).^
Demarcation of the boundary is the work of the surveyors in the field, directed by a
commission composed of the diplomatic representative of the two states concerned, sometime
accompanied or even headed by one or several "Neutrals". The agreement which has been
arrived at some conference table as regards the site of the boundary has to be transferred onto
ground. Demarcation, of the boundary, to be considered as the process of arriving at an
apportionment, without arbitration, of territories in a disputed area by means of study on the
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ground, with or without prior guidance from the government concerned and subject only to the
ground, with or without prior guidance from the government concerned and subject only to the
latter's approval [as in the case of Bonilla - Gomez Treaty of 1894 A.D.]^
Although the emphasis of this study is on Eastern Sector border dispute, but for the
purpose of delimitation and demarcation purposes, total border between India and China has
been covered in order to have a holistic picture of the border conflict and it is very much linked
with the other Sectors of Indo -China border.
2 4
GEOGRAPHICAL DELIMITATION:
Main watershed of the Himalayan systems can be considered as a basis of natural
boundary between India and China. Talking of the principle of "Natural boundaries" relied
upon by India, Professor Prescott making light of India's arguments says, " the watershed
separates areas in which the flow of water after precipitation or melting of snow and ice is in
different directions. Just as there are first, second and tfiird order watershed". Problem for the
Indian Government is to justify the selection of one watershed rather than another. The minor
adjustment can be done by India and China on the basis of mutuality and equality. ^^
The Northern border of India lies along the great Himalayan mountain ranges and
defined by treaty and customs by both the countries in the past. For thousand of years, the
Himalayas had been considered as a dividing wall between India, china and Tibet. It mainly
follows the geographical principle of watershed which in most places is the rest of the
Himalayan mountains based on watershed criteria & historico-geographical regions possessed
by India and China from the antiquity. The geographical delimitation of India-China border
could be as follows:-
2.4.1. Western Sector:- The boundary in the Western Sector between Jammu and Kashmir
with Sinkiang and Tibet is about 1,770 km. This boundary runs along the Mustagh Range and
Aghil Range across the Karakoram Pass via Querra Tagh Pass along the main Kuen Lun
Ranges to a point East of Longitude SO^E and 24 km North of Haji Langer. This boundary is
an obvious natural boundary between the Gilgit area and Sinkiang following the main
Karakoram watershed dividing the streams flowing into the Indus Basin and from thence
flowing into the Tarim Basin. Further Southeast, the boundary runs along the watershed across
Lanak La, Kona La and Kaspang La, then follows the Chumesang River across Pangang Lakes
18
|rrr|fAK *<«Ai'i(o I ' » VJ MA^HmWw ^HIIMA t r PAH • CHINA i5l^»"<'' <r
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Sketch
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2
: -
Shows
An
Area
Of
Pak
Accupied
Kashmir
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-
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Source
:-
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Mukhopadhyay
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Calcutt a
1961.
and Kailash Range. Here the boundary constitutes the watershed between the Indus system in India
and Kailash Range. Here the boundary constitutes the watershed between the Indus system in
India and the Khotan system in China. ^ ^
1).
Ladakh:- The Ladakh region of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a Himalayan
border of 560 km on its North and east and guarded by the Hindukush and the Karakoram
mountain Ranges on the West and the North.
2) Aksai-Chin:- The Aksai-Chin is a kind of "no mans land". The area is so remote,
rugged and inhabited that the plateau is a desert area without a single blade of grass. The
Aksai-Chin region situated in the Northeastern portion of Kashmir, East of Shyok, represent a
much denuded plain and an interminable plateau. The surface stands well over 4500 meter
above the sea level with isolated relief uplands rising to elevations of over 6000 meters. The
whole area bears a definite stamp of excessive glacial erosion. This region is typically an area of
inland drainage.'2
Some of the highest human habitation in the world are to be found in Ladakh. Some of the
major passes in Ladakh are K^akoram, Gizil Jilga, and Lanak La, and considering very high
mountains with high intervening valleys and scattered high plains.
2) Pak Occupied Kashmir:- This area adjoins the tri junction of Russia, Afghanistan and
China (Sinkiang) and was the focus of Anglo - Russian rivalry in the Nineteenth Century. A
part of the Indian border with Sinkiang, 200-250 miles of it is now occupied by Pakistan and
the settlement of March 1963 between China and Pakistan is only a working arrangement.^^
[Please see Sketch No.2].
4) Himachal Pradesh:- The traditional frontier of Himachal Pradesh follows the water
parting between the Spiti and the Para Chu rivers and then continues along the watershed
between the Eastern and the Western tributaries of the Satlej.The total length of Himachal
Pradesh Tibet border is 300 kms. Kaurik and Shipki La are two major passes in this section.
The two districts of the State, Kinnaur and Lahul and Spiti have borders with Tibet. It is
formed of great masses of mountain spurs rising to snow clad peaks of 16,000 ft (4877 meters)
to 21,000 ft (6400 meters). 1"^
19
2.4 2.The Central Sector:- 1) Uttar Pradesh:- The state of Uttar Pradesh has a 400
2.4 2.The Central Sector:-
1) Uttar Pradesh:- The state of Uttar Pradesh has a 400 km long Himalayan border with.
Some of the well known Passes along this section of the border are 1, Nit, Kungri, Bingri,
Tunjune La, and Lipu Lekh. The Uttar Pradesh boundary lies on the water parting between
Sutlej and Kali the Alaknanda and the Bhagirathi. The boundary crosses the Sutlej near the
Shipki La on the Himachal Pradesh - Tibet border. From there it runs along watershed passes
of Mana, Nit, Jungi-Bingri, Dharma and Lipu Lekh and finally joining the Tri - junction of
China, Nepal and India. Uttar Pradesh Himalayas comprise of the border areas of Uttar Kashi,
Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Garhwal and Almora. The topography of the area consists of a tangled
series of mountains radiating the boundary watershed and varying in heights fi"om 18,000 ft
(5486 meters) 20,000 ft (6096 meters). Glaciers abound in this area and sources of Ganga,
Yamuna and Alaknanda are found here.^^ Uttar Pradesh is popularly known as "Kumaon
Himalayas".The "Tons" separates this region fi-om Himachal Pradesh from the West and Kali
from Nepal in the east. Stretching from foothills in the South, the region extends up to the snow
clad peaks of the Himadri marking.
The principal ranges may be divided into two groups, the Nanda Devi Range and
Badrinath Range, each presenting as it were, an East-West snowy curtain for 25 miles, yet
another massive Range runs down from the watershed dividing the basin of the Dhauli Ganga
and Vishnuganga. The principle peak being Kamet 25,447 ft and lying close to the Watershed.
The Almora district is also a succession of snow clad mountains the main peak being Nanda
Devi. The district is mostly drained by the western tributaries of Kali river which forms
boundary between the Almora district and Nepal. ^^
2) Nepal:- After leaving the Uttar Pradesh section, the Northern boundary runs along the
sovereign and independent state of Nepal. Nepal is situated on the Southern slopes of the
Himalayas which form a natural divide between the high Tibetan plateau and the plains of India.
The tiny Himalayan kingdom of Nepal has an area of 544,536 (approximately) square
miles. The Himalayas North of Nepal can be crossed at a number of places including Nara Pass,
the Kedari Pass and the Rasa Pass. The plains of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar run into the plains of
Nepal. Nepal is 150 miles from Chumbi Valley. Kutti and Kerono are two easiest and best of all
passes on the Sino - Nepal border.
20
2 4 3 The Eastern Sector- 1) Sikkim:- Sikkim's boundary with China extends for a
2 4 3
The Eastern Sector-
1) Sikkim:- Sikkim's boundary with China extends for a distance of about 225 kms. The
Sikkim-Tibet boundary follows the crest of the mountain ranges separating the water and
flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its affluent from the water flowing into the Tibetan Machu
and Northwards into other rivers in Tibet. ^^ Nearly two thirds of Sikkim consists of very high
mountains perpetually covered with snow from which descend glaciers. The lower portions of
Sikkim are mainly forested. Villages are situated generally between altitudes of 100 and 2,000
meters on river terraces and gradual slopes.
Now Sikkim is an Indian State. Some of the important passes on this border are, Gora
La, Nathu La, and Julep La. Between the Western border of Sikkim and the western Border of
Bhutan there is strip of land shaped like a dagger with its point towards India i.e. Chumbi
Valley.
2) Bhutan:- The whole area of Bhutan presents a succession of lofty and rugged
mountains running generally from North to South and separated by deep valleys. The location
of Bhutan between the Tibetan plateau and Assam-Bengal plains of India makes it strategically
important. Bhutan's un-demarcated traditional boundary with Tibet is fully established and
recognise by history as well as customs. The Bhutan Himalayan rivers flow through glacial
features. This border is highly inaccessible as the mountain peaks rise up from 5,000 to 8,000
meters. The passes are not frequented by human beings. The upper half of Bhutan is almost
3,000 meters and above, and has very sparse human habitation. ^ ^
3) Arunachal Pradesh (NEFA):- The boundary has been established along the Himalayan
crest of the Northern watershed of Bramhaputra, except where the Lo hit, Dihang, Subansiri
and Nyamijang rivers break through that watershed. The only variance from the watershed
principle is near Migutyem and the two Tibetan pilgrim places of Tsokaro and Tsari Sarpa. It is
surrounded by Bhutan in the West and Tibet and China in the Southeast. The area consists of
sub-mountainous and mountainous belts presenting a series of ranges slopping to the plains of
Assam and forming buttresses to the East - West Himalayan ranges which in turn form the
buttress to the Tibetan plateau. The boundary in this Eastern Sector limits Bhutan to the point
near the Talu Pass at the Tri-junction of India, China and Burma, is 1140 kms. The line
between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet is called McMohan Line. Most of the mountain peaks
21
are 4,000 to 7,000 meters. This region receives heaviest rainfall. The mountain peaks in the
are 4,000 to 7,000 meters. This region receives heaviest rainfall. The mountain peaks in the
entire area are covered by snow and foothills are covered with dense forests. Arunachal
Pradesh has four political divisions - Kameng, Subansiri, Siang and Lohit.^^
The boundary existing in the Arunachal Pradesh mainly follows the geographical
principle of watershed which in most cases is the crest of the Himalayan mountains. The Indo -
China boundary demarcates the international boundaries. A continuous watershed ranging in
height from 14,000 to 25,000 feet and forms a majestic wall of nature. The actual watershed is
identified by the central ridge of the crest line of the Himalayas which divides the rivers flowing
southwards into India from those flowing northwards to Tibet.20 In this respect, the boundary
follows a very valid and legitimate principle namely, division by watershed which has been
recognised all over the world as traditionally accepted boundary
line between countries. The
watershed principle adopted in the awards relating to the boundary settlements between
Colombia and Costa Rica, Argentina and Chile, and Guatemala and Honduras. In the Europe it
seems that this principle adopted by France and Spain and in Africa, Republic of Congo and
Northern Rhodesia, in the process offinalizingsettlement of their boundary dispute.
