Scooter transports materials for
Government Polytechnic College
FIR against engineers
ITANAGAR, Sept 1: The construction of Government Polytechnic College at Ziro has
run into controversy due to corruption charges. Scooter and Maruti Gypsy have been
allegedly shown as trucks in record for supply and transportation. A number AR-06-1089
has been entered in the record as one of the vehicles engaged in transportation
However, responses under RTI Act have revealed that AR-06-1089 is actually a Bajaj
Scooter registered with district transport officer, Ziro. Similarly two other vehicles
AR-06-2010 and AR-06-1590 are Maruti Gypsy under custody of government departments
but they too have been allegedly shown as truck in the record.
One Techi Tongum, a resident of Yazali under Lower Subansiri district has lodged
an FIR against four engineers of WRD, Ziro division namely L Lego (former executive
engineer WRD, Ziro), Dibang Tayeng (Executive Engineer WRD, Ziro), Punyo Bamang (Asstt.Engineer,
WRD Ziro-1) and PN Thakur (junior engineer, WRD, Ziro) at Hapoli police station in
this regard. In his FIR, Tongum alleged that work was carried out without inviting
tender (NIT) which is gross violation of laid down norms.
“The polytechnic building has been constructed just by issuing work orders to various
firms without following CPWD manual norms. Department also procured a Scorpio vehicle
against the said project even though there was no provision for buying vehicle in
the guidelines issued by director of higher & technical education vide order no.
ED/HE/LPG-128/2009 dated 19th September 2011,” Tongum alleged in his FIR.
Further, he alleged that department issued the work order in back dates. “A work
order no. ZWR/PTC-Z/WO-69 to 103/2012-13 dated 10/11/2012 was issued in back date.
However, EE WRD who signed in the said work order only joined on 12th August 2013.
How can a person who joines office in 2013 issues work order for year 2012. This
is sheer corruption,” the complainant alleged.
Even though a case no. 43/15 under section 468/471/420/120(B) IPC has been registered
against the four engineers, the complainant alleged that Ziro police is deliberately
delaying investigation which is giving ample time to the alleged accused to destroy
the evidence. “I appeal senior government officials especially Chief Secretary to
look into the matter. Establishment of government polytechnic college at Ziro is
a matter pride for the people of Lower Subansiri district. But unfortunately engineers
in connivance with contractors are breaking all norms. They are seriously compromising
the work quality,” Tongum alleged.
Children without mid-day meals in
DC, DDSE, DMO on unannounced visit
Ziro, Sept 1: Schools in Dollungmukh circle in Lower Subansiri district have not
been provided with mid-day meals, according to an official source.
A team led by Deputy Commissioner of Lower Subansiri district, Kanki Darang found
that none of schools had provided mid-day meals to the children, despite their acknowledgement
that ration items had already been given to them by the concerned carriage contractor.
Along with District Medical Officer, Dr.Moli Riba and Deputy Director of School Education
,Yumlam Tana and the Circle Officer of Dollungmukh, Marpe Riba, he visited Government
Secondary School, Dollungmukh , Government UPS Sipu, Govt. UPS Tanio and Govt. PS
Midpu and thoroughly inspected. He found that the teacher-in- charges were poor
in maintaining their school records. Most of the Teacher-in-charges complained that
the Block Education and the Cluster Resource Coordinator do not visit their institutions
regularly. They also pleaded for repair and renovation of the schools upon which
the Deputy Commissioner directed the Circle Officer to prepare an estimate of fund
requirements and to submit the same to him as soon as possible.
The Deputy Commissioner also inspected the primary Health Centres where the doctors
and other medical staffs informed him of the untold hardship faced by them due to
lack of quarters for accommodation of staffs.
Later, in the office chamber of the circle officer Dollungmukh, the Deputy Commissioner
was briefed about the law and order related problems in the area and also about infrastructure
shortfalls of the general administration. The Circle Officer pleaded for a good condition
vehicle to be placed at his disposal so that his movement is not restricted. He also
requested him to conduct such type of surprise inspection often so that the government
servants as well as the general public are kept in vigil and a sense of duty is instilled
in them. Acting on a specific complaint by the ZPM Dollungmukh that most of the staffs
posted in the educational and health institutions of the locality are not present
in their respective places of posting affecting public services and hampering developmental
activities, the Deputy Commissioner decided to undertake the inspection without prior
notice or information to anyone.
Arunachal celebrates Solung with pomp and gaiety
Take responsibility in preserving cultural heritage: Governor
ITANAGAR, Sept 1: The Solung, main agricultural festival of the Adi community was
celebrated with religious fervor and traditional gaiety in various parts of Arunachal
Addressing the festive revelers at Itanagar, Governor of Arunachal Pradesh J P Rajkhowa
called upon the youth of the Adi community to take responsibilities in carrying forward
the rich cultural heritage of their tribe. He advised all, particularly young boys
to take active part in the celebration to preserve their cultural identity, customs
and traditions. The Governor also advised the people converse in their indigenous
language and put on indigenous attires and take pride on it.
“The people should modernise but should not lose touch with their roots,” the Governor
Citing that there is no detail records of all the 26 major and 110 sub-tribes of
the state, the Governor advised the people on documentation of the language, customs
and traditions, so that age-old heritage which had been handed over from generation
to generation is not lost. The Governor said that tribal festivals are based on realization
of gift of nature and it is an expression of their appreciation. It helps in preservation
of nature’s gifts such as the prized flora and fauna. He called upon the people of
the State for a united approach for preservation of the nature.
The Governor also called upon people to put in a united effort in eradication of
drugs and opium menace from the state.
Kanubari MLA Gabriel D Wangsu stressed that parents should instill basic social values
of the community in their children for preserving their indigenous knowledge, language
and identity. Adi community has been one of the leaders of the state and experiments
and experience of the community has always enriched others, the MLA said and urged
upon the members of the community to take initiative in safe-guarding the age-old
cultural heritage and traditions of the state.
In his address, Mebo MLA Lombo Tayeng suggested that Itanagar Festival Committee
with its large number of senior community members must take initiative in conducting
a conference on preservation and revival of indigenous language.
