China has no claim on Tibet and East Turkestan, what to talk of Ladakh
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 02 Jul , 2020

The history of South Asia and China was dominated by the British broadly from the 17th century to mid-20th century. Today, almost seven decades after the exit of the British, India and China remain unable to reconcile to their new destinies and move on. Border identified and delineated at the time of the British rule has become an issue and is dominating the political spectrum. Over almost seven decades and even after fighting a full-fledged war, it has not seen settlement. To find a way forward it is necessary to go briefly into the history that impacts the situation.

Ladakh was conquered by General Zorawar Singh and amalgamated into the Sikh Empire in 1834. After the first Anglo-Sikh War, 1845-46, the British took Kashmir Valley, Ladakh and Gilgit-Baltistan as war indemnity from the Sikhs and, in accordance with the Treaty of Amritsar, sold the territories to Gulab Singh, the Dogra Rajah (King) of Jammu for a sum of Rupees 7.5 million. Thus was created the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the title of Maharaja bestowed upon Gulab Singh by the British. The royal Namgyal family of Ladakh was given Stok as Jagir, which it retains nominally to date.

Jammu and Kashmir remained a princely state all through the British rule. The Dogras administered Ladakh as a Wazarat (principality) with an independent Governor on three Tehsils (Districts) of Leh, Skardu and Kargil. Ladakh was given two seats in a Legislative Assembly called Praja Sabha that was established in 1934 by Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir in an attempt to usher democratic tenets into the monarchy.

Once India became independent , Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession on 26, October, 1947, effective 27, October, 1947, making Jammu and Kashmir an integral part of India. Hence, there remains no doubt about Ladakh being a part of India.

China too has a diverse and interesting trajectory of evolution. In the 19th century (after 1932) the British had already started getting seriously involved Chinese politics. As a consequence of the Opium Wars a fair degree of control over Chinese affairs came in the hands of the British. In 1912, the Qing dynasty declined in the face of challenges from abroad and internal revolts by the War Lords. The British hold strengthened.

Around that time, the demarcation line between Tibet and the North-East region of India was created and named the “McMahon Line.” It was ratified in 1914 by the Simla Convention between British and Tibetan representatives but the draft had been initialed by the Chinese representative. What is not widely known was that in 1914 China was in turmoil and confusion. No government seemed to be in control. Therefore the question of expecting the Chinese representative to be sent by a recognised government in control in China does not arise because there was no one in charge. China has been using this issue as a reason of not accepting the 1914 McMahon Line. An absolutely facile argument!

With the decline of the monarchy, China embarked on to a tryst of becoming a Republic. The journey of transition was long and arduous, marked by a long struggle of power mainly between the Kuomintang (KMT) also referred to the Chinese Nationalist Party and the Communist Party of China that came into existence in 1921. After thousands being killed in debilitating civil wars ultimately, on 1 October, 1949, mainly due to Soviet support, the communists gained control of mainland China in what is generally referred to as the Chinese Communist Revolution. Mao Zedong, became the founding father of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). Communist China moved swiftly to gain control over many neighbouring areas of which East Turkmenistan, Tibet and South Mongolia are the most prominent.

Significantly, India has borders only with the occupied territories of East Turkestan and Tibet and not with mainland China. Also, the McMahon Line was not contested all through the period of political turmoil in China and Tibet, nor was it contested at the time when the British left India.

Two factors emerge from the foregoing. First, Ladakh was a part of India about 87 years before the PRC came into existence and 115 years before it gained power in China. Second, the Government of China at the time when the British were leaving the sub-continent did not object to the McMahon line. PRC was quite powerful even then, it could have raised an issue but it did not.

The first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, having accepted the Suzerainty of China over Tibet refused to be party to negotiations based on a perceived boundary dispute between the two countries. He insisted that the boundary stood resolved along the McMahon Line. In this he had the complete support of the Indian Parliament.

China, rejected and continues to reject the Simla Accord contending that Tibet was not a sovereign state and therefore did not have the power to conclude treaties. Chinese maps show some 65,000 sq km of territory south of the line as part of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and calls it South Tibet.

China, however, had tacitly accepted the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as it exists between East Turkestan and India . In a letter to Nehru dated 24, October, 1959, Zhou Enlai proposed that India and China withdraw their forces 20 kilometers from the LAC. Even after the Indo-China War of 1962, the Chinese unilaterally withdrew to the earlier demarcation of the LAC, except for Aksai Chin. Starting in 1956, a boundary between Burma (Myanmar) and China was finalized in 1960, and was based on the McMahon Line. Similarly, China settled its boundary with Nepal on the geographical principle of an identifiable watershed. However, it does not want to apply the same yardstick in the dispute with India!

History is replete with instances of great Empires breaking due to overextension through forcible subjugation. The latest example is the breakup of the USSR. Communist China has forcibly occupied Tibet, East Turkestan, South Mongolia and other territories. There are voices being raised against this forcible occupation and against incidents of gross human rights violation of the people of these areas by the repressive Chinese regime are being reported.