Natural frontiers as recognised by International law or by outward signs of delimitation
that are undisputed or legal engagements entered into between interested neighbours. Such as
frontier conventions or by act, recognition of fixed boundaries. When two states exercise their
state activities, and function in a way appropriate to the territory under consideration up to
certain points and refrain from exercising these functions beyond these limits over a long period
of years, their conduct of practice cannot but be interpreted as constituting an implied agree-
ment that the line joining these points represents the customary or traditional boundary
between their respective territories.^^
China itself has been following this principle in deciding its boundaries with Sikkim,
Burma (Mynamar) and Nepal. In the North, the Indian boundary follows the watershed
between the Indus systems in India and the Yarkand and the Yurung Quagh systems in China.
Further South, it follows the watershed between the Tibetan portion of Sutlej and Ganges in
India. East of Nepal, it is the crest of the Himalayan range forming the watershed between the
northern tributaries of Brahmaputra, namely the Teesta, Snekesh, Raidak, Mahas, Kameng,
/ /
/^
22
^
(
J:
Khru, Kamla, Dihang and Dipang in Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh and the southern tributaries
Khru, Kamla, Dihang and Dipang in Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh and the southern
tributaries of Tstang Po (Tibetan name of Brahmaputra) in Tibet.^2
2 5
ETHNIC EXTENT:
Another important factor which influences the delimitation of the International borders
is the ethnic homogeneity with political affinity of the aboriginal inhabitants. In respect of India's
northern borders, the tribal people on either side of the Himalayas allowed the practice of
seasonal, trans human traffic of both the people across the high mountainous barrier and
through the passes. The Tibetans were not stopped by physical climatic barrier but their
movements were restricted by customs and traditions. 23
It is true that the people of Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh are
of Tibetan strain. But it is a fact that watershed does normally check the movement and
settlement of people along the major part of the boundary; they do not altogether prevent the
migration of people which occur periodically due to a variety of pressures. Such migrations do
not in any way affect the traditional basisiof a watershed boundary. For example, the mountains
of the Northwest did not prevent invasion^ of the Aryan, the Persian , and the Mongols. Such
invasions and migrations might sometime temporarily affect the political frontiers and even
leave a permanent mark on the racial composition of the people. But they do not change the
national boundaries. Across the India-China boundary, there have been migrations of people
but no political invasion and the question^of changes in national boundaries never arose.24
2.5.1. Western Sector:
I) Ladakh:- In the western sector, the boundary constitutes the watershed between the
Indus system in India and the Khotan system in China. The Ladakhis have adopted a blend of
the Hindi and Munds which also appear in the language of some of the tribes of eastern India,
They traditionally had a status independent of Tibet and China, although they closely resemble
the people of these two Countries in race and culture. Ladakhi is a Tibetan race which is a
mixture of Indian and Mongoloid strain and Buddhist in religion. It had a long, traditional
association with India. The religious ties between Ladakh and Tibet have been strong ever
since the center of Lamest Buddhism was established at Lhasa, but Tibet did not exercise
significant political control over Ladakh at any time after the Tenth Century.The Himalaya is
the abode of a great variety of people. The topography of the Himalaya precludes quick
23
movements and intermingling. It is because of this reason that quite varied customs have developed
movements and intermingling. It is because of this reason that quite varied customs have
developed in various pockets. There are four significant cultural processes operative in the
Himalayan region. The people of Ladakh region are known as Ladakhis.^^ They are mostly
Buddhist with four sub castes; Jalopy or Raja; Jerk or Ofificials; Mungsik or cultivators and
Ringan or menials.
In the past, during the period of Ashoka The Great, the Brahmins of Kashmir were
great admirers of Buddhism and about 10,000 people of Kashmir adopted Buddhism.^6 The
Buddhism creed continued for long time in the valley without any antagonism with
Brahamanical culture. From the valley, the Buddhist culture spread to Ladakh, Tibet, Central
Asia and China. In keeping with tradition of co-existence and tolerance. Buddhism continued in
Kashmir till its conquest by Muslim rulers. Bhotia is the Hindu name for a Dodpa or a
Buddhist. The people of Ladakh are largely Buddhist and are a distinct race of people. Judging
fi-om their language and physical features, it give the impression that they are an offshoot of the
Mongols. Buddhism is the religion of Ladakh. However, it has its own features which makes it
a distinct "Ladakhi Buddhism"
Thus the monk "Therd Majjhatird" was sent to Kashmir and Afghanistan to spread the
religion of the Buddha. In the Indus valley and beyond in Sindh, Buddhism spread and the
people embraced it around 243 B.C. However, it was only in the early First Century A.D. that
Buddhism spread to Ladakh and fi"om Ladakh it was exported to China. Ladakh embraced
Buddhism much earlier than the Tibetans but at the same time as that of Kashmir i.e. during
300 B.C. In 650 A.D. the whole of Tibet embraced Buddhism. In fact history says that after
having been defeated by Emperor Ashoka in 250 B.C. Shari Tsampo the defeated Indian
prince, sought refuge in Tibet and later became King of Tibet.
In 400 A.D. when the great Chinese traveler visited India, he confirmed that during his
visit (travels) he found Buddhism flourishing in Ladakh (Kia Chhe) as well as in all the small
states. Northward of Tsung Ling (Karakoram) as early as 400 A.D. He had noticed that
Ladakhi Buddhist carried the prayer cylinder which can still be seen in the hands of many
Lamas and Ladakhis to this day. The Ladakhi Buddhist, like the Hindus, believe in Celestial
beings; these are parallel to those of the older Hindu religion, e.g. Buddhists call Gods as LHA,
whereas the Hindu religion refers them as DEVAS; while LA MIN (Demi Gods) in Buddhist
24
literature are ASURAS in Hindu mythology; the Buddhist equivalent of MI (Mankind) is MANUSHYA in
literature are ASURAS in Hindu mythology; the Buddhist equivalent of MI (Mankind) is
MANUSHYA in Hindu culture.
These categories described the journey of the soul from inferior being to superior being
till the soul merges with the supreme intelligence. History has it that Gideon Gya Tsho (a
paeans or Lamas) was discovered while still a child and he was divine. It was he who founded
the hierarchy of Dalai Lama at Lhasa in 1640 A.D. and become the God king of Tibet.^^ Since
then Ladakh looks up to Tibet as the seat of their religions master and God. The whole of
Ladakh soon came under the complete influence of the Dalai Lama.
The people of these border areas, Bhotias and Tibetans have settled here and by religion they
are Buddhist. A small portion near the border is beyond the Himalayas where the people are
Budhists, there was some sort of cultural intercourse between the people living on both sides of
the frontier. There is a mixture of local and Tibetan strains.
2) Himachal Pradesh:- After leaving Ladakh, the northern border of India runs from
Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh having a border with Tibet and being a border state, has
strategic significance, particularly Lahul and Spiti and Kinnaur being border districts adjoining
Tibet's border.
Lahul is inhabited by Lahulies who are Buddhist and follow Lamaism. They have close link
with Ladakhis and their features are "Mongoloid". Spiti is remoter than Lahul. Spiti river flows
into the Satlej. The passage into Spiti is via Lahul over some of the most difficult terrain.
Communications are being improved in Spiti with great difficulty. The people of Spiti also
follow Lamaism. A well known monastery "Dankar Gompa" is situated at Spiti. Kinnaur is a
newly constituted border district in the high Himalaya. They are Hindus having village gods.^^
2 5 2. The Central Sector-
1) Uttar Pradesh:- Uttar Pradesh being the largest state in terms of size, shape and
location along the borders, has great Significance. Uttar Kashi, Chamoli, Pithoragadh,
Garhwal, Almora, districts share boiUer along with Tibet and Nepal. In this area Hindu,
Muslim, Buddhist, castes co-exist but particularly in mountain regions like Pahari, Rajput,
25
Gurkha, dominate this area. The Pahari speaking Hindus of this state share the culture as
Gurkha, dominate this area. The Pahari speaking Hindus of this state share the culture as North
India, after all they are "Indo-Aryans and immigrated form Central Asia."^^
2) Nepal:- Nepal is an independent state and has a better location between two big
countries i.e. India and China. The people of Nepal are of Tibetan , Indo-Mongoloid strain. The
population is divided into various groups (caste) Bhotias, Tamangs, Limbus, Rais, Sherpas,
Magars, Newars, Kiratis, Gurungs and sunwars, Hindu, Buddhist and Muslim also.^O
3) Sikkim:- Sikkim lying between the Singli La and Dongkya ranges to the West and the
East, has its northern border along Tibet, coinciding roughly with central Himalayan axis
running between Kanchanganga and Chomolhari on the Tibet Border. The eastern half of this
part of the Himalayas lies North of the Chumbi valley in Tibet. This is the only part of the
Himalayas which lies exclusively in Tibet.
Nearly two third of Sikkim consists of very high mountains. Villages are situated generally
between altitude of 1,000 to 2,000 meters on river terraces and gradual slopes. Sikkim is
inhabited by Bhotias and Tibetans who have settled down here. Lamas twirling prayer wheels
are seen here now and then. Sikkimese are "Lamaist Buddhists".-^ ^
4) Bhutan:- Described as a land of "Thunder Dragon",it comprises an area of about
18,000 square miles. The Bhotias are of Tibetan stock and look towards Lhasa as their spiritual
home, and Dalai Lama as their spiritual head. Like Sikkimese,Bhutanese are also Lamaist
Budhists.32
2.5.3. Eastern Sector (Arunachal Pradesh):- After leaving Bhutan,the northern border of
India runs from the Arunachal Pradesh andfinishesat Trijunction point where the borders of
India, China and Burma meet. The people of North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) belong to
mongoloid race and distinctly form four main groups Nagas, Aboras, Daflas and the Bhotias.
The people of the Naga tribe reside in Tirapfrontierdivision with which we are not concerned
here. The Aboras form the most important group of the Nefaites; their main sub-groups are the
Galongs, the Minyong and the Padams. The Boris and a few other groups of interior Siang
belong to the Abor group. The Dafla group is the most widely spread group in the northern
tract. The Akas and Mijis of kameng, the Daflas, the Tagins, the Hill and the Apa Tanis of the
Siang Frontier Division constitutes this group. The last is the Bhotia group which emigrated to
Arunachal Pradesh from Tibet during the Manchu rule in China. The Monpas of Tawang and
26
Dirang and Sherdakpans of Rupa and Sherpas of Kameng, the Khambas and Moplas of Siang
Dirang and Sherdakpans of Rupa and Sherpas of Kameng, the Khambas and Moplas of Siang
Frontier Division belong to the Bhotia group. A sprinkling of this group has also penetrated
into some villages of the Walong region of the Lohit Frontier Division. ^ 3 The McMohan Line
correctly represents the customary boundary in the northeastern Sector of India.
The tribes inhabiting the area South of McMohan Line, the Monpas, Akas, the Daflas,
Miris, Abors and Mishmese are of the same ethnic stock as the other hill tribes of Assam and
have no kinship with the Tibetans.