In his address, President of Itanagar Solung Celebration Committee Rajeev Takuk said
that Solung is the embodiment of Adi way of life. It encompasses the entire gamut
of Adi socio-cultural and religious life. He appealed to all the Adi brethren to
work constantly to find better and healthier paths of development not only for the
community but for the entire State. Tajom Taloh, Commissioner, GoAP and Secretary
of the Festival Celebration Committee Nima Tondrang also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier, the Governor took part in the Taku Taabat ceremony at the festival altar
and participated in Ponung dance. He also felicitated the elders of the Adi community
of Itanagar who has contributed towards the society on the occasion, gave away the
prizes to winners of games and sports competitions. While the Governor released
the Solung souvenir, ‘Diigok Roli’, MLA Kanubari and MLA Mebo released Adi Audio
Albums ‘Yitge Do Yayi Nom’ and ‘Gogying’ respectively.
Apart from presentation of colourful cultural items, a mega dance based on Adi mythology
choreographed by Olen Megu Damin and folk dances by various Ponung troupes and students
of Donyi Polo Vidhya Bhawan were presented.
At Naharlagun, Solung was celebrated with traditional fervor at the festival ground
of Art and Culture Directorate office compound.
Speaking on the occasion, senior scientist Dr Asham Borang called upon the community
members to uphold their traditional cultural heritage and endeavour to promote social
and cultural values for posterity. He urged the people especially the younger generation
to dedicate themselves for gaining knowledge and skill to make progress in their
life besides trying to know their rig traditional heritage.
Associate Professor of Rajiv Gandhi University, Ani Taggu, who was honoured with
‘Best Social Worker’ award along with three other members, said it is essential to
maintain and know one’s roots in any situation while adding we must put an efforts
to maintain our trading and culture even as we acquire modern education.
Naharlagun Solung Celebration Committee president Angkom Paron and general secretary
Tapir Tamut also spoke on the occasion.
Earlier, Aying Perme, a renowned expert of Adi myth and culture narrated the mythology
of Solung. Among others, Nanni Dai, Editor of Echo of Arunachal attended the festival.
At Pasighat, addressing the people on the festive occasion at Solung festival ground,
Nari-Koyu MLA Kento Rina fervently appealed to the people, particularly younger generation
to extend cooperation in upholding the sanctity of the festival and also to maintain
cordial relationship with other communities to uphold the feelings of unity and integrity.
On granting of Smart City at Pasighat, he said responsibilities are more now and
we have to take decisions and plan judiciously to transform Pasighat into a real
Smart City. Rina also released an Adi modern song audio album titled “Gokying” and
gave away prizes and certificates to the achievers on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Tabung Ering, ABK Secretary (HQ) appealed MP Ninong Ering
to sanction Rs 1 Cr from his MPLAD and also requested MLAs of East Siang district
and all other MLAs of the Adi community of other district to contribute 10 lakhs
each for construction of a Cultural Hall at Pasighat. MP Ering in his speech extended
his gratitude to the state and Union Govt for considering Pasighat to be developed
as Smart City. Noted writer and national award recipient Girin Tamuli also spoke
on the occasion.
At Aalo, a grand competitive cultural programme was organized at Gumin Kiin on Aug
31 night to mark the Solung celebration. Competitions on Folk dance, traditional
and modern dances performed by the troupes from Adi communities stole the limelight.
Inaugurating the cultural programme, Tamoli Tako, Superintending Engineer Itanagar,
stressed on preservation of age-old culture and tradition that gives distinct identity
to the Adis. Effort should be made to involve younger generation of the community
for preservation and promotion of culture and tradition, he said.
The general secretary of the Solung Gidi celebration, Tapun Taki also spoke on the
At Roing, the Solung Giidi was celebrated with pomp and gaiety at Giidi Notko, Midland.
Attending the festival, Zilla Parishad Chairperson Sipi Elapra Linggi prayed to Kiine
Nane and Doyii Botte for peace, harmony and brotherhood among all the communities
in the district.
ABK District Unit President, Mibom Pertin appealed all the Panchayat leaders, Gaon
Burahs and all the stakeholders to join hands with the women organizations in fighting
against the drug menace in the district.
Adi Cultural & Literary Society Secretary Martin Lego read out the Solung mythology.
Roing Solung Celebration Committee president Aduk Paron and general secretary Tajing
Darang also spoke on the occasion.
Release of Adi audio CD album, ‘Giidi Mimum’, prize distribution to the winners of
various games and sports, literary and drawing competitions, performance of folk
dance, modern dance and Idu dance by cultural troupes were the other highlights of
At Yingkiong in Upper Siang district, the Solung festival is being celebrated with
traditional gaiety. Addressing the inaugural function of the festival, Parliamentary
Secretary (Education and IPR etc), Bamang Felix emphasized the need to preserve
one’s festival and traditional heritage for future generation. He further exhorted
the youths to follow the footsteps of the pioneers of Adi community who worked sincerely
with devotion for development of the society.
Impressed with the scenic beauty of the district, he emphasized on tourism development
to attract more tourists and to generate self-employment avenues. Felix also called
for preservation of flora and fauna for environment protection.
Earlier, MLA cum PWD parliamentary secretary Alo Libang exhorted the community to
maintain true essence of festival celebration to promote brotherhood and harmony
amongst all. Former APSIC Commissioner Bani Danggen highlighted the essence of Solung
festival and urged all to have faith in traditional customs and rituals of the tribal
The festival will continue for three-four days with display of traditional items
and local food stalls.
Roads that take us home
[ Tongam Rina ]
The other day yours truly got ticketed for wrong parking by the Chief Estate Office
near a health clinic on a busy and crowded road in Itanagar.
Though deeply embarrassed, it gave some amount of satisfaction that laws are being
implemented in the town known for its bad traffic management. The contentment did
not last long as it was soon found out that other than disfiguring the already grubby
car by putting an ugly sticker; the officers did not have the power to impose fine.
But things might improve in the long run if the government, as it proclaims, is serious
about improving the roads and empower Traffic Department with human resources as
well as adequate funds.
Following the directives
of the Supreme Court, states have set up Road Safety Council to control road accidents.
Arunachal has one of the worse road safety records in the country and tops the North
East India states with highest number of deaths per Lac population. The record
is not surprising given the fact that state’s road network is patchy with extremely
poor conditions. Added to pitiable constructions are uneven terrains. But even when
we know these realities, we are far from being careful. Most drivers/riders think
that they are not only invincible but bring in their set of rules with a very good
knack for uncontrolled speed ready to mow down anyone that comes on the way.
