India - China border tension

India- China Border Issues

Let us to understand the border issue


They poferred to stay in isolation and they had different beliefs from Han Chinese. The spiritual head of Tibetans is Dalai Lama and he is also called as the political head. Tibetans have never owed any allegiance to rulers of China unlike rulers of Korea and Vietnam. In 1717, there were Dzungar tribesmen who invaded Tibet and this upset China China responded to this invasion by sending a military governor in Lhasa called as Ambans in 1728. The Chinese posted commissioners called Ambans in eighteenth century. 

The Chinese instructed the Tibetans to respect Ambans in Lhasa. But China neither annexed Tibet nor did it allow its independence. In 1614, Qing dynasty came to power and prior to Qing dynasty the political status of debit was not clear. After the Amban rule, Tibet-China had a priest-patron relation, In 17 China and Tibet rule got transformed as China issued a 29-point decree to Ambans that Ambans powers equivalent to Dalai Lama. gave Chinese Jahns

Eastern Sector

In 1769, there was a conflict in Nepal between Newars and Gurkhas. The British supported Newars (Hindus) against Gurkhas. Gurkhas defeated Newars and established Hindu kingdom. The year of 1814 saw an Anglo-Nepal war and British won the war by defeating the Gurkhas. The British concluded Treaty of Sagauli and gained access to Tibet via Kumaon and Garhwal. Since 1775, Gurkhas were attacking Sikkimese people. In 1817, after British defeated Gurkhas in 1814, the British signed Treaty of Titalia with Sikkim in 1817. As per the treaty, Sikkim enjoyed British protection and Sikkim became a trade route to Lhasa. The treaty also gave British a platform in Sikkim to watch Gurkhas. The Treaty of Titalia was replaced in 1861 and gave British larger say in Sikkim.

The Region of Assam

Assam was under an Ahom kingdom and it became weak by 1820s. Burma saw a weak Ahom rule as an opportunity to expand to Assam. The British decided to check Burma and as a result in 1824 Anglo-Burma war took place. Burma got defeated in Anglo-Burma war in 1824. In 1826 Burma and British concluded a peace Treaty in Yandabo, As per the treaty, British got Assam under their control. The British in Assam saw a bright spot in oil and tea plantations. When British resorted to tea plantation it led to their conflict with tribes of Assam.

Assam had also given British and easier access to Tibet for trade via Lohit valley region. But accessing Tibet was becoming problematic due to tribals coming in as obstructionist. So British decided to create inner-line and outer-line permit system with tribals. The inner and outer-line permits ensured easy trade. The region of Arunachal or Tawang was under the control of Monpas of Tawang. The Monpas of the Town ethnically different people from Tibetan and are non-Tibetans.


With Treaty of Lahore, the British they got access to Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir, which were to be managed by Gulab Singh. In 1845-46 there was an Anglo-Sikh war and British won it. The British won the position of Kashmir from Sikhs. The British did not directly control Kashmir. The British entered into a Treaty of Amritsar with Gulab Singh and told Gulab Singh to administer Kashmir. 

Under the treaty, the British transferred the region east of Indus and eastern boundary hills to Gulab Singh but told him that the British will carry out survey and then define to Gulab Singh the purpose of this transfer. So under the Treaty of Amritsar, British accepted that the boundary on the east was not defined. The reason why the British maintained unambiguous boundary in the east was because it never wanted to upset China. China always maintained that there was no need for a boundary in the east because since ancient times, the Karakorum acted as a natural border. So under the Treaty of Lahore, Gulab Singh was to manage Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and under the Treaty of Amritsar Gulab Singh was not to alter boundaries and maintain balance of power.

Johnson Line

 On the east of the Chinese border existed a territory called Kashgar Kashgar region was underthe control of China. In 1864, the local ruler of Kashgar. Yakub Beg, rebelled against China. After he rebelled, Yakub Beg established the kingdom of Kashgar. During Yakub Beg's rebellion, Gulab Singh forces had helped Yakub Beg against China. In return for his help, Gulab Singh built a fort in Kashgar. Now under Treaty of Amritsar, British had told that they would carry a survey to east. So in 1865, Johnson carried out a survey of the east region as mandated under Treaty of Amritsar. Johnson published the map and in that map he showed the areas from Shahidullah, Aksai Chin to Kunlun as part of Kashmir. 

The Johnson Line map was published in 1868 and when it was published, the world got to know about this area of Aksai Chin for the first time. Johnson showed Aksai Chin region as a part of Kashmir because this region was under Yakub Beg and when Yakub Beg had rebelled against China to establish Kashgar province, Gulab Singh had assisted Yakub Beg and also built fort in that area. So, Johnson thought Aksai Chin area belongs to Kashmir. In 1868, by Johnson Line is published, the then surveyor General Colonel Walker rejected the fact that Aksai Chin belongs to Gulab Singh as depicted by Johnson. One thing to remember is that it is the same Johnson Line which is used by India since 1947 to claim Aksai Chin as a part of India. However, most of the Chinese maps at that time had shown Aksai Chin as part of China. This is why when Johnson Line is published, Walker rejected to accept Aksai Chin shown as a territory of Gulab Singh. 

McCartney-MacDonald Line and Ardagh Line

In 1877, the Chinese army captured Kashgar and defeated Yakub Beg and renamed Kashgar as Xinjiang. The British feared Russian advancement from Central Asia to North Kashmir, which would act as threat to imperial Security. To check Russian advances, the British had to watch Kashmir where two important regions were Hunza valley and Gilgit region. So in 1892, the British established the military post in Gilgit and acquired control of Hunza and Nagar.

China had been making claims over Hunza. The ruler of Hunza to was tilted towards China. The British did not like this. In 1896, John Ardagh proposed a line. This line was a strategic adoption of Johnson Line (1865). The line proposed a boundary in the crust of Kunlun and incorporated Karakash and Yarkand river areas. To check Russian advancement, the British wanted a solution. They decided to bury Johnson Line and John Ardagh Line and decided to propose a new solution.

The British minister in pecking Sir Claude McDonald proposed to British minister in Kashgar Charles McCartney in 1899 to finally solve the Kashmir-China boundary. The British wanted that China renounce their claim over Hunza. As most of the Chinese map showed Aksai Chin as part of China, the British decided to do a trade-off. In 1899, McCartney-McDonald Line is proposed. The proposal was that China relinquishes its claim over Hunza and take Aksai Chin. This line had the potential to resolve the issue The proposal was sent to Peking but Peking remained silent on the same and didn't respond. The British continue their control over Hunza and status of Aksai Chin since Johnson Line remained unclear.

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