2 6
EARLY
HISTORY
OF
INDIA'S
NORTHERN
FRONTIER
(HISTORICAL
EVIDENCE):
2.6.1. Mythological Information:- Himalayas are regarded as a northern frontier of India
since the ancient period. The mythology and literature support this boundary alignment. This
expression has been found in various literature of mythology i.e. Vishnupurana, Mahabharata,
Upanishada, Bhagvat Gita and Rigveds. The Himalaya were a part of India and frontier of
India. The unity of Himalaya region during the period is shown by the statement in the Shubha
Parwa of the Mahabharata that :-
"Arjun on one of his campaigns returnedfrom Pragjyotisha (Assam)
to Uluka (in northern Punjab) through the inner, outer and adjacent
belt of Himalaya".^4
It is mentioned in Upannishads, Rigvedas and Bhagavad Gita that Himalaya were frontier of
India and brought under the control and were dominated from time to time by the political
powers. The Vishnu Purana makes it clear that the Himalayas formed the frontier and not the
dominance of contiguous power in those days. It, states that the south of the Himalaya and
north of ocean is called Bharat and all bom in it are called Bharatiyas (Indians). The empire of
Chandragupta Maurya towards the end of the 4th Century B.C. comprised the whole of India
North of the Narmada as well as Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Nepal and the whole of India except
Assam up to Mysore and Madras. The historical evidence shows that the Himalayas were a
part of India and people were familiar with it. It has recently been said that :-
"Since centuries there after the striving of the Indian spirit was
directed towards these Himalayan vastness. The Himalayan shrines
27
are still the goal of every Hindu pilgrim. Further, in the concept of Sarvabhumi and
are still the goal of every Hindu pilgrim. Further, in the concept of
Sarvabhumi and Chakravarti, it formed the arc of Indian political
influence through the Himalayan northern boundary of Bharat -
India"^^
2.6.2. : Early History :- The Tibetan and Chinese influence in fact never gained a permanent
footing on the Indian side of the Himalayas throughout the centuries of Hindu rule in India.
The Himalayan region often changed hands, but it was always between Indian rulers. The
Indian literature from the earliest days down to modem times shows that India's present
northern frontier is along its whole stretch of the historic firontier. The Indian political history
throughout clearly brings out that the Himalayas formed the Northern borders of India.
Kautilya's Arthashastra also focussed on this aspect. In addition to this, there is also
considerable evidence to show that Indian control extended through the ages right up to the
Himalayan watershed and even beyond in some cases. The Mauryan Empire (5th Century B.C.)
embraced the whole of Northern India, including even Afghanistan Ashokan Empire, the
Kushan Empire and the Gupta empire all extended to the Himalayan watershed and even
beyond. There is evidence in the way of inscriptions on monuments, numismatic, and
philological evidence which confirms the existence of Indian rule in these areas. Hieun Tsiang
the well known Chinese monk brings out that Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal and the bulk of Assam
(including North East Frontier areas i.e. the present Arunachal Pradesh) were ruled by Indians.
During the Muslim rule, the rulers consolidated their rule right up to the Himalayas and in some
cases even carried out expedition into Tibet. (Such as the case of Khilji A.D. 1205 and Tughlak
A.D. 1327) Baluchisthan, Skardu and Ladakh were traditionally under Hindu rule and the
original population in Ladakh was Dardi (Indo-Iranic).-^^ Periodical campaigns were napped by
Kashmiri kings right across Ladakh. After the extension of the Mughal rule to Kashmir Ladakh
also came under the Mughal empire. Subsequently, during the British period, exploration and
survey parties operated in Ladakh and depicted their findings in successive Indian maps. The
British brought under their control the present States of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar
Pradesh by mid Nineteen Century and after extensive survey work, issued authoritative maps.
In case of Assam the original Hindu kings of the Varna Salasthambha and Pala dynasties were
displaced by the Ahoms, who themselves got assimilated into the Hindu fold. Subsequently the
British brought under their control, the entire province of Assam including "North East
Frontier Agency".^^
28
2 7 HISTORICO-POLITICAL DOMINANCE; The evidence of political dominance during the middle and historic period
2 7 HISTORICO-POLITICAL DOMINANCE;
The evidence of political dominance during the middle and historic period are more
valuable in determining the rationality of claims of both the contending powers on the disputed
areas of Himalayan border. Although one can study the politico-historical background of the
India - China border by sector wise, but that would not simplify the matter. Because
historically, prominent dynasties dominated the large section of India-China border. So to
divide these historical dynasties into different sectors for study will not be appropriate. Dynasty
like "Tibet" is spread over almost all three sectors of India-China border. Because of "one
political authority and one historical unit" has been studied here irrespective of the sector-wise
divisions done for the purpose of study of other aspects of India-China border.
2.7.1. Historico-Political Status of Ladakh:- In 400 B.C. Sargyal established the kingdom at
Ladakh and Tibet. Niathichen was the next ruler who established the rule of Thi Dynasty. The
Gyalpo established his rule in 333 A.D. After that Gyalpo Showang-Chen-Izghimpo came to
power in 650 A.D. The history of Ladakh has been recorded in Laduagas - Rigyal - Rabis and
its translation into English was prepared by A.H. Franke in 1926. Skyed - Ilde - Negma Gon
who came to power and is considered the founder of Lah - Chen dynasty. This dynasty ruled
over Ladakh upto the end of 15th Century. The son of Skyed - Ilde Negma Gon, Gyalpo
Rinchin became the ruler of Kashmir and accepted Islam and assumed the name as a Sultan
Sadar-Ud-din and came to throne in 1324 to 1327 he was the first ruler of Kashmir. After that
Ladakh was invaded by Mirza Haider Dughlat in 1531. He has given an account of the
campaigns in his Tarikh-i-Rashidi as under :-
At Lahore some Kashmiri requested me to come to their rescue and
attack Kashmir. I led an attack and defeated the enemy. The battle
was very desperate. I conquered Kashmir on the second August of
1541. "^8
The above account shows that Mirza Haider Duglat conquered kashmir. After that Namgyal
came to power in 16th Century. Sevang Namgyal subdued the whole of Ladakh and
established his capital at Leh in 1533 A.D. He succeeded in extending his kingdom even upto
outskirts of Lhasa. Sovang Namgyal passed away in 1555 A.D. and was succeeded by his
brother Jamyang Namgyal. After that in 1610 since Namgyal became the king of Ladakh, he
29
subdued Purang Zanskar, Spiti and even Tibet but failed to achieve complete success. After that
subdued Purang Zanskar, Spiti and even Tibet but failed to achieve complete success. After
that he planned to annex Skardu but Skardu obtained the help of Mughals and after minor
skirmishes, Singe Namgyal agreed to pay homage to Ladakh.
Singe Namgyal was succeeded by his son Deldan Namgyal in 1645 A.D. During his
regime the ruler of Skardu invaded Ladakh. During the same period Mughals also invaded
Ladakh. At last Deldan Namgyal entered in an alliance with Mughals.
Deldan Namgyal was succeeded by his son Delek Namgyal in 1666 A.D. During his
regime, Tibet invaded Ladakh in which the Ladakhis were defeated. Delek implored help fi^om
the Mughal Governor of Kashmir and at last succeeded in driving out the Tibetans fi-om
Ladakhi soil and in return, continued to pay homage to Mughals. Nyima Namgyal came into
power in 1695 A.D. and died in 1750 A.D. Ladakh continued to be ruled over by weak kings
of the Namgyal dynasty.-^^ Tundop Namgyal came to power in 1820 A.D. He was succeeded
by his son Sovang who spent his time in merry making and affairs of the state fell to disorder.
This state of affairs led to invitation to others to invade Ladakh. The Dogra General Wazir
Zorawar Singh invaded and conquered Ladakh in 1883 A.D. and at last Ladakh became a part
of Jammu and Kashmir state which had come into existence by the treaty of Amritsar with the
then British Government of India.'^^
This historical account shows that the Ladakh has always been dominated by Indian
rulers. This part of Jammu and Kashmir was neither dominated by the Chinese nor by Tibetans
but dominated by Indians. Only during the First Century A.D. Indian control over Ladakh in
this period was reaffirmed as late as 733 A.D. by Lalitaditya Muktyapida. Even after the
Tibetan influence reached Ladakh, the latter never constituted an integral part of Tibet. Thing
is that Ladakh came under the influence of Tibet due to socio-religious factors and not as a part
of Tibetan sovereign power.
After 10th century A.D. Tibet's influence declined. Kashmir's influence was again to be
found in Twelfth Century A.D. Tributes were sent by Tibet to Kashmir in the 15th Century and
periodical campaigns were waged by Kashmiri kings right across Ladakh, From 1586 onwards,
it was subject by the Skardu rulers and with the commencement of Mughal rule in Skardu,
Ladakh too came under the Mughal empire and at last Ladakh came under the suzerainty
of Mughal Empire in 1664. After that Ladakh was conquered by Gulab Singh of Jammu in
30
hereditary of the Sikhs. The year of 1841 saw battles between one of Generals of
hereditary of the Sikhs. The year of 1841 saw battles between one of Generals of Gulab Singh
and Tibetan armies and at this juncture, the Tibetans were joined by the Chinese. The venture
was hardly successful enough to initiate any possessing rights on the part of Tibet and the
Chinese Tibetan armies were defeated before they reached Leh. However a peace treaty was
concluded in 1842 A.D. Four years later in 1846 Kashmir came under the suzerainty of the
British. The British recognised Gulab Singh as a Maharaja of the entire Ladakh kashmir sector
under British Indian Central Authority.'*^
2.7.2. Politico - Historical Status of Tibet:- Political history of Tibetan dynasty could be
more helpful to understand the rationale which is the basis for delimiting the India - China
international border. The evolutions of India-China border and legal claim on India's own
territory which is occupied by the Chinese from 1954 to 1962 is based on the status of Tibet in
the past. Chinese claim is that Tibet was a part of Chinese territory and exercised full
sovereignty over Tibet. But history of Tibet shows that Tibet was an independent state, except
fpr a short period during the eighteenth century when Tibet was actually under the Chinese
rule.
In the beginning of the Tibetan history, the Tibetan king who reigned long before the
beginning of the Christian era, came from India. He was the fifth son of the King of Kosala.
The Srong-Tsan Gaimpo came into power in Seventh Century A.D. He united different
principalities of Tibet under one Kingdom. He sent his minister Therms Shainbhata to India to
make a thorough study of the art of writing and devised a script and grammar suitable to the
Tibetan dialect. It is this form of Buddhism which traveled to Tibet fi-om India. After the death
of Srong-Tsan Gampo, Buddhism made little progress in Tibet. Later King Ti-song Detisen
carried forward the work of spreading Buddhism. During the 8th and 9th Century, the Tibetans
were a master of a large part of China. The relations of Tibet with China were firmly friendly,
Tibet's contact with China was firmly established only in 13th Century when the Mongols con-
quered China. After the establishment of the Mongol dynasty in China in 13th century,
Buddhism received great fillip in Tibet-Lama enjoyed
as a sovereign on the support of
Mongols.^2
Manchu emperor Kang-hsi who ascended the throne in 1662 A.D. was the first Chinese
ruler who thought seriously of conquering Tibet. Manchu sent army to Tibet Lhase to drive out
the Mongols. The virtual independence of Tibet is proved in subsequent developments. During
31
Manchu regime, Tibet was successfully attacked by China in A.D. 1720 and till 1792 A.D.