Heart skips a beat as young girls and women wrap a duppatta instead of helmet. Boys
and men who refuse to grow up are worse, baring their tattooed bodies; without helmet
or riding gears. It is common sight to see young parents with their small children
on bikes with no protection. One can’t help but say a prayer for safety of all. With
lack of trauma centres or highway ambulances, it’s the ill-equipped Police who are
first responders, with no medical kits or health workers. It is time bare minimum
facilities are introduced to prevent casualties as most deaths are preventable if
there are medical teams as first responders.
In a state notorious for seeking compensations and imposition of fines, it is rather
strange that the citizens as well as the state continue to be so reckless. VIP convoys,
unmindful of congested roads, are not only a bad sight but is a major nuisance too
adding to the chaos. Because of bad road, people who commute by public transport
pass gas. The roads are that bad. Arunachal must be the only state without traffic
lights or even zebra crossings. With absence of public facilities, people pay literally
in the form of “fines”.
Some samples of how things can terribly go wrong after an accident.
A young man on a bike collides with a car. Both speeding. Rider is knocked down and
hit a parked car. He dies on the spot. The relatives refuse to register a case but
seek money. If compensation not paid, warned of dire consequences including packing
up from the town. Fine paid.
A rider is injured following a collision with a car. The driver of the car is a bureaucrat.
Apart from paying for medical expenses, the officer is asked to give a job to the
injured or Rs 15000 every month.
Bikes collide. One dies at the spot while the other is taken to hospital with serious
injuries. The doctors are not allowed to treat the injured patient. Three agonising
hours later, he dies.
Flood situation remains grim in Namsai
ITANAGAR, Sept 1: Over sixty villages under various circles of Namsai district have
been badly affected by the current flood.
Around 600 people from 117 families are still taking shelter in three relief camps
set up at Jenglai, Kaba and New Silatoo, informed Namsai Deputy Commissioner RK Sharma.
Although water level in various rivers in the district have gradually started to
recede this morning with slight improvement in the weather condition, the Noa Dehing,
Lohit and Jengthu Rivers are still flowing above the danger level.
The district administration and disaster management authority are closely monitoring
the situation and advised the villagers living in low- lying areas to remain alert
as many dwelling houses are still under flood water.
There was report of heavy damage to dyke at New Silatoo and Bereng River and erosions
at many places. Medical teams, including veterinarians have been put on alert to
tackle any outbreak of diseases post-flood. They are also regularly visiting the
relief camps, the DC informed.
Further, sufficient relief materials have been provided to the relief camps.
Losses and damages in the flood are being received from every part of the district
but the actual losses could be assessed only after water recedes, the Deputy Commissioner
State reviews flood situation
ITANAGAR, Sept 1: Following the devastating floods, a meeting was chaired by Chief
Secretary today to review the situation and destruction to public infrastructure
in the last one week in the state.
The meeting which was attended by Parliamentary Secretaries, Commissioners and Secretaries
issued directions to Deputy Commissioners in the district to take all preventive
as well as relief measures to restore essential public services and ensure minimum
loss to lives and properties.
All road construction agencies of PWD, RWD, BRO and MoRTH have been put on highest
alert and directed to initiate immediate restoration measures, said an official release.
Adequate fund shall be provided to the administration and concerned agencies by the
State Govt based on damage assessments while DCs and construction agencies have
been directed to make judicious use of funds released recently for relief and restoration.
Further instructions have been reiterated once again to DCs and Heads of Department
not to grant leave to the engineering staff and administrative staff so that relief
measures are not adversely affected.
Meanwhile, the state shall request the Central Government to immediately depute a
team to assess the damage.
Health Directorate staff say goodbye to Dr. Nishing
ITANAGAR, Sept 01: Director of Health Services Dr. Kartik Nishing was given a warm
farewell by the staff of the State Health Directorate on his retirement on superannuation.
They also bade affectionate farewell to another staff Rono Mohan Dey, Statistical
Assistant, State TB Cell at the same function organized to say them goodbye.
Dr. Nishing was first posted as Junior Medical Officer at Rumgong PHC in 1983 under
“At that time there was no road communication to Rumgong. I had to march on foot
for two days,” said Dr. Nishing with a chuckle.
Remembering the fond memories spent with Nishing, Dr. Saibal Bhattacharjee, SMO (SG),
of General Hospital Pasighat who was posted as MO at Boleng PHC at that time goes
“He would always stop by for a cup of tea on his way to Rumgong on foot at my quarter,”
After serving for almost a decade at Rumgong, he was transferred to General Hospital,
Naharlagun where he took the charge of Medical Superintendent on April 25, 1993.
Thereafter he was promoted to Chief Medical Superintendent of the same hospital in
2002. His next promotions came as Joint DHS, NMEP (2006), Additional Director of
Health Services (2008) and finally as DHS in July, 2011.
“Sir was our inspiration for becoming a doctor,” said Dr. B Natung, DDHS (GA) and
Dr.T Khanna, SPO, NPCB.
Dey joined as a ‘BCG technician’ in 1980 at District Hospital Ziro. Thereafter, he
was transferred to State TB cell, Naharlagan in 1983 where he was later promoted
to ‘Health Visitor’ and then to ‘Statistical Assistant’ which he served diligently
till his retirement.
Dr. Hage Tam, DDHS (Leprosy) praised him as an exceptional worker while Dr. Moji
Jini, the new incumbent DHS and Dr. Emi Rumi, Jt. DHS (P&D) recalled him as the ‘Unsung
hero’ of the State TB Cell.
Dr. Hage Tabyo, Additional DHS, Dr. RD Khrimey, CMS, ASH, Dr. R Doye, JT.DHS (DME),
Dr. A Yirang, Jt.DHS (NVBDCP), Dr. T Lollen, DDHS (Public Health), Boa Yanya-Tao,
Principal, Arunachal State Nursing School, Dr. N Plaza, SMO (SG), UK Mitra, food
Safety and PN Mazumdar, TO,IDD, were present among other medical staff.
Earlier, Dr. T.Kampu, DDHS (P&D) and Dr.KT Mullung, DDHS (NVBDCP) presented gifts
to both the outgoing officers.
