What is the McMahon Line, which America considered as the international line between India and China

India-China Disputes: Two members of the US Senate, a Republican and a Democrat, have introduced a bipartisan resolution in the Upper House of Congress, reiterating that the US recognizes the McMahan Line as the international border between India and China in Arunachal Pradesh. This proposal confirms the present position of India in Arunachal Pradesh. This proposal confirms that part as an integral part of India, which China calls it South Tibet. Republican junior senator Bill Haggerty of Tennessee, who introduced the resolution along with Democratic junior senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon, said China was posing a serious threat to the open Indo-Pacific region.

Haggerty said, ‘Amidst the threats being presented by China, it is necessary for America to stand shoulder to shoulder with its strategic partners in the region and especially India. This bipartisan resolution expresses the Senate’s support for unequivocally recognizing the state of Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India. Also condemns China’s military aggression to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control. Apart from this, this proposal strongly enhances the US-India strategic partnership and is in support of the free Indo-Pacific.

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What is McMahon Line?
The McMahon Line serves as the de facto border between China and India in the eastern region. It specifically borders Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, from Bhutan in the west to Myanmar in the east. China has always been raising disputes on the border. Not only this, China has always been claiming Arunachal Pradesh as part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The McMahon Line was drawn during the Simla Convention of 1914, officially recognized as a convention between Great Britain, China and Tibet. China was also involved in this conference. The McMahon Line demarcated the areas of influence of Tibet and British India in the eastern Himalayan region in present-day northeast India and northern Myanmar. Prior to the signing of the convention, the boundary of this region was undefined.

After the First Anglo-Burmese War (1824–26), the British gained almost complete control of the Assam Valley. The British expanded their influence mainly in the tribal lands in the Northeast. For a long time this tribal land served as a buffer between British India and Tibet. China’s influence on Tibet had reduced significantly by the beginning of the 20th century. At the same time, Britain was worried about Tibet falling in Russian territory. In an attempt to stop Russian influence, the British launched a campaign in Tibet. After this, in 1904, the Lhasa Convention was signed. Worried about the growing influence of Britain, China also invaded the southeastern Kham region for control. China occupied the tribal areas in the north of the Assam Valley. This prompted British officials to advocate the extension of British jurisdiction into the tribal area.

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What happened in Shimla Conference?
The Shimla Conference attempted to settle the question of sovereignty of Tibet and avoid future disputes in the region. The Tibetan government was represented in Lhasa by Plenipotentiary Paljor Dorje Shatra and Britain was represented in Delhi by Sir Arthur Henry McMahon, Foreign Secretary of British India. Plenipotentiary Ivan Chen was among those attending the conference from the Chinese side. The treaty divided the Buddhist territory into ‘Outer Tibet’ and ‘Inner Tibet’. It was decided that ‘Outer Tibet’ would remain in the hands of the Tibetan government under Chinese suzerainty. However, China will not be allowed to interfere in its affairs. At the same time, ‘Inner Tibet’ will be under the direct jurisdiction of the newly formed Republic of China.

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The Shimla Convention also determined the boundary between China and Tibet as well as between Tibet and British India.

The convention also determined the boundary between China and Tibet as well as between Tibet and British India. These new boundaries were called the McMahon Line after the chief British negotiator McMahon. A draft was agreed upon by the three countries on April 27, 1914, which was rejected by China. The final convention was signed by McMahon and Shatra. Ivan Chen, who attended the conference on behalf of China, did not agree to the draft. He argued that Tibet had no independent right to enter into international agreements.

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How was the India-China border decided?
The 890 kilometer boundary from one corner of Bhutan to the Isu Razi Pass on the Burma border was largely along the crest of the Himalayas following the ‘highest watershed principle’. The British, on the basis of this principle, considered the most logical way of delineating boundaries in mountainous regions, drew the boundary line between two river plains with the highest peak. However, some exceptions were also kept in this. Had this principle been fully implemented, Tawang would have been part of Tibet, which was incorporated into British India because of its proximity to the Assam Valley. It was clear from the war of 1962 that if Tawang was occupied by China, then its army would have easy access to the valley in the south.

What was the status of the McMahon Line?
Controversies had arisen from the beginning regarding the McMahon line. After the Communists came to power in 1949, China was excluded from all international agreements and so-called unequal treaties. The Communist regime believed that these agreements were imposed on China during the ‘century of humiliation’. After coming out of international agreements and treaties, China demanded to renegotiate all its borders. China was able to quickly dominate India during the 1962 war with India and make deep inroads into Indian territory beyond the McMahon Line. However, after declaring a unilateral ceasefire on 21 November, its forces reverted to pre-war positions. Overall, there is a continuous controversy regarding the McMahon line.

Tags: america, arunachal pradesh, UK, india china border dispute, India China Border Tension, india china dispute, Tibet


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