Manchu regime, Tibet was successfully attacked by China in A.D. 1720 and till 1792 A.D. it
was regarded as a Chinese protectorate. There after China left Tibet fi-ee to organise its own
defence as the Imperial power became weak.
When the Dogra General Zorawar Singh attacked Tibet in 1841, Nepal attacked Tibet
in 1856 and when the British carried out their expedition under Sir Francis Young
husband into Tibet in 1904, China was not in the picture. The situation continued upto
1916, but in 1917 the Chinese commander at Chamdo provoked the Tibetan into hostility. In
the summer of 1918, the Tibetan army captured Chamdo Draya Markham. Before efforts at
rapproachment could produce results, hostilities broke out between the Tibetan and the
Chinese forces once again towards the end of 1930.^^ The 13th Dalai Lama died on 7th the
December, 1933. In 1934 fighting again broke out between the Chinese and Tibetan forces on
the border question. In the same year, an unsuccessfial attempt was made by China to persuade
the Tibetan authority to accept her control. The 14th Dalai Lama Wu-Mission made another
effort to sort out Chine's relations with Tibet.
These was no major development in Sino-Tibetan relations till the fall of Nationalist
regime. The communist came into power as a Peoples' Republic of China on 1st October 1949.
As soon as communist came into power, the Peoples' Liberation Army entered Tibet and at last
Chinese compelled Tibet to sign seventeen point agreement on 23 rd May 1951, through which
the fate of Tibetan independence were sealed.^^
Actually Tibet was not different from the number of neighboring countries like Korea,
Outer Mongolia, Burma (Mynamar), Bhutan, Nepal. The way of life, history, geography of
Tibet was different from that of China. Chinese and Tibetan armies often in the past fought
against each other in assertion of rival claims over border areas.
2.7 3. Historico-Political Status of "Sinkiang":- Chinese claim is that Sinkiang has always
been a part of China. It is true that there were times when Chinese were interested in bringing
Sinkiang under their own control. Looking further back into history, it seems that Chinese had
attempted to annex Sinkiang . After a long struggle, Sinkiang become a province of China in
1884 AD.
Sinkiang was originally ruled by an Aryan race. At the first time during Hun Dynasty,
for short period (94 AD) Sinkiang came under the control of Chinese. After Six hundred years,
32
the Tang Emperors sent an expedition to Central Asia and it resulted in 712 appearance
the Tang Emperors sent an expedition to Central Asia and it resulted in 712 appearance of
Islam and disappearance of Chinese influence. And thereafter, Muslim rule had flourished in
Sinkiang for near about five hundred years. In 1220 A.D. Sinkiang became a part of the
Mongols Empire. ^^ Chengiz Khan, and thereafter his
son Chagati Khan and his generations
continued to rule the country upto 1678 A.D. After the era of Mongols, the Jungars dominated
Sinkiang for near about 78 years and after Jungars, once again Chinese became the Master of
Sinkiang in 1756. Actually after the Jungar's death,(Khan Hal Dan - Shirin) Amoorsana a chief
of Kalmuck tribe attempted to gain power against the heir of Khan-Hal Dan-Shirin, he and his
tribe declared themselves to be subjects of China. As soon as Amoorsana and his tribesmen
released a subject of China. The Chinese army was dispatched and by the year 1758 A.D.
Sinkiang was conquered by them.'^^
Revolt Against Chinese:- Chinese failed to maintain their prolonged hold over Sinkiang. After
67 years exactly (in 1825), Jehangir Khan appeared as a rebel openly and successfiilly became a
master of Kashgaria. And such revolts continued. In 1830 A.D. it was followed by Khoja
Yusaf Thereafter seven Khojas headed by Katta-Turra ruled Sinkiang. The Khojas continued
their attempts to recover their lost patrimony from the alien Chinese masters. The revolt of
Khoja's was widespread and it embarrassed the western province of China, Zuragaria and
Yarkand. One after the other, Kuchu, Yarkand and Kashgar fell to the Khojas. Chinese were
defeated and fled. In the meantime Bazurga Khan came from Khokand with a garrison of 500
soldiers under the command of Yakub Beg Khushbegi. After a number of attempts at last,
Yakub Beg Khushbegi arrested a Chinese. In 1869 A.D. Yakub Beg was declared a ruler of
Sinkiang, he was the last ruler of independent sovereign of Central Asia. Even during Yakub
Beg's regime, Chinese continued their effort to invade Sinkiang but till the death of Yakub Beg
Khusbegi, Chinese failed to do so. After the death of Yakub Beg Khusbegi, the internal
struggle started for power. The Chinese immediately took advantage and captured once again
towards the end of 1877. Meanwhile, constant Muslim rebellion continued but at last Chinese
successfiilly brought Sinkiang under their control, truly in 1884 A.D.^^
In short, the history of Sinkiang means from fifteenth century to the eighteen affords an
unbroken record of civil wars between two religious group. It was only after the death of
Yakub Beg Khusbegi, that the Chinese were successfijl in gaining the power. The Chinese re-
occupation of Sinkiang earlier failed to ensure stability. Sinkiang became a province of China in
33
C HtH A iHAN BTt^TC BP>M(ttA- Tc 1 ^-9 No. 3 :- Shows 'Patkai Range'
C HtH A
iHAN BTt^TC
BP>M(ttA-
Tc
1
^-9
No. 3 :- Shows 'Patkai Range' As A Traditional
undary Between India & Burma (Myanmar).
B.L.Sukhwal
India
:
A
Political
Allied Publisher Bombay 1971.
1884 AD . and China therefore could not claim any rights over Sinkiang till in
1884 AD . and China therefore could not claim any rights over Sinkiang till in 1842 AD.it
became a part of China.'^^
2.7.4. Military Expeditions:- Within the Muslim rulers of India, Mohammad Bakhtyar Khilji
was the first Muslim ruler who tried to conquer Tibet and push their frontier but failed owing
to exposure and extreme cold. The army of Khilji suffered untold miseries and heavy casualties,
and therefore he gave up an idea of capturing Tibet. Afterward Assam (in the past Arunachal
Pradesh was a part of Assam) suffered two more invasions one from Bengal by Ghiyas-Uddin a
governor of Bengal in 1227 A.D. who had reached upto Sadiya and was repulsed. In 1325
A.D. Mohammed Tughluk sent another expedition but this perished in the Himalayan passes.
The aim of this expedition was to conquer Tibet but the disastrous result of these efforts
seemed to limit the territorial ambitions of Indian rulers to the Himalayas and believed that
these mountains were a natural barrier imposed by "Allah" (God) to be watched carefully but
not to be crossed. So Muslim rulers gave up their idea of conquering Tibet. But attempted to
conquer Assam and in that direction Ghiyas -Uddin tried in 1227 A.D. but was repulsed by
trials.
The Burmese (Ahoms) invasion is a land mark in the history of Assam. The invaders
united Brahmaputra valley with the hill district bordering upon it. They penetrated into the
tribal areas and established their sway over Lohit and Brahmaputra valleys. And formed a state
named as "Assam" New rulers of Assam accepted Hinduism. Thus the process of the conquest
of the NEFA by Indian began during the Ahom Period. It was during this period that the
Ahoms dispatched military expedition into the hills and jungles of the DefFa and Mishmi tracts.
It is on record that the Daffas and the Miris were recruited in the Ahom Army. It was in 1401 ,
that the Ahoms fought a war with the king of Burma. A boundary treaty between Burma and
Assam was signed according to which the crest of the Patkoi range was fixed as the Indo-
Burmese boundary.'^^ [please see Sketch No. 3 in which Patkoi Range is shown as a
boundary between India and Burma).
2.7.5. Garhwal Dynasty and Spiti Valley State (Garhwal and Kumoan Kingdom):- Lahul
and Spiti, Kinnaur, Uttarkashi, Chamoli, Pithoragarh, Garhwal, districts of Himachal Pradesh
and Uttar Pradesh lie on the Indo-Tibet (China) border. The history shows that the rulers
always changed but only between Indian and Muslim. The Ladakhi records of the 9th Century
shows that Spiti valley was a part of Ladakh. In the 10th Century Spiti became a separate
34
state.50 In the 17th Century when the Tibetan defeated king Delegs Namgyal they seized Spiti
state.50 In the 17th Century when the Tibetan defeated king Delegs Namgyal they seized Spiti
but promptly returned it as part of dowry when king Delegs was married to the Tibetan
Commander's daughter. Thereafter the area has always remained a part of Indian territory. In
fact the boundary between Spiti and Tibet has always been traditional and customary one
regarding which there has never been any dispute in history.
The revenue records with the government of India show the established fact that in this
sector the boundary conforms to, the high Himalayan ranges with elevation of upto 17,000 feet
forms the traditional and well known boundary and that it follows the watershed principal.^^
The boundaries of the early Indian border states of Bashahar and Garhwal lie along the
watershed according to the numerous early inscriptions. Hieu Tsang visited the region in the
7th Century and confirmed that it lay in India. After the 8th Century, the areas were ruled
successively by the Katyuri Chang, Pala, Malla and other Garhwal dynasties right upto the
latter half of the 18th century. During 1734 to 1744 A.D. there was a Rohilla invasion on
Kumoan but they could not establish a foothold. As early as in Nineteenth Century, the
Gorkhas in their long sweep of invasion subdued Barhkum and the territories beyond upto
Kangra. Their territorial ambitions brought them into conflict with the British. During the
conflict with the British, Nepal lost the territories of Kumaon and Garhwal in 1815. During the
British period, there were a series of developments, that took place in terms of road, railway
lines, education, agriculture and commerce. ^^
This area had been administered by the Darbar of Tehri since 1677 AD . The
topographical surveys conducted by the British and Indian Government as well as other maps
however strongly support the Indian claim. Even a Chinese wall map published as recently as
1951 January shows Chuve and Chuje situated within Indian territory. In all these places,
collection of taxes, civil, criminal and police fiinctionaries, tours of officials, census operations,
administration of forests, maintenance of schools, construction of roads, establishment of check
posts and conducting of official survey have all been under the jurisdiction of India. The Indian
authorities had always exercised effective administration and civil jurisdiction over these areas.