ZP comes out in support of aggrieved
Agitators threaten to take legal recourse
ITANAGAR, Sept 1: The Zilla Parishad of East Kameng district has come out in support
the agitating DRDA staff in the state.
The DRDA employees have been playing a very crucial role in the implementation of
various rural development schemes and the ongoing strike will hamper the poverty
alleviation programme of the Central Government aiming to remove rural poverty, said
East Kameng ZP Chairperson Meyuk Cheda.
Online submission of various reports and returns, uploading the data in MIS module,
management of newly created blocks, field monitoring of various ongoing works are
purely managed by the employees of the DRDA. Besides, some officers and staff of
the DRDA are even managing various administrative offices in the district. Only due
to their persuasion, the State Government is able to submit proposal to Government
of India for release of fund against various programmes, like IAY, IWMP, NREGS etc,
said the ZPC.
Besides the Rural Development Programmes the District Administration entrust them
the responsibility for execution of various schemes under MPLAD, MLALAD, SPA, Panchayat
Fund etc, Cheda said. He appealed to the Chief Minister and Secretary RD to intervene
in the matter and find out an amicable solution to their demands.
The DRDA employees in the state yesterday started state-wide five-day pen and tool
down strike after state government failed to address their demands despite repeated
Meanwhile, the DRDA employees of East Kameng district have threatened to take legal
recourse against the state government if their demands were not met.
“We will go to any extent, including legal recourse, if our demands are not fulfilled,”
the East Kameng unit of DRDA Employees Welfare Association stated in a release.
“We do not want lip services, we want prompt action in favour of our demands,” it
The district DRDA unit also strongly objected to recent reported appointments against
various posts in the Agency (DRDA) undermining the order of the previous RD Director
stopping any further appointments and also without resolving the ongoing problem.
While observing the strike, the DRDA staff of Khonsa, Tirap resolved to launch the
next phase of peaceful and democratic movement shortly for fulfillment of their demands.
‘Roads under state PWD going from bad to worst’
TCS, ATYO demand immediate repair of Dapo-Ziro and Bam roads
ITANAGAR, Sept 1: Tagin Cultural Society (TCS) and All Tagin Youth Association (ATYO)
have demanded the Upper Subansiri Deputy Commissioner to take initiative to repair
the stretch of the road from Daporijo to Ziro and Daporijo to Bam which are lying
in deplorable condition for years for want of maintenance.
Describing the hardship faced by the people of Upper Subansiri district due to bad
condition of the roads, a delegation of TCS and ATYO today urged the Deputy Commissioner
to appraise the problem to the state government and State PWD for immediate repair
of the said roads.
“When the said roads were under BRO for about 60 years, roads were well maintained
and there was uninterrupted flow of traffic except in few adverse circumstances.
The conditions of the said roads have gone from bad to worst and are left to the
mercy of weather and rain god since the State PWD took over the roads from BRO,”
said the joint memorandum submitted to the Deputy Commissioner by TCS and ATYO.
“…. these roads are the lifeline for about one lakh people of the district and in
the event of road blockade due to non-maintenance, there is every possibility of
people facing untold miseries, including deaths. In case of any loss of life and
property due to poor condition of the road, the PWD (Highway), the contractor and
the State Govt. must be answerable to the people,” the memorandum added.
The TCS further decided to launch democratic movement shortly if the concern authority
does not take up road restoration works immediately.
Byaling hands over appointment letters to family of Wak incident
AALO Sept 1: Home and Power Minister Tanga Byaling today handed over appointment
letters of government jobs to the eligible family members of the four persons, who
were killed by electrocution at Wak village.
Addressing a public meeting at Wak Village, Byaling said the state government took
prompt action to fulfill the grievances of the family members of the deceased and
demands of Wak Ragi Action Committee within the framework of Govt. guidelines.
“We stand firmly with the aggrieved family members of the victims,” he said and sought
cooperation from the villagers and the department concerned so that no such unfortunate
incident takes place in future.
He also asked the department to constitute a monitoring committee and supervise all
works from time to time.
Tumpe Ete, ZPM Pubu Yombo appealed to the Minister to also look into previous demands
of Rs.50 lakh to the family of the victims, shifting of electric poles from the WRC
fields, replacement of obsolete LT posts and consider necessary assistance for upbringing
and maintenance of the ten-month-old baby of one of the victims.
Earlier, Byaling inspected the Hydel project at Kamba. DIPRO
The McMahon Line and Its History
[ Dr Tage Habung ]
Even after British occupation of Assam in 1826, the boundary of Assam was not properly
defined. Treaty of Yandaboo simply stipulated that the Burmese would not interfere
in Assam and its dependences. The unsettled state of the boundary could no longer
be neglected because by the beginning of the seventies of nineteenth century, the
economy of Assam had become promising and trade and industry had made a good start.
The revenue of the Assam Valley increased and it started providing a good surplus.
But the economy depended upon the administrative capacity to maintain law and order
in the Brahmaputra Valley. At the same time North Frontier Tract, adjoining area
of Brahmaputra valley became detrimental for British economic interest. Therefore,
British during their rule in Assam drew three important lines in North East Frontier
Tract, viz., the Inner line; Outer line; and McMahon line. These lines were purposefully
drawn by British to end-up their colonial interest and as such these lines only serve
colonial interest not the people of this region. Of these three lines, the later
remained as most controversy and created a much trouble to this region.
McMahon Line, formally known as an imaginary line on the map, is all along the northern
stretch of Arunachal Pradesh. The line was named after Sir Henry McMahon, the then
secretary in the Indian foreign department. He was the main negotiator and representative
of Great Britain at the conference held in 1912–13 in Simla, now called Shimla, in
the state of Himachal Pradesh to settle frontier and other matters relating to Tibet.
