THE MCMAHON LINE

  • Two United States Senators have introduced a bipartisan resolution reiterating that the US recognises the McMahon Line as the international boundary between China and India in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The resolution reaffirms India’s well-known and established position that Arunachal Pradesh, which China calls ‘South Tibet’, is an integral part of India.

What is the McMahon Line?

  • The McMahon Line serves as the de facto boundary between China and India in the Eastern Sector.
  • It specifically represents the boundary between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, from Bhutan in the west to Myanmar in the east.

China’s claimes:

  • China has historically disputed the boundary and claims the state of Arunachal Pradesh as part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR).
  • The McMahon Line was drawn during the Simla Convention of 1914, officially described as the Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet.
  • The McMahon Line delimited the respective spheres of influence of Tibet and Northeast India and Northern Myanmar.

The Simla Convention:

  • The border in this region was undefined prior to the signing of the convention.
  • The convention attempted to settle the question of Tibet’s sovereignty and avoid further territorial disputes in the region.
  • The treaty divided the Buddhist region into “Outer Tibet” and “Inner Tibet”:
  • Outer Tibet would remain in the hands of the Tibetan Government at Lhasa under Chinese suzerainty, though China was not allowed to interfere in its affairs.
  • Inner Tibet would be under the direct jurisdiction of the newly formed Republic of China.
  • It also determined the border between China proper and Tibet as well as Tibet and British India.
  • While a draft convention was agreed upon by all three countries on April 27, 1914, China immediately repudiated it.
  • The final convention was only signed by McMahon on behalf of the British government and Shatra on behalf of Lhasa.
  • China did not consent to the convention, arguing that Tibet had no independent authority to enter into international agreements.

How was the border between British India and China decided?

  • The 890-km border from the corner of Bhutan to the Isu Razi Pass on the Burma border was drawn largely along the crest of the Himalayas, following the “highest watershed principle”.
  • This principle, considered to be the most logical way of drawing borders in mountainous regions by the British, basically drew the border along the highest ridge between two river plains.

Exceptions:

  • Tawang, which would have been a part of Tibet had this principle been uniformly implemented, was included in British India due to its proximity to the Assam Valley.

Status of the McMahon line since 1914

  • During the 1962 Sino-Indian War, China was able to quickly overpower India and make deep inroads into Indian territory across the McMahon Line.
  • However, its forces retreated to pre-war positions after the unilateral ceasefire was announced.

SOURCE: THE HINDU, THE ECONOMIC TIMES, PIB

About ChinmayaIAS Academy - Current Affairs

Check Also

Powers of the Governor

The Governor is the constitutional head of the state who is appointed by the President …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Free Updates to Crack the Exam!
Subscribe to our Newsletter for free daily updates