For every pocket numerous detailed revenue settlement, collection of records, official villages,
maps accounts of tours of official and road construction and reports of Topographical and
Geological survey were fiimished as manifest proofs of Indian official authority. The revenue
records cited for Nilang Jadhang in particular were a very detailed character cover the years of
35
1868-1951 and included information regarding the exact limits of every village and hamlet, the type
1868-1951 and included information regarding the exact limits of every village and hamlet, the
type of land and the extent of forest and forming the most detailed figures of revenue. ^^
2.7.6. Ahom Dynasty:- East of Bhutan, the northern border of India encompasses the
territory of Arunachal Pradesh. In the past this territory was always under the control of the
Indians. As regards Assam the original Hindu Kings of the Varna Sabsthambha and Pala
dynasties were slowly displaced by the Ahoms a branch of the Burmese Shan tribe in the 13th
century. These Ahoms were assimilated into the Hindu Lord accepting it's customs and reli-
gions and adopting Hindu names.
The evolution of the boundary in the eastern sector witnessed a different
set
of
historical processes. It is assumed that the major watershed of the eastern Himalayas had been
functioning as a traditional customary line dividing the tribal people of Assam from the
northern counterparts. The Ahom Rajas entered into agreement with the British in the
eighteenth century. ^^^ The Ahoms during the six hundred years of their rule seem to have been
far more successfijl in their dealing with the tribes than the British were during the early years
of their rule in the nineteenth century.
It is quite clear that no time was sovereignty of the northern territory to the crest of the
Himalayas lost by rulers of Assam or acquired by the Tibetans or Chinese. In 1838 Assam was
annexed by the British : with this the British Indian control and administration were gradually
extended into the region south of the McMohan Line, inhabited by the tribes known as the
Menbas, Akar, Daflas, Musis, Abors and Mishmis. From the very beginning the various tribal
areas were placed under the jurisdiction by "Political Agents" or of the "Deputy
Commissioners" of the adjoining districts. Contemporary Assamese accounts describe the well
organised system that the Ahoms had set up to control the tribal population and both Mughal
and British account testified to the fact that many of these tribes had tendered submission and
even taken up services in the Ahom army. The Mughal historian Shihabuddin Tailash wrote :-
" Although most of the inhabitants of the neighboring hills pay no tax to the
Rajha of Assam, yet they accept his sovereignty and some of his commands. "
Mitchell, a British officer wrote in 1883:-
"Before we took possession of Assam, the Mishmis were obedient to the orders of the
"Before we took possession of Assam, the Mishmis were obedient to the orders
of the Assam Government and paid tribute to the Sadiya Khowa Gohanis. "^^
There is ample evidence to prove actual exercise of the authority of the British Indian
Government affecting the lives, births, deaths, property etc. of the people inside the tribal areas
among themselves and between them and the people living on the plains. The Indian tribes in
Assam may not have been overjoyed by the British rule, however they accepted it but at no
time did they concede to any Chinese or Tibetan attempts to rule. Assam had been added to the
British territorial structure after the Anglo-Burmese war in 1824-26. This region had strategic
significance to warrant immediate administration. Once the British authorities finally set up
their administration machinery in Assam, trouble started along with the traditional customary
line. The Tibetan started forcefiil collection of revenuesfi^omTwang and Longju areas in 1909,
and the Chinese stopped up their military activities around Rima. In view of the growing
military tension and the alleged Chinese activities, the British feh the need for stability in the
region especially along the traditional dividing line and for that matter, a military fi-ontier line
was required. ^^
2 8
DELIMITATION AND DEMARCATION OF INDIA'S NORTHERN BOUNDARY
BY TREATIES:
It is a reality and fact that India's northern fi-ontier has not been formally demarcated
along its entire length. In fact the terrain of her northernfi-ontieris very difficult and makes the
demarcations on the ground impossible at various places. As a matter of fact, India's northern
fi-ontier treated as recognised frontier on account of its tradition, customs and geography.
During the last 300 years whenever the question raised by concerned parties respective
Governments regarding their frontiers exact location and demarcation. In the past time to time
the matter was discussed and the borders were delimited and in some sectors, demarcated on
ground by the concerned parties. India's Northern Boundaries delimited and demarcated in few
sectors through the following treaties
and Agreements :-
1 ]
Peace Treaty of 1684
AD.
2]
Sanganli Treaty of 1815 A.D.
3]
Peace Treaty of 1842 AD.
4] An Agreement of 1852 AD. 5] Sinchu La Pass treaty 1865 AD. 6] Anglo-Chinese
4]
An Agreement of 1852 AD.
5]
Sinchu La Pass treaty 1865 AD.
6]
Anglo-Chinese Convention of 1890 AD.
7]
Simla Convention of 1914 AD.
8]
An Agreement for Trade and Intercourse 1954 AD .
1] Treaty of 1684 A.D. :- Actually Ladakh was an Independent state but in 1664 AD. came
under the suzerainty of the Mughal empire. The treaty of 1684 A.D. it was signed as result of
the end of Ladakh - Tibet war in which frontier between Ladakh and Tibet were determined.
The final" delimitations " of the boundary line was approved by the treaty which was signed by
the King of Ladakh Skyed-Ida-Ngeema-Gon and Mee-Pham-Wang-Po the Tibetan
plenipotentiary. The matter which is related to border :-
" The boundaries fixed in the beginning when king
Skyid-Ida-Ngeema-Gon
gave kingdom to each of his three sons shall still be maintained."
With reference to the first (above) clause of the treaty , it may be explained that roughly
speaking king Skyed-Ida-Ngeema-Gon gave the following territories to his sons :-
a] To the eldest son :- The countries now known as Ladakh and Purig extending from Hanley
on the east to the Zojila Pass on the west and including Rudok and the Gogpo district.
b] To the second son :- Googey Poorang and certain other small districts.
c] To the third son :- Zangskar, Spiti and certain other small districts.^^[for details of the
Treaty, please refer Appendix No.l]
2] Sanganii Treaty of 1815 A.D.:- In between the Middle and the eastern sector of India-
China Border, Nepal Sikkim and Bhutan are of concern to India because Sikkim is a part of
India. And Bhutan and Nepal being bounded by the treaty with India, her defence is India's
responsibility. The Indo-Nepal boundary is peacefiil and not disputed. The Indo-Nepal
boundary has evaluated in two phases. The first phase of evaluation was drawn up on the basis
of Sanganii Treaty in 1815 and the second phase of evaluations was drawn up on the basis of
38
Anglo-Nepalese Treaty of 1921; later the boundary has been successfully demarcated on the ground. [Note
Anglo-Nepalese Treaty of 1921; later the boundary has been successfully demarcated on the
ground. [Note for Sanganli Treaty of 1815 AD. please refer Appendix No.2].
Sino-Nepal boundary :- The total length of this "Sino-Nepal" border is 800 kilometers the
important passes on the Nepal border are Mustang, Kuti, Kindari, Wahug, Chung, Gola and
Hethia. The world famous Everest Peak stand along the Himalayan border of Nepal : The
Nepal China border follows the principal of watershed Sino-Nepal border dispute has settled in
1960 with minor adjustment.^^
3] Treaty of 1842 A.D.:- After the treaty of 1684 AD.the boundaries of western sector
were again confirmed by the treaty of 1842 A.D. The demarcation of this border were
confirmed by this treaty of 1842 A.D. This treaty was signed on 16 & 17th September 1842
A.D. The parties of the treaties were on the one hand, Shri Khalsaji and Shri Maharaj Sahib
Bahadur Raja Gulab Singh and on the other hand the Emperor of China and the Lama Guru of
Lhasa; By this treaty the traditional boundary Ladakh and Tibet was reaffirmed :-
" We shall neither at present nor in future have anything to do or
interfere at all with the boundaries of Ladakh and its surroundings as
fixed from ancient times and will allow the annual export of wool,
shawls and tea by way of Ladakh according to the old established
custom. "
The treaty referred simply to the :
" Boundaries of Ladakh and its surrounding as fixed from ancient times" it means
fi"ontier had been demarcated. Ironically lack of a precise boundary delimitation in the
1842 treaty was due to the fact that boundary was thought to be so patent and well
identified that no question could ever arise over it. It indicates that the treaty was being
concluded between the king of the Shri Khalsaji Sahib and Shri Maharaja Sahib Raja
Rajagan (Raja of Rajas) Raja Sahib Bahadur and the Khagans (Emperor)of China and
the Lama Guru Sahib of Lhasa.^^[for details of Treaty of 1842 A.D. please refer
Appendix No. 3]
Chinese Confirmation of Demarcation of Boundary- The Government of China did
not objected above treaty. Contrary on 20th January 1847 the Chinese Imperial
39
Commissioner at Canton informed the British Governor that there was an "ancient frontier" between Ladakh
Commissioner at Canton informed the British Governor that there was an "ancient
frontier" between Ladakh and Tibet and that it was needless to establish any other. A
week earlier i.e. on 13 January 1847 the Chinese official had written to the British
Government :-
" Respecting the frontiers, I beg to remark that the borders of these
territories have been sufficiently and distinctly fixed so that it will be
best to adhere to this ancient arrangement and it will prove for more
convenient to abstainfrom any additional measuresfor fixing them. ^^
4) Treaty" of 1852 A.D.:- This agreement was signed between the two Garpons or
provincial Governors appointed by the Dalai Lama and the representative of Maharaja
of Kashmir. The ancient demarcation of boundary between Ladakh and Tibet was once
again reaffirmed by this treaty. Some important matter :-
" The boundary between Ladakh and Tibet will remain the same as before.
No restrictions shall be laid by the people ofRudak on the export of salt and
woolen goods and import of barley fiour and barley."
Further:-
Th-'SQ^d-
" Both the parties shall adhere strictly to the agreement thus arrived at
between Tibet andSingpas (Kashmir) and the twofrontier officers shall act
in perfect accord and co-operation, ^^
The demarcation pillars were sufficiently evident in 1854. The British Indian travellers
who officially visited the Ladakh area, stated that the boundary between Ladakh and
Tibet was well defined. Alexander Cunningham also stated :-
" A large stone was there (after the expulsion of the Mongols) set up as a
permanent boundary between the two countries, the line of demarcation being
drawnfrom the village ofDechhog (Demachok) to the hill
ofkarbonas."
So the western sector of India's northern border were demarcated and confirmed by the
treaty of 1684, 1842, 1852[for details of Treaty of 1852, please refer Appendix No.
4]. In 1873 A.D. the British again considered pushing their boundary from Karakoram
40
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to Kuen Lan Since Yakub Beg the ruler of Sinkiang himself considered that the southern
to Kuen Lan Since Yakub Beg the ruler of Sinkiang himself considered that the
southern border of his country lay along the Kuen Lun range - The Chinese boundary
of Sinkiang had never extended south of the Kuen Lans range. ^2
5] Sincha La Pass Treaty of 1865 A.D.:- Bhutan is a protectorate state of the
Government of India and enjoining a degree of autonomy under the Indians authority.
According to the treaty of 1910 which was signed between Bhutan and British India,
the latter would be the sole spokesman for Bhutan's external affairs. This treaty was
supplemented in 1949 where under India appears to be the only competent authority to
regulate the external affairs of Bhutan. The Indo-Bhutanese boundary has developed as
a resuh of the Sincha La Pass treaty which was concluded in 1865. The boundary
alignment has been demarcated by stone pillars [for details of Sincha La Pass Treaty,
please refer Appendix No.5].