The line travels a length of approximately about 1,030 km. It runs from the eastern
border of Bhutan along the crest of the Himalayas until it reaches the great bend
in the Brahmaputra River where that river emerges from its Tibetan course into the
Assam Valley. In order words, it extends from the East of Bhutan to the Isu Razzi
Pass situated on Irrawady - Salwaan water parting. This line on the map was secret
by-product of the Shimla deliberation 1913-14, which was accepted by the Government
of Tibet and India as demarcated boundary line between India and Tibet. This line
is the boundary with Tibet from the Bhutan border to the tri-junction of China, India
and Burma follows in general the crest of the Great Himalayan Range. The range, for
a larger part also, forms the main water divide between the Tibetan plateau to the
north and the mountains to the south. To the British, the line marked the geographic,
ethnic, and administrative boundary between the two regions, and delegates from Great
Britain, China, and Tibet agreed that the frontier between Tibet and northeastern
India indeed should follow the crest of the high Himalayas. Two days later, however,
the Chinese republican government disavowed its delegate and refused to sign the
convention. Even later on, the Chinese Government refused to recognize this line
as they considered Shimla Convention agreement was only between India and Tibet,
and they had not been part of it. Consequently, this remained as root cause for India’s
trouble in 1962.
From the dawn of their rule in Brahmaputra Valley, the British deliberately avoided
the direct administration to hilly areas, especially the North-East Frontier Tracts.
Though it had clearly defined their limit of direct administrative control in form
of ‘Inner Line’, but they did not bother about the ‘external boundary’. External
limits of the North-East Frontier Tracts had been very vaguely defined in the form
‘Outer Line.’ And British claimed that they have indirect control over the areas
lying between these two lines. However, the issue of demarcation of the northern
external boundary could not be kept vague and pending after increase of Chinese influence
in hills of NEFT. Though British did not want to run direct administration over this
region considering tribal people of this region as uncivilized and barbaric, at the
same time they did not want to lose this region because of two reasons, firstly,
NEFT was full of natural resources especially the forest resource, therefore, the
British wanted to have some control over this region so that they can benefit from
these forest resources. Secondly, they wanted the NEFT as buffer state to protect
the British economic interest in Assam.
In fact, the last quarter of nineteenth century was very crucial for British India.
Russia was expanding her spheres of influence to whole central Asia. By the 1890s,
the Central Asian khanates of Khiva, Bukhara and Kokand had fallen, becoming Russian
vassals. With Central Asia in the Tsar’s grip, the ‘Great Game’ now shifted eastward
to China, Mongolia and Tibet. From the British perspective, the Russian Empire’s
expansion into Central Asia threatened to destroy the “jewel in the crown” of the
British Empire, India. The British feared that Tibet would become a staging post
for a Russian invasion of India. This historical association of Tibet with Russia,
supported by certain later developments was enough to confirm the British in their
suspicious of Russian intentions in Central Asia. It was this suspicion which precipitated
the British into an acknowledgement of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet.
The relative position of the British Government vis-à-vis Tibet remained static
until 1886. In 1886, the Tibetan debouched from the Chumbi Valley; a corridor of
fertile land flanked by the territory of Nepal on the side and Bhutan on the other,
and occupied a strip of Sikkimese some twenty miles deep. Therefore, in 1888, British
send small expedition and expelled the intruder without difficulty. In 1890, a Sikkim-Tibet
convention was concluded with China, under this convention British recognised the
Chinese suzerainty over Tibet recognised. The convention defined clearly the boundary
between Sikkim and Tibet as ‘the crest of the mountain range separating the waters
flowing into the Sikkim Teesta and its effluent from the waters flowing into the
rivers of Tibet’. This was supplemented by set of Trade Regulations, 1893, which
was concluded and appended to the Sikkim-Tibet convention. The main purpose of these
instruments, as far as Britain was concerned, was to secure formal Chinese recognition
of her paramount rights in Sikkim; but they dealt, in details, with matter of commerce,
frontier-delimitation and so forth.
Thus, during most of the nineteenth century, the British government dealt with Tibet
through the Chinese government which possessed sovereignty over Tibet. But China’s
hold over Tibet, precarious already, was further weakened by her disastrous war with
Japan in 1894-95; this followed on heels of a bloody Muslim rebellion in her north-western
provinces which cut one of Peking’s main lines of communication. The Tibetans, who
detested their Chinese overlord, found it easy to take the line that, since they
had not been party to the convention 1890 or to the Trade Regulation of 1893. The
provisions of neither were bidding on them; and form this obdurate attitude, which
the Chinese were powerless to modify, stemmed an endless series of vexatious incidents.
With dawn of twentieth century, the British grew deep concern for Tibet because of
growing declination of Qing or Manchu dynasty. Meanwhile, it was speculated and suspected
that China had surrendered their right over Tibet to Russia, which could be intolerable
for the British economic interest. In the summers of 1900 and 1901 Dorjieff Lama,
a close associate of Dalai Lama led embassies from the Dalai Lama to Russia expressing
official greetings. His presence at the embassies was to spark a particularly interesting
example of ‘The Great Game’ between Great Britain and Russia.
In 1902, there were persistent rumours of a secret treaty between Russia and Tibet
at which the Chinese Government was reported to be ready to connvi…….. Further, there
was frequent talk on the Indian border of consignments of Russian arms reaching Lhasa.
In fact, this was the period in which “Great Game,” between the Russia and Britain
moves eastward of Asia. To counteract the Russian influence in Tibet, therefore,
in 1903, Lord Curzon, the then Viceroy of India send an expedition to Tibet. This
expedition was headed by Colonel Francis Younghusband and came to known as Younghusband
Mission of Tibet.
Primary objective of this mission was to establish diplomatic relations and trade
between the British Raj and Tibet, while the secondary reason for the expedition
was to quell the possible Russian influence in Tibet. On 19 July 1903, Younghusband
arrived at Gangtok, the capital city of the Indian state of Sikkim, to prepare for
his mission. A letter from the under-secretary to the government of India to Younghusband
on 26 July 1903 was send, which stated that “In the event of your meeting the Dalai
Lama, the government of India authorizes you to give him the assurance which you
suggest in your letter.” The British took a few months to prepare for the expedition
which pressed into Tibetan territories in early December 1903. The entire British
force numbered over 3,000 fighting men and was accompanied by 7,000 sherpas, porters
and camp followers. The British authorities had also thought of the difficulty of
mountain fighting, and so dispatched a force with many Gurkha and Pathan troops,
who were from mountainous regions.