Being unable to control what it has, one wonders as to why China is nibbling into Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh where it has no jurisdiction or justification of claim whatsoever. For the sake of a few kilometers of territory that does not even belong to it, the country is jeopardising goodwill and billions worth of trade with India. It is unwilling to understand that the huge potential of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh can be best leveraged by both countries through friendly relations. In fact, East Turkestan and Tibet will contribute more to the prosperity of mainland China if they are freed from the existing shackles and blatant suppression. Significantly, India and China are harbingers of the prosperous future of the region being super powers. They should understand their responsibility.

India needs to rework its posture on its borders on the basis of historical facts. If at all, borders can be discussed only with Tibet and East Turkestan as and when they gain independence. There is nothing to be discussed with the PRC and the McMahon Line remains the irrefutable border. An attempt by China to change the same should be termed as aggression against the sovereignty of India and dealt with accordingly. Diplomatic and military attempts need to be made to get back Indian territories under forcible occupation of China.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Col Jaibans Singh

is a reputed Geo-strategic analyst, columnist and author of Jammu and Kashmir: The Tide Turns.

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6 thoughts on “China has no claim on Tibet and East Turkestan, what to talk of Ladakh

  1. Pakistan is AKREADY USING JF Fighters ! The prong is PLA bombs IOK (jointly with Pakistani pilots in PLAF planes) and then, the Pakistani army rolls into IOK,and then the PLA follows !

    PLA already has 30000 soldiers in Pakistan !



    India is,in any case bankrupted by COVID – and cannot sustain a war for more than a week !

    If the Pakistani Navy with PLN subs bombs out the Indian Western Ports and the PLN blocks the Indian Eastern Ports – what will the Hindoos do ?

    Indian Navy with the Aussies MIGHT block some fuel shipments to PRC – but they cannot reach Chinese Ports.

    The Hindoo clowns are dreaming of a NATO-type ASEAN alliance to counter PRC ? ASEAN is a group of trash – except Malaysian and Pinos. Malayans cannot fight the PRC and Pino Navy cannot take on the PLN.

    PRC has HANDPICKED THE HINDOOS ! It could have taken over SPRATLYS in a few days and fried the Vietnamese limpets – but they did nott ! They CHOSE India – AS NO NATION CAN HELP THE INDIANS On the Indoi-Chinese Border.Also,by destroying India – PRC sends a message to the AEAN.Lastly,India is MORE VULNERABLE AND WEAK THAN TIMBUKTOOOO ! 1.3 Billion people who will HAVE NO WORK FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS (at leasr) AND WHERE COVID WILL SPIKE EXPONENTIALLY IN INDIA SOON – CANNOT SUSTAIN A WAR FOR MORE THAN A WEEK ! dindooohindoo

    PRC /PLN will take over the South China and East China Sea JUST BEFORE THE US ELECTIONS ! And if they sink a US-ally or a US-Ship – then Trump will get REAL COVID ! South China Sea is the 1st TEST for Trump – who never really HAD ANY TEST in his Presidency.

    Israel taking over West Bank/Gaza is no TEST for TRUMP – as that is WITH THE NOD OF TRUMP.It will bcome a TEST – if Iran or Turkey attack Israel – thereafter

  2. The Unfolding of Doom, of the Hindooo Nation !

    The Mongols have returned after 2000 years ! The Turkics and the Mongols – were created ONLY To annihilate the Hindoos !The Ottomans did not ANNIHILATE EU –
    they liberated it . BUT the Turkics and Mongols ANNHILATED THE HINDOOS – every time – each General (Ghazni/Ghori/Babar……) HAD SOME MONGOL OR  TURKIC DNA !


    Breathe In  – Breathe Out – Detach and Deconstruct – the Desrruction of Hindoosthan is inevitable – watch and enjoy !

    The Hndooo nation for the 1st time, is supporting the HK rights activists

    The Hindoo weasels, NEVER ever did the same !

    Next they will raise Tibet !

    Taiwan rights will be raised by the USA !

    Thr road to doom !

    The PRC will wait and watch – and after the Hindoos raise Tibet – then PRC will raise the state of IOK – Indian Occupied Kashmir – and then the Hindoos will respond with Xinjiang !

    But India can do nothing in Tibet or Xinjiang ! It is logistically impossible – even if the Tibetans and Xinjiangese become Hindoos !India has no betting cards AT ALL.

    Chinese play Bacarrat – and they have Kashmir,Ladakh,Sikkim,Arunachal,The Chickem Neckk,Flow of Water into India from Tibet and Bangladesh,Taliban,THE HINDOO SACRED SITES IN THE HIMALAYAS and Sri Lanka.All these ARE RIGHT UP INDIA’s ORIFICE.

    That is what you call the Bacarrat Betting Cards ! dindooohindoo

    It is certain that the PLA will use the Tibetans and the Nepalis also against Indian Troops ! Maybe, by this month end !


    PLA will attack the Indians from the Western Indian Borders – using PLA jets ! From SKARDU ! JF-35 !

  3. India made a blunder by ignoring the Tibet’s geopolitical importance for the safety and wellness of India. It is the cowardice Acts of Nehru accepting China’s suzerainty over Tibet even though Nehru understands that Tibet is a sovereign country. Until the Tibet is not freed, there will be An unending troubles with China.

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