The Bhutan Tibet boundary extended 500 kilometers long the boundary between
Bhutan and Tibet however has not been very precisely defined. But it is a traditional
one and following the crest of the Himalayas. The Chinese claimed near about 300
square miles of Bhutanese territory. The border dispute between Bhutan and China is
yet to be settled. The political negotiations for the settlement of the border dispute is
being continued.^-^
6] Anglo - Chinese Convention of 1890 A.D.:- The boundary of Sikkim with
Tibet extends for a distance of about 225 kilometers. In 1890 Great Britain and China
concluded a Treaty. The conventions laid down that boundary between Sikkim and
Tibet as the crest of mountain ranges separating the water flowing into Teesta in
Sikkim from the water flowing into the Ma Chu of Tibet [please see Appendix No. 6].
This treaty was signed in Calcutta on 17th March, 1890 and was demarcated in 1895.
There is no dispute concerning Sikkim's boundary with Tibet as it was jointly demar-
cated on the ground in 1895 A.D.64
7] Simla Agreement of 1914:- The present border between the Arunachal
Pradesh (India) and Tibet [China] known as a "McMohan Line" which was accepted at
Tripartite conference among Great Britain. China and Tibet was held in 1914 at Simla.
This was attended by the representative of the British Indian government, Dalai Lama
41
Histcrrical development of eastern sector boundary Sketch No. 5 : - India's Northern Boundary [
Histcrrical
development of
eastern sector boundary
Sketch
No.
5
: -
India's Northern Boundary
[ Eastern Sector
]
Sources
: Rana Satya PaultOur
Norther n
Border
:
Ihdi a
China Border Dispute ,
The oooks
Time Company, New Delfci,
1963.
of Tibet and Ivan Chen Chinese representative. At this conference the British Government proposed that
of Tibet and Ivan Chen Chinese representative. At this conference the British
Government proposed that an imaginary live be drawn from the Himalayan crest line
towards eastern extremity of the Lohit division and this proposal approved the
boundary between India and Tibet. The word imaginary was used for the reason that in
those days it was not physically possible to reach the snow covered mountains peaks
and set the boundary identification marks. This proposal was drafted by Sir Henry
McMohan who was Secretary to the political department of British India. It was
bilateral agreement and attended by the plenipotentiaries of the Government of India.
Tibet and China having equal states. An exchange of notes between the Tibetan and
India representative took place in March 1914, confirmed the boundary between India
and Tibet. The Tibetan representative Lohchen Shatra accepted the proposal. It was
actually delineated on two large scale maps after fijll discussion and these maps were
signed and sealed by
Indian and Tibetan Plenipotentiaries. [See Sketch No. 4]. The
boundary as delimited on the maps was later confirmed by the formal exchange of notes
and the map itself was attached to the draft convention. The Chinese representative
Ivan Chan, explained that unless he went back to Peking and explained the proposal to
his Government he woyld not be able to sign it. When the Tri-partite Conference was
held at Simla in 1914, Burma was a part of India. After that the British Government
was engaged to conduct the First World War and the Chinese were engaged in
revolution. Hence the matter remained pending. In the years that followed, neither the
British nor the Chinese considered it necessary to open the question of McMohan Line.
So the McMohan Line came to be recognised as the Himalayan Border of India and
Tibet in the Arunachal Pradesh. [Please see Sketch No. 5].^^
After India's independence in 1947 Arunachal Pradesh remained an integral part
of India and the McMohan line was considered as a border between and China in the
eastern sector. Since there was no objection raised, a question of border dispute was
raised by China after more than ten years of India's independence and owned its origin
to the Tibetan problem of China. In Simla Tri-partite Conference between China, Tibet
and British India, was held in which the Chinese authorities accepted the legacy of
Tibet as a separate political entity. But with the coming of Communist regime in China
several changes took place in the foreign policies of China. Communist China
considered Tibet as their integral part and hence suppressed the Tibetans' right of self-
42
determination. As a part of course of action to control the Tibetans China prevented Tibetans
determination. As a part of course of action to control the Tibetans China prevented
Tibetans to have linkages with India. The Chinese authorities found it essential to
control even the strategically important surrounding areas to annexes even which were
not even under the control of Tibetans i.e. the Aksai Chin. This area was also not
guarded by the Indians though they claimed it as their integral part of state. In such a
situation China grabbed that area with its force and without any agreement or consent
of India. Now in order to understand the nuances of this disputed territory one has to
study in detail the historical and political status of Tibet.^^ China raised no objection to
Indian-Tibet boundary and made no protest when the agreement was published in the
Aitochisen volume in 1929. This was never challenged by the Chinese representative at
the time or later. Only the McMohan Line constituted a well known and recognisable
boundary which China accepted even nine years after Kumintang regime. ^^
8]
Panchsheel Treaty of 1954:- On 29th April, 1954 the treaty was signed
between India and China this is known as a Panchsheel Agreement. Through this :-
" Trade and Intercourse Agreement of 1954 " the traditional boundary in the middle
sector was recognised. Article 4 of this agreement namely the "Shipki Pass Area,
Nilang-Jadhang, Barahoti, Sangchamalla and Lapthal", which lie west and south of the
border passes mentioned in this article have been traditionally under Indian control.
Till 1953 there has never been dispute about this sector of the boundary. But
the claim is clearly motivated as these places are important to china as military bases for
a future intention into Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Till 1953 there were no
objectionsfi-omChinese to this historical and geographical delimitation.^^ As far as the
boundary in the area of Spiti is concerned it was covered by the treaties at 1684 A.D.
and 1842 A.D.(already covered in this chapter). Since Spiti in those years along with
the adjoining areas of Lahul formed of Ladakh. But neither they accepted the validity of
two treaties and nor an agreement of Trade and Intercourse of 1954. The Chinese view
is that an Agreement of 1954 was primarily for trade and not for any settlement of
boundary disputes. "^ Barahoti lies south of the watershed between
the Sutlaj and the
Alaknanda Rivers and has always been governed by Garhwal District through Patwari
posted there. Sangcha Malla and Lapthal located in Almora district are south of the
Balcha Dhura Pass on the watershed and had always been under Indian administration.
43
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Nilang had been under the administration of Tehri Darbar continuously since the 17th century and
Nilang had been under the administration of Tehri Darbar continuously since the 17th
century and came under the administrative control of Uttar Pradesh after the merger to
Tehri state with India in 1948. An area of Spiti lying south west of the watershed
between Pare Chu and the Spiti systems had been under control of Punjab and later
under Himachal Pradesh7^ History proves that disputed area declared by China has
always been under effective Indian jurisdiction all along. Therefore Chinese claim on
the basis of "Administration, Jurisdiction, Customs and Tradition treaties and
documents " in the Central Sector is not valid.
2 9
ARRIVAL OF BRITISH AND AN ATTEMPT OF DEMARCATION
From 1684 to 1914 an attempt was made to delimit and demarcate India's northern border with
Tibet and China. But due to difficult nature of terrain only through the treaties her boundary
were delimited on the basis of "geographical factor". And in those days Science and
Technology was not so much advanced at that time. But meanwhile British came to India and
established their colony and India became a part of British empire. To check the Russian threat
British were sincerely made their efforts to demarcate the Ladakh's border with Tibet and
Sinkiang but due to poor response by Chinese and their internal problem, the Ladakh's frontier
with Tibet and Sinkiang remained undemarcated and therefore India's stand now, while
demarcating of Ladakh's border with Tibet and Sinkiang "Historical Delimitations" should be
considered as an important factor.
During British period, their attempts of "Demarcations" of Ladakh's frontier with Tibet and
Sinkiang is as follows > [Please see Sketch No. 6]
2.9.1. : Geo strategic Perception of British on India and Making of Northern Borders ;-
The British interest was to secure their empire from Russian advance when the passes across
the Hindukush and the Karakoram would become accessible to them. At first they tried to
"Induce" Afghanistan and China to occupy this area but they realised that neither of them was
in a position to "resist" the Russian advance nor were they willing to oblige the British by
taking on this responsibility.'^
2.9.2. Scheme of Neutral Zone - McCartney:- Taking into consideration the Russian
advance towards India, McCartney suggested a scheme of "Neutral Zone". He suggested that
British could take up the issue and establish a "Neutral State". Such a state would incorporate
44
all the mountainous region between the crest and the Karakoram and the Mustagh ranges on
all the mountainous region between the crest and the Karakoram and the Mustagh ranges on
one side and the other be limited by the line drawn by the from about Tachkurghan to Kugiar
and thence skirt the mountains till Polu on the Kuen Lun range. Such places as the
Taghdumbash Pamir, the Raskum District and ShahiduUa would thus comprise the "Neutral
Zone". However, this proposal did not favour with British and was rejected.
2.9.3. Ardagh Line [1897-98]:- Sir John Ardagh, Director Military Intelligence, observed
that the Chinese were weak, incapable of defending Sinkiang, and the Russians seemed very
eager to advance into Sinkiang. He apprehended Russian advance and occupation of the area
between Karakoram and Kuen Lun which was required by the British as neutral frontier
between India and Kuen Lun ranges.
The boundary line determined by the Government of India in the great mountain ranges
North of Chitral, Hunza and Ladakh ranges was flawed as it did not match the actual
watershed. He therefore, suggested that the boundary of British India should follow -
"basin of the DangaBash River and its effluents above Dehda at the junction of the
Ilbis Su and Karatchukan
of the Yarkand River above the point where it breaks
through range of mountains marked by the Sargon and Ilbis Birkar Passes and about
Latitude 37^ North and Longitude 74^ 50' East and of the Karakash river above a
point between ShahiduUa and Sanju or Grim Pass"
Voiceroy Lord Elgin rejected this proposal of Ardagh Line on the ground that NO invader has
ever approached India from this direction, where already nature has placed such formidable
barriers. ^^
2.9.4. MacDonald Line [1899]:- In 1899 A.D., the matter came again under discussion
among the members of Elgin's Government in India. Sir C. MacDonald wrote to the T-Sungli
Yamen on 14 March 1899 A.D. On the subject of the boundary between the Indian state of
Kashmir and the new Dominion of Chinese Turkistan. The line proposed by Government of
British India was briefly as follows. It may be seen by reference to the map of the Russo-
Chinese frontier brought by the late minister Hung Chun from St. Petersburg and in
possessions of the Yamen. In short the proposal given by McDonald was like this:-
45
"Commencing on the little Pamir from the point at which the Anglo-Russian boundary commission of
"Commencing on the little Pamir from the point at which the Anglo-Russian boundary
commission of 1895 A.D. completed their work. It runs south-east crossing the
Karachikar stream and Mintaka, Aghazi, then proceeding in the same direction, it
joins at Karchenai Pass the crest of the main ridge of the Muztagh range. It follows
this to the south passing by Khunjerab Pass and continues southwards to the peak just
north of the Shimshal Pass. At this point, the boundary leaves the crest and follows
a spur running approximately parallel to the roadfrom the Shimsal to the Hunza Post
at Darwaza. The line turning South through the post crosses the road at this point and
then ascends the nearest high spur and rejoins the main crest line and follows it
through Muzlagh, Gusherbrun, Satoro and passes through the Karakoram Pass. From
the Karakoram Pass , the crest of the range runs East for about half a degree and
then turns to little below the 35th Parallel of North Latitude. Rounding it, what in our
maps is shown as the source of the Karakash, the line of hills to be followed runs
Northeast to the point East ofKizil Jilga andfrom there in a South easterly direction
follows the Lak Tsung range until that meets the spur running South from the Kuen
Lun range which hitherto had been shown on our maps as the Eastern boundary of
Ladakh. ^-^ This is littl^ East of8(P East Longitude.