The Tibetans were aware of the expedition. To avoid bloodshed the Tibetan general
at Yetung pledged that if the British made no attack upon the Tibetans, he would
not attack the British. Colonel Younghusband replied, on 6 December 1903, that “we
are not at war with Tibet and that, unless we are ourselves attacked, we shall not
attack the Tibetans”. When Younghusband and his team at capital city of Lhasa on
3 August 1904, they discover that the thirteenth Dalai Lama had fled to Urga, the
capital of Outer Mongolia, at the advice of his Russian disciple, Agvan Dorjieff.
He went first to Mongolia, and then made his way to Beijing. For this, the Chinese
government stripped him of his titles and had their Chinese Amban post notices around
Lhasa that the Dalai Lama had been deposed, and that the Chinese Amban was now in
charge. Thubten Gyatso stayed in the Chinese capital from 1906 to 1908. He returned
to Lhasa in 1909, disappointed by Chinese policies towards Tibet.
However, Tibetans tore down the notices, and Tibetan officials ignored the Chinese
Amban. The Chinese Amban escorted the British into the city with his personal guard,
but informed them that he did not have any authority to negotiate with them. The
Tibetans told them that only the absent Dalai Lama had authority to sign any accord.
But Younghusband intimidated the regent, Ga-den Tri Rinpoche, and any other local
officials he could gather together as an ad-hoc government, to sign a treaty drafted
unilaterally by him, known subsequently as the Anglo-Tibetan Agreement of 1904. Finally
on 7th September, 1904, bilateral treaty known as the Lhasa Convention was signed
between British and Tibet. Under this treaty, it was agreed that no Tibetan territory
would be given to any foreign country. This activated the Chinese into embarking
upon an expansionist policy in Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan (Chowdhury: 1996; 8). But
owing to signing of the Anglo-Chinese (1906) and Anglo-Russian Convention (1907),
the treaty of 1904 remained ineffective. The Chinese position was that Tibet was
not independent from China, so Tibet could not have independently signed treaty any
such agreement was invalid without Chinese assent.
The British policy at that time inclined to regard its dealings with Tibet principally
as the search for a buffer between Russia and India and to devote attention chiefly
to the effect it might have on Russia. There was little serious thought that a buffer
might be needed between India and China. The same fear of Russia impelled the British
to ignore possibility of future danger from the direction of China, and precipitated
them into concluding the preposterous Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. Among the
other provisions, article II of the Convention sold away Tibet’s independence to
China. The relevant article reads:
“In conformity with the admitted principle of the suzerainty of China over Tibet,
Great Britain and Russia engage not to enter into negotiations with Tibet except
through the intermediary of the Chinese Government”.
As events proved later, it was not a victory for the British but a diplomatic defeats
vis-s-vis China because the British found themselves helpless when China showed her
determination to impose her will on Tibet, considering Tibet as nothing more than
another province of China. Consequently, as the British troops withdrew from the
Chumbi Valley in 1908, the Chinese troops started showing its determination. The
13th Dalai Lama return to Tibet in 1909 and no sooner Dalai Lama return to Tibet,
the Chinese began to reassert their overlordship over Tibet. By the end of 1909,
Chinese troops under the leadership of Chao-Erh-Feng along with force of 6,000 entered
into Tibet. The Chinese at this stage aimed not merely to strengthen their control
over Tibet but also to check the British influence along the Indo-Tibetan frontier.
In the interest of her diplomacy in Asia, Great Britain had pledged for Tibet’s independence
to China but in vain.
In the month of February, 1910, Chinese troops entered the Lhasa, which alarmed
Dalai Lama. Having occupied the Lhasa, the Chinese troops marched very close to the
border of Sikkim. In May 1910, the British Government in Bengal and Assam was alerted
about the reported appearance of Chinese troops at Rima at the head of Mishmi Hills
in Frontier Tracts. The British Government of India was taken by surprise, and, for
the first time, became aware of the vulnerability of the northern frontiers of India.
As early as July,1910, the Lieutenant Governor enquired of the Government of Bengal
and Assam with reference to the Chinese occupation of Rima. The Viceroy Lord Minto
posed the question in his telegram on 23rd October, 1910, to the Secretary General
of the State, the then Lord Morley as follows:
“In consequence of proceeding of Chinese in Rima and the vicinity of tribal tracts
on the North-East Frontier Tracts, the question of our future relations with these
tribes is causing anxiety.”
The Secretary of State refused to countenance any forward policy at that time, and
advised that the question of policy ‘must be left to Lord Hardinge’ who was to joint
very shortly as the new Viceroy. Meanwhile, the situation in North-East Frontier
Tracts caused further alarm when 13th Dalai Lama fled to India on 25th November,
1910. After reaching India, Dalai Lama conveyed the British India that the China
would not rest contended with Tibet only and would certainly try to spread their
influence across Himalaya. At the same time, a intelligence reports arrived to British
India that all trade between the Tibetans and the Miju Mishmis of frontier tracts
had been stopped by the Chinese, which actually confirming the fear of Dalai Lama.
Therefore, Sir Lancelot Hare, the than Lieutenant Governor wrote a letter to new
Viceroy Lord Hardinge, which states:
“I think I hardly brought out with sufficient distinctness one important consideration
which should induce us to press forward beyond the limits by which under a self-denying
ordinance our frontier is at present limited ……… We have an Inner Line and Outer
Line. Up to the Inner Line we administer we in the ordinary way. Between the Inner
Line and Outer Line we only administer politically …….” Further he wrote “………we would
not permit any general increase of activity in this direction nor we can recommend
that any sort of promise be given to the tribes that they rely on our support or
production in the event of Chinese or Tibetan aggression.”
This development of both side along and beyond the Outer Line, give a serious consideration
to the British Government regarding the boundary problem. Considering the necessity
of containing the Chinese advance across the frontier, the British Government decided
to send Noel Williamson’s expedition into the Adi Hills. Objective of this expedition
was to carry out surveys and exploration to obtain the knowledge requisite for the
determination of a suitable boundary between India and China. But unfortunately,
before Williamson could complete his survey of Adi Hills, he was murdered.
Meanwhile Chao-Erh-Feng, though occupied the Lhasa but he failed to subjugate entire
Tibet. There was active resistance to the Chinese domination in the south-east, while
in Lhasa the people resisted the Chinese in every way. On the other hand, 13th Dalai
Lama was in exile in India, tried to obtain British and Russian help against the
China, but in vain. Qing troops in Tibet now willing to make reconciliation with
the spiritual head of the Tibet. But before there could be any agreement between
the Qing Emperor and Dalai Lama over the issue of Tibet, a revolution broke-out in
China in 1911.
The Chinese revolution of 1911, popularly known as the Xinhai Revolution, overthrown
Qing or Manchu Dynasty had immediate effect on Tibet. As a result of this revolution,
Tibetan militia launched a surprise attack on the Qing garrison stationed in Tibet.
Afterwards the Qing officials in Lhasa were forced to sign the “Three Point Agreement”
which provided for the surrender and expulsion of Qing forces in central Tibet. China’s
provisional President of New Republican Government Yuan Shikai sent a telegram to
the 13th Dalai Lama, restoring his earlier titles. The Dalai Lama spurned these titles,
replying that he “intended to exercise both temporal and ecclesiastical rule in Tibet.”
In 1913, Dalai Lama, who was earlier in exiled to India, returned back to Tibet and
reasserted his authority and his independence from China. Thereafter he issued a
proclamation that stated:
“That relationship between the Chinese emperor and Tibet had been that of patron
and priest and had not been based on the subordination of one to the other.” Further
he stated, “We are a small, religious, and independent nation”.
In early 1913, Agvan Dorzhiev and two other Tibetan representatives signed a treaty
between Tibet and Mongolia in Urga, proclaiming mutual recognition and their independence
from China. The 13th Dalai Lama later told a British diplomat that he had not authorized
Agvan Dorzhiev to conclude any treaties on behalf of Tibet. This disorganized state
of affairs in Tibet again began to pose a threat to the Indian affairs and the commercial
interests of the British Empire. The Japanese subjects were in intimate relations
with the high authorities in Lhasa and Russian students were receiving training in
the Kumbum monastery on the Tibetan Frontier; a Russian Buriat and Japanese were
training the Tibetan troops. The collapse of Chinese power and the prospect of Russian
intervention and intrigue changed the whole situation. The Mongol-Tibet treaty, which
concluded in 1913 at the Urga gave the Russian an indirect but real basis of intervention
in Tibet affairs. The chance of Tibet undergoing the fate of Outer Mongolia was imminent.
This stage was great dilemma for the British India. There was every possibility
of Tibet would fall under the control of Russian arms, which would be intolerable
for the British India. The alternative before them was either they could convert
Tibet into a thinly veiled British protectorate as was case with Nepal, Bhutan and
Sikkim, as suggested by Dalai Lama previously. Secondly, British could help Tibet
to be an independent country. But it quite certain that Tibet could not stand alone
without the help of any foreign power and would fall an easy victim to Chinese aggression.
There was also a risk of Tibet throwing herself into the arms of the Russians, which
it was the primary aim of the British to resist and eliminate. And the third alternative
was to allow China to re-conquer Tibet and constitute it into a Chinese province.
But that would have left the possibility of intrigues and incursions into British
territories in India and Burma.
The Government of India now debated over the issues of Tibet. Neither China’s policy
of considering Tibet as a province nor the Dalai Lama’s rejection of Chinese suzerainty
suited the British. They wanted to keep the fiction of China’s position of suzerain
as the Russians had done in Outer Mongolia because it provided China with some legal
primacy while depriving her of any effective control. Therfore, on 17th Auguest 1912,
the British Government proposed to the new Republican Government of China that Tibet’s
status be negotiated on the basis on the situation which had existed before the Younghusband
Mission of 1904. The Chinese Government on the other hand, well aware of Russian
design in Mongolia and the weakness of their own Government accepted the proposal
in which, there will be representative from Lhasa as a co-equal plenipotentiary in
the negotiation. This paved the way for tripartite conference between the British,
China and Tibet in 1913-14.
With the view of settling the Tibetan question, British India foreign office on
May 23, 1913 invited the Chinese government for a joint conference, which would include
a representative from Tibetan government, to arrive at a tripartite agreement. The
conference was formally inaugurated on 6th October, 1913 at New Delhi under the chairmanship
of Sir Henry MocMohan, the then Foreign of British India. The Tibetan delegate appointed
to represent the Dalai Lama was Lama Lonchen Shatra, someone who had seldom left
his native land but surprised the British and Chinese delegates about his knowledge
of men and grasp of political affairs. China was represented by Ivan Chen, a widely
travelled diplomat who spoke English well and had served for nine years in the Chinese
Legation in London as counselor. Though Chen headed the delegation, but the power
behind the scene was one Lu Hsing Chi, who was considered an expert on Indian and
The convention opening session was held on October 13, 1913 at Dharbhanga Palace
house with Lama Lonchen laying his claims on the table, stressing recent Chinese
excesses and asserting Tibet’s independence. Ivan Chen counterclaimed China’s sovereignty
over Tibet with the right to station a resident (Amban) in Lhasa garrisoned with
2600 men. In November 1913, McMohan made a 1906 map of Tibet and the Surrounding
Regions published by Royal Geographic Society as the basis of the ongoing discussion.
When conference re-convening on January 12, 1914 McMohan on February 17, 1914, after
brief disruption on December 24, 1913, McMohan presented a map supporting a buffer
state idea by the two-zone proposal as a solution of the political issue by the recognition
of autonomy for Outer Tibet, whilst reserving to China the right to re-establish
such a measure of control in Inner Tibet as would restore and safeguard her historic
position, without in any way infringing the integrity of Tibet as geographical and
political entity. While Ivan Chen and Lonchen Shatra argued the pros and cons of
McMohan proposals into spring and summer, Chinese and Tibetan troops fought one another
on the eastern-Tibet border.
Discussion continued for about six month in which the Tibetan and British representatives
at the conference agreed to the line, which ceded Tawang and other Tibetan areas
to the British Empire. The Chinese representative had no problems with the border
between British India and Outer Tibet, however on the issue of the border between
Outer Tibet and Inner Tibet the talks broke down. Thus, the Chinese representative
refused to accept the agreement and walked out. Not being able to settle the vexed
border and frustration creeping in on July 3, 1914, Ivan Chen informed the conference
that Peking’s very explicit instructions enjoined him not to sign the Tripartite
Convention. Lonchen then reported his instructions to Lhasa said that as he had accepted
the Convention, he should sign it. Finally on 27th April, 1914, a convention was
signed under which Tibet was divided into two zones, viz., the Inner Tibet and Outer
Outer Tibet was to be the wider area to the east of the historic Yangtse frontier,
over which the Tibetan Government had many centuries exercised complete jurisdiction.