The main object of British Government appeared to be to avoid any dispute or
uncertainty in the fiiture, and to arrive at clear understanding with regard to the frontier
between the two States and further that China should relinquish her shadowy claim to
suzerainty over Kanjut. The Indian Government on the other hand will on behalf of Kanjut
relinquish her claims to most of the Taghdumbash Pamir and Raksam Districts.
Chinese did not respond to this proposal. Meanwhile, Russian reply was " the matter is
between the Indian government and China and Russia had nothing to say". This Russian
decision was communicated to Tsungli Yamen, but he refiased to cultivate in Raksam being
apprehensive of Russia. On 6th January 1899, Elgin was replaced by Curzon. China on account
of her internal instability stopped interfering in the region South of Kuen Lun mountains. The
Anglo - agreement of 1907 resulted in removing the fear of Russian interference in this region
in true sense. Hunza began to cultivate Raskam lands from 1914 onwards.
In the meantime, Chinese and the Tibetans continued to encroach in the Indian
territories in the Northeast. Consequently, British negotiated with Tibetans and Chinese and the
46
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Boundary was finalised at tripartite Simla conference in 1914, but a status quo was maintained
Boundary was finalised at tripartite Simla conference in 1914, but a status quo was maintained
in the Western Sector ever since 1900. British strategy behind the delimitation of Kashmir's
boundary was a part of cold war strategy to secure our Northern borders from Russia. This
was disadvantageous from Indian point of view. It also resulted into dilution of India's claim
over Kashmir. A line which was only based on military strategy was proposed by MacDonald.
Though nothing came out of the MacDonald's proposal of 14th March 1899, British gave a
positive weapon to the Chinese to play with at an appropriate time. This they effectively used
after 1952 and the Government of India belatedly recognised in 1954.^4
2 10
TERRITORIAL CLAIM BY CHINA AND INDIA ON HIMALAYAN BORDER
AREAS:
Above all, strategic significance of India - China Border determines the perceptions of
both the Countries of their Himalayan border. Thus their territorial claims are as follows: (Please
see Index Map).
2.10.1. Chinese Claim:- According to Peking, the boundary as drawn in Indian maps cut
about 38,000 square kilometers deep into Chinese territory. The Chinese claim that neither
British nor Indian administration has ever extended to these places in the past or the present.
The Chinese claim some 50,000 square miles of Indian territory. The disputed area has
generally been considered into these areas.^^ [please see Sketch No. 7].
a) Western Sector:- The boundary of Jammu and Kashmir with Sinkiang and with Tibet
is a disputed territory measuring some 13,000 to 15,000 kilometers. In this area,, China claims
the Aksai Chin district, the Changchenmo valley, Pengong Lake and the Spangur Tso area of
Northern Ladakh as well as a strip of land about 5,000 square kilometers down the entire
length of Eastern Ladakh. ^^
b) The Middle Sector:- Conforms to the boundary with Himachal Pradesh and Uttar
Pradesh with Tibet. The Chinese claim nearly 1,300 square kilometers in this area. Barahoti,
Nilang Jadhang Sangcha Malla, Lapthal Chue-Chuje, Shipki Pass and Pussing, Sundo Barahoti
with an area of about a four square kilometers. Nilang Jadhang belongs to Tibet. Tibet has
been exercising jurisdiction over this area. Sangcha Malla and Lapthal claimed by China are
other areas situated in the Almora district of Uttar Pradesh. They form 3 to 10 kilometers
47
Sketch No. 8 - Shows India-China Border Dispute : Western Sector Claim line by India
Sketch No. 8 - Shows India-China
Border Dispute :
Western Sector Claim line by India and China.
Sources :Methew Thomas - Indian Defence Review.
Lancer International Publisher, Delhi, 1988.
South of the border. Another claim of China pertains to Nilang jadhang, an area of
South of the border. Another claim of China pertains to Nilang jadhang, an area of about 140
square kilometers situated at the main watershed and to the North of the main Himalayan
77
range.
c)
The Eastern Sector:- Conforms to the boundary of Arunachal Pradesh with Tibet. In
this sector, the Chinese claim about 94,700 square kilometers of Indian territory including the
Kameng Frontier division and three fourths of the Lohit division of the erstwhile North East
Frontier Agency, Tawang and Longju area are the most critical in this area.^^ [ Sikkim's border
with Tibet is already demarcated on ground. There is no dispute regarding Sikkim's boundary
with China (Tibet)].
2.10.2. India's Claim:- India's Northern border is defined and recognised by various treaties,
customs and traditions by both the countries. India claims that Chinese have occupied 2,500
square miles in the Western Sector (Ladakh) in addition to 12,000 square miles occupied in
1962 through aggression [please see Sketch No.8]. In the Eastern Sector, 20,000 square miles
of Indian territory is under illegal occupation of China after declaring unilateral cease fire on
21 November 1962. China has also occupied Longju which is on McMohan Line. Since this
territory has been forcefiilly occupied by China, she must vacate it.^^ According to Indian
Express, 19 Nov. 1987 (New Delhi) India also claims that in mid Jun. 1986, about 40 Chinese
personnel intruded about 2 to 3 kilometers into the Somdurong Chu Valley [please see Sketch
No. 13]. India strongly condemns-this forcefiil occupation of Indian territory and China should
return all these territories without any preconditions.
2.10.3, Actual Problems and Area of Conflict:- The border dispute culminated into the 1962
conflict and has been intensively analysed by academicians, scholars, journalists and military
authorities. Various papers have been presented and research conducted. The studies shows
two distinct schools of thoughts; one which :-
(1)
Believes that India's stand is correct, and
(2)
Is convinced that China is in "illegal occupation of
large chunk of Indian
territory".
48
It seems that there are two issues in the border conflict; firstly, the dispute over
It seems that there are two issues in the border conflict; firstly, the dispute over the
validity of the McMohan Line in the Eastern Sector, and secondly, ownership of Aksai-chin
region in the Western Sector.
Insofar as the border dispute is concerned, Chinese motive appears to secure India's
acquiescence to the occupation of Aksai-Chin in return for a formal recognition of McMohan
Line; but India refuses to accept this contention since China had already accepted McMohan
Line as a legal boundary along the watershed between Burma and China on 1st October
1960.80
The cordial settlement of China's boundary with Nepal, Burma and Pakistan, and
having recognised Burmese Section of the McMohan Line as a legal boundary separating
Burma and China, she cannot logically claim the Indian Section of the McMohan Line as
"illegal" and an "Imperialist" legacy. In any case, the claims put forward by China against the
above said Countries were either not substantial, or even if they were; they had been
effectively settled before they were allowed to become prestige issues in relation to China's
psycho-political posturing.
China constructed a road through Aksai-Chin and thus established a link between
Sinkiang and Tibet, being important from her point of view. Its military significance lies in the
fact that this enables China to establish control over Tibetan population and provides it a
strong logistic capability to sustain its border posts.
China also made it clear that Aksai-Chin is not negotiable. China is not prepared to
withdraw from any part of Aksai-Chin because of its strategic importance as it helps them
maintain a link between Sinkiang and Tibet and logistically support its border posts. Thus they
would not like to loose their hold of the Karakoram highway.
In the case of India, the boundary issue especially Aksai-Chin, is synonymous with
national prestige. It has for us the same psycho-political impact that Kashmir has for Pakistan.
Whereas, China settled her border dispute with Burma, Nepal and Pakistan, but she has
allowed the border dispute with India to be prolonged and equated with national prestige, and
hence India refused the Chinese package deal.^l
49
Tawang and Longju areas are most critical and disputable in the Eastern Sector. China claims
Tawang and Longju areas are most critical and disputable in the Eastern Sector. China
claims that Tibet had previously exercised authority over these areas this authority should
consequently be transferred to China In support of her claim, China produced records of
certain taxes maintained by the Tibetan monks. However, these records merely pertained to
collections of religious gifts and donations being collected by Tibetans from Tawang area. The
British administration had permitted these to be collected as a friendly gesture. In reality
however, both British and India had administered this region. ^2
Tawang assumes a special strategic interest for both the Countries, as it lies along the
Eastern borders of Bhutan. China demands that she would like to vacate less important areas in
Ladakh, and in return, India should cede equivalent area in Tawang as a price. India however
has made it clear that Tawang is not negotiable.^^ The actual problem is that China holds the
entire Arunachal Pradesh as disputed area having been illegally occupied by India. India on the
other hand maintains that China should first vacate Aksai-Chin area. This the Chinese are
unlikely to do as it establishes a link between Sinkiang and Tibet and hence it has assumed
additional importance for China, who wants India to accept the package deal.^^
It is thus apparent that China .s determined to continue holding on to the bulk of
38,000 square kilometers area it has illegally occupied in Ladakh by force during the period
1954 to 1963 [ meaning compel India to cede ] and in return, give up its claim on 90,000
square kilometers of area in Arunachal Pradesh that she has not presently occupied. In
addition, she might also give up her claim to some territories in the Western Sector besides
recognising the McMohan Line in the Eastern Sector.
India insists that China should vacate all the areas that she occupied by force during the
period 1954-62. Since then a number of rounds of border talks have been held, frequent ges-
tures of friendship have been made and false hopes aroused regarding the settlement of the vital
border dispute but the settlement eludes. China shows no inclination to vacate any of her
territorial gains and India cannot reach a genuine and durable accord on any other basis.
Exchanges of delegation in various fields do not touch the core of the problem. ^^
"Border dispute" is certainly an obstacle towards development of harmonious relations
between these two contiguous countries. Hence peaceful coexistence, development, and
security is jeopardised. It has been rightly stated by Dr. B.R.Ambedkar, that "boundary
50
marking" is the job of surveyors and "boundary making" is the job of statesmen. In
marking" is the job of surveyors and "boundary making" is the job of statesmen. In case of
India, Northern boundaries which were never formally demarcated actually on ground through-
out the history, has become a source of conflict and has consequently affected relations
between the two Countries.
If the India-China frontier had been formally marked on ground by pillars, vistas or
barbed wire fencing, there would not have been a border dispute resulting into a war of 1962.