Here, the Chinese were not to send their troops, nor station any civil or military
personal, nor establish any colonies. But as a symbol of their suzerainty, they might
install at Lhasa an Amban to look after the Chinese interest. Inner Tibet was to
be the broad peripheral area of Tibet extending in the north to the Atlya Tagh range
and in the east to the old provincial borders of Kansu and Szechuan in which the
population was mainly Tibetan by race and religion. Chinese would have full administrative
authority over this zone, subject to the provision that it could not be made a Chinese
province and, in the selection and appointment of high priests of the monasteries
control was to be vested in Lhasa authorities. McMahon spelt out this solution in
the form of a draft convention and the proposed boundaries of Outer and Inner Tibet
were shown on the accompanying map.
As soon McMohan and Lonchen Shatra had signed the document, which give birth to
McMohan Line, Sir Henry McMahon closed the conference after a tripartite negotiation
had been held for nine months but only two nations got to sign it, which remained
secret till 1937. After Britain and Tibet signed the border agreement, Ivan Chen
declared that his government had instructed him to announce that they would not recognize
any treaty or similar document that might now or hereafter be signed between Great
Britain and Tibet. This marked the beginning of border controversy between the India
Eventually, along with the tripartite conference, the British Government was having
bipartite negotiation with Tibet in two important aspects. The first related to the
delineation of a boundary alignment between India and Tibet to the north of frontier
tracts, and the second to a new Trade Agreement between these two countries. Consequently,
in this bipartite conference a part from Tawang, Tibet accorded Walong which situated
on the left bank of the Lohit River to British India. As for the situation and inclusion
of Walong, the Government of India at first was hesitant, but subsequently it was
found to be outside the Tibetan province of Zayul Chu till the advent of the Chinese
and inside the Indian side of the frontier, from watershed, geographical and historical
point of view (Bose: 1997; 138). But this had been much resented by the Chinese Government.
Ivan Chen held that the Tibetan Government did not possess any control over the Zayul
Chu which he held, was inhabited by independent tribes called the Miris, the Mishings,
the Adis and the Mishmis.
All the hopes and aspirations of McMahon Line were dashed to grounds in due course.
In the very first instance, though the Indo-Tibetan boundary was delimited but it
could not be demarcated because of the terrain through which this line rans mostly
covered with snow. Secondly, the actual documents of the conference remained secret
and unpublished till 1937. It was only in 1937, that the map showing the McMohan
Line as a boundary between Tibet and India was published by Trigonometrical Survey
of India, in which Tawang was shown as a part of Tibet. But again the Dirang Dzong
in the west to Walong in the east was not included in the map. The British set their
feet in the region in 1944. Moreover, Chinese never accepted this boundary since,
according to her, the Shimla itself was invalid.
Numerous changes occurred in the late 1940s. With the creation of the Republic of
India and the separate Islamic Republic of Pakistan in 1947, and the establishment
of the People’s Republic of China in China in 1949. From Dirang Dzong in the west
to Walong in the east, the British set their feet in the region in 1944, and Tibet
changed its position on the McMahon Line in 1947 when the Tibetan Government wrote
a note presented to the newly independent Indian Ministry of External Affairs laying
claims to the Tibetan district (Tawang) south of the McMahon Line. When India gained
its independence from Britain in 1947 it inherited all of the British territorial
agreements, and as such inherited the McMahon Line as the border between it and China.
Indian belief in the legitimacy of the McMahon line dated back to the Simla Convention
of 1914, as well as to the numerous maps of British India with the line delineating
its northern border. But Chinese claimed that the legacy that British inherited to
India was not authentic. By this statement they indicate the delineation of McMahon
Line which was not recognized since its inception.
But one of the most basic policies for the Indian government was that of maintaining
cordial relations with China. The Indian government wished to revive its ancient
friendly ties with China. When the People’s Republic of China was declared in China,
India was among the first countries to give it diplomatic recognition. After coming
to power, Republic of China under the leadership of Chu Sakai announced that its
army would be occupying Tibet. But the newly formed Republic of China was more active
in posting troops to the Aksai Chin border than the newly formed Indian republic
India decided to take moves to ensure a stable Indo-Chinese border. In August 1950,
China expressed its gratitude to Indian attempts to “stabilize the Indo-Chinese border”.
To clear any doubts or ambiguities, Prime Minister Nehru stated in Parliament in
1950 that “Our maps show that the McMahon Line is our boundary and that is our boundary...we
stand by that boundary and we will not let anyone else come across that boundary”.
By 1951, China had extended numerous posts within Indian Territory in Aksai Chin
(historically a part of Indian state of Ladakh). The Indian government, on the other
hand, concentrated its military efforts on stopping Ladakh from being taken by Pakistani
troops and did not establish itself in Aksai Chin. On various occasions in 1951 and
1952, however, the government of China expressed the idea that there were no frontier
issues between India and Chinese Tibet to be worried about. Later, in September 1951,
India declined to attend a conference in San Francisco for the conclusion of a peace
treaty with Japan because China, which India viewed as an important factor in this
treaty, was not invited because of its status as an international pariah. In the
coming years India strived to become China’s representative in world matters, as
China had been isolated from many issues. India vigorously pressed, since the start
of the 1950s, for the Republic of China to be included within the United Nations.
The People’s Liberation Army defeated the Tibetan army in a battle at Chamdo in
1950 and Lhasa recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet in 1951. The Indian army
asserted control of Tawang at this time, overcoming some armed resistance and expelling
its Tibetan administrators. In 1954, the China and India concluded the Five Principles,
which stressed; (1) mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty;
(2) mutual non-aggression; (3) non-interference in each other’s domestic affairs;
(4) equality and mutual benefit, and finally; (5) peaceful coexistence, under which
India acknowledged Chinese sovereignty in Tibet. This agreement originates from Nehru’s
optimism that post-colonial nations could invalidate the precepts of a bipolar world,
and that the regional powers of Asia can contradict the validity of traditional balance
of power politics.
Indian negotiators presented a frontier map to the Chinese that included the McMahon
Line and the Chinese side did not object. At this time, the Indian government under
Prime Minister