The crux of the border dispute lies in the differing perceptions of both the contending powers
i.e. India and China.It seems that China, in order to secure her Southern frontiers, needed to I
occupy Tibet and consequently embarked upon the policy of aggression. In furtherance of her
aggressive designs, she claimed even the areas beyond Tibet and thereby legitimise her claim on
Tibet. Moreover, she has used the "undemarcated" nature of boundary between India and
China'to her advantage to lay excessive claims over Indian territory which they considered
strategically important for their expansionist policy. On the other hand, India's perceptions with
regard to China's border seems to be more submissive for the reason may be that the Indian
leaders wanted to lead the Afro-Asian region at the time of second liberation wave during the
fifties and sixties. Secondly, during the early years of democracy in India, most of the energy of
the political leaders was wasted in settling the internal contradictions and conflicts. They did
not have spare time to give more attention to the Himalayan border areas and the demarcation
of the boundary on the ground. A preconceived notion about the high mountain ranges of
Himalaya could serve the purpose of security and frustrate aggressor's intervention. Thus, they
had not even thought of demarcating the boundary line on ground.
51
FOOTNOTES 1) Government of India, The Sinio - Indian Border Dispute: Questions and Answers[ Ministry
FOOTNOTES
1)
Government
of India, The Sinio - Indian Border Dispute: Questions and
Answers[
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Publication Division, 1963 ].pp 23-24.
2)
B. L. Sukhwal, India - A Political Geography [ Allied Publishers, Bombay - 1, 1971 ],
pp 211-14.
3)
Pounds, Norman J. G., Political Geography. [ McGraw Hill Book Company Inc, 1963,
pp 57-59,
4)
Martin,Ira and Hami Blij, Systematic Political Geography [John Wiley and Sons, New
York, Chinchester, Brisbane, Toronto, Ilird Edition, 1980, Canada ]. p 84.
5)
Pounds, Norman J. G., opp cit pp 57-59.
6)
R. C. Sharma & D. K. Arya (EditlManagement of Issues and Operational Planning for
India's Border [ Scholar Publishing Forum, New Delhi, 1991 ], p 13.
7)
Martin Ira and HamiBlij [ Ilnd Edition, 1973 ], op cit, ppl36-138.
8)
T.
S.
Murthy,
Paths
of Peace
[Studies
on
Sine - Indian
Border
Dispute,
ABC
Publishing House, New Delhi, 1983], pp 38-40.
9)
A. W. Weight &. Others, Principles of Political Geography. [New York, Appleton
Century Crafts, 1957], pp 95-96.
10)
R. C. Sharma & D. K. Arya (Edit), op cit p 135.
11)
Sudhakar Bhat, India and China Popular Book Series, New Delhi, 1967, p 56.
12)
B. L. Sukhwal (1971), op cit pp 206-207.
13)
Sahadev Vohra, Parameters of a Border Settlement with China Mainstream. March 31,
1990, Vol - xxviii. No 23, New Delhi-l,pp 16-18.
14)
R.K.Chatterjee.India's Land Border: Problems and Challenges. [ Sterling Publishers,
New Delhi, 1978 ], pp 83-84.
52
15) Government of India, The Nation Paper. [Director of Field Publicity, Ministry of Information &
15)
Government of India, The Nation Paper. [Director of Field Publicity, Ministry of
Information & Broadcasting, New Delhi, 1963 ], pp 143-144.
16)
V. B. Kamik, Chinese Invasion : Background and Sequel [Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
Bombay - 7, 1966] pp 165-166.
17) Government of India, Notes. Memoranda and Letters Exchanged and Agreements
Signed Between India and China. 1954-59.[Ministry of External Affairs India, New Delhi,
1962], pp 53-54.
18)
B. L. Sukhwal, op cit (1971), pp 203-204.
19)
Tejvir Singh and Jagdish Kaur. Studies In Economic Development Himalayan Mountain
and Men [ Print House. Lucknow. 1983 ], p 6.20)
K.
Krishnarao,
The
Sino - Indian
Boundary Question And International Law" [ Information Service of India, 1963],pp35-36.
21)
K. Krishnarao, op cit p 3.
22)
Sahdev Vohra, (Mainstream), op cit pp 18-19.
23)
Sudeepta Adhikari and Akhauri Radhakrishna Sinha, India's International
Boundaries.The Geographical Review of India. Vol 50, No 12, June 1988,[ The Geographical
Society of India, Calcutta, 1955 ], pp 83-84.
24) Gondkar Narayan Rao.'The India - China Border-A Reappraisal [Asian Publication
House, New Delhi - 1968], p 10.
25)
Tejvir Singh and Jagdish Kaur op cit p 380.
26)
Brigadier Tej Bahadur kapoor (Retd), Ladakh - The Wonderiand: A Geographical .
Historical and Sociological Studies
[ Mittal Publication, New Delhi - 35, 1987 ] p 9.
27)
Ibid pp 91-92.
28)
C. S. Bose, Geography of The Himalava [ National Book Trust India, 1972 ] pp 32-36.
53
29) O. P. Singh, The Himalaya: Nature. Man and Culture [ Rajesh Publications, New Delhi
29)
O. P. Singh, The Himalaya: Nature. Man and Culture [ Rajesh Publications, New Delhi
- 1983 ] p
234.
30)
C. S. Bose, opcitp 153.
31)
Ibid pp 173-175.
32) P. C. Chakravarti, India-China Relations [ Mukhopadhyay Publishers, 6/1 A
Banchharam Ankur Lane, Calcutta - 12, 1961 India ] p 146.
33) Major Sitaram Johri (Retd).Chinese Invasion Of NEFA [Himalayan Publication ,
Lucknow, 1968 India ] pp 18-19.
34)
Rana Satyapaul (Edit), Our Northern Borders: India-China Border Dispute " [ The
Books Time Company, New Delhi, 1963] p 21.
35)
K Krishnarao (1963) op cit p 5.
36)
General K. V. Krishna Rao (Retd) op cit p 69-70.
37)
Ibid p 72-73.
38) Prof Tokan Dsum, Mastao Oki and Fida M. Husnain, Ladakh: The Moonland [ Lights
and Life Publishers, Tilak Street, New Delhi-55, 1975 ] p 5.
39)
Ibid p 7.
40)
Ibid pp 8-10.
41)
Surya P. Sharma. India's Boundary and Territorial Dispute
[ Vikas Publication, New Delhi - 6, 1971 ] pp 20-21.
42)
Girilal Jain, Panchasheel and After
[ Asia Publication House, Bombay - 1, 1963 ] p 20.
43)
R. K. Chatterjee, op cit p 115.
44)
V.B.Kamik.Chinese
Invasion:
Background
and
Sequel
(Bharatiya
Vidya
Bhavan,
Bombay, 1966], pp 132-33.
54
45) B. L. Sukhwal (1971) op cit p 205.5 46) C. D. Bruce (Retd Major),
45)
B. L. Sukhwal (1971) op cit p 205.5
46)
C. D. Bruce (Retd Major), Chinese Turkistan
[ Central Asian Society, London 1907 ]
pp8-10.
47)
G.J.Alder, British. India's Northern Frontier 1865-95[London 1963] pp 25-30.
48)
S. P. Sen op cit 87-89.
49) Government of India, White Paper No. 2 [ Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi,
November 1959 ] p 129 See also Major Sitaram Johri (Retd), Chinese Invasion of
NEFA-fPIimalavan Publishers, Lucknow, 1968, India], pp 21-23.
50)
R. K. Chatterjee, op cit p 155.
51)
Sudhakar Bhat, op cit pp 48-49.
52)
R. L. Singh & K. N. Singh, op cit pp 443-444.
53)
Government Of India, Concluding Chapters of The Report of The Indian Official on the
Boundary Question. [ Ministry of External Affairs, 1961 ] pp 111-112.
54)
K. Krishnarao, (1963) op cit pp 5-9.
55)
Gondkar Narayan Rao, op cit pp 72-73.
56)
Sudeepta Adhikari and Akhauri Radhakrishna Sinha, ["Geograph ical Review] op cit pp
74-75.
57)
S. P. Sen, (Edit) op cit 65-66.
58)
Government of India, The Sino - Indian Boundary Text of Treaties. Agreements and
Certain Exchange of Notes Relating To The Sino - Indian Boundary". [ The Indian Society of
International Law, Parliament Street, New Delhi - 1, 1962 ] pp 110-111.
59)
Government of India, White Paper VII (New Delhi, 1962) pp 170-171. See also S. P.
Sen The Sino - Indian Border Question & Historical Review. (Institute of Historical Studies,
Calcutta, 1971) pp 138-139.
55
60) Ibid pp 117-118. 61) SuryaP. Sharma, 1965opcitpp 114-115. 62) Surya P. Sharma, The India-China
60)
Ibid pp 117-118.
61)
SuryaP. Sharma, 1965opcitpp 114-115.
62)
Surya P. Sharma, The India-China Border Dispute. An Indian Perspective. tMinistrv of
External Affairs. Government of India. New Delhi. 1967],pp. 21-22.
63)
Sahadev Vohra, "Sinkiang and Ladakh" USI Journal pp 115-117.
64)
Surya P. Sharma, op cit (1967}, p 13.
65)
M. G. Abhyankar, Defense Principle and OrganisationrUsha Prakashan, University of
Poona, 1974 ]pp 24-25.
66)
B. L. Sukhwal, (1971) op cit pp 205-206.
67)
Government
of India, Notes. Memoranda and Letters Exchanged
and Agreement
Signed
between Government of India and China. 1954-59. fWhite Paper] [ Ministry of External
Affairs India, New Delhi] pp 53-54.
68)
R. K. Chatterjee, op cit pp 116-117.
69)
B. L. Sukhwal (1971) op cit pp 207-209.
70)
Government of India, "Report of The OfiRcials of The Govern ment of India and
Peoples Republic of China On The Boundary Question [ Ministry Of External Affairs,
Publication Division, 1961] pp 17-18.
71)
J. S. Bains, India's International Dispute: A Legal Study
[ Asia Publishing House, Bombay, 1962 ]pp 154-155.
72)
Sahadev Vohra, [ USI Journal ] op cit p 118.
73) ^DryS . S. Bajpai, India - China
Boundary: Western Sector [Seminar Paper, Fifth Annual
Conference of the Institute of Historical Studies, Punjab University, Patiala, Dec 1967].
74)
Ibid
56
75) S. P. Sen, op cit pp 109-110. 76) Sudhakar Bhat, op cit p 60.
75)
S. P. Sen, op cit pp 109-110.
76)
Sudhakar Bhat, op cit p 60.
77)
B. L. Sukhwal, op cit pp 204-208.
78)
Ibid pp 210-214.
79)
Government of India, The Sino - Indian Border Dispute: Cues tions and Answers [
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Publication Division, 1963 ] pp 23-24.
80)
Government of India, Foreign Policy of India.[Loksabha Secretariat, New Delhi, 1987
]pl2.
81)
Karunakar Gupta,Dou|)tfiil Documents, Frontline. 23 Aug 1986, Madras, p 12.
82)
B. L. Sukhwal, Modem Political Geography of India. (Allied Publishers, Bombay,
1981), pp 96-97.
83)
Karunakar Gupta, op cit p 12.
84)
Career and Competition Success. June. 1986, Madras,ppl2-13.
85)
Ibid p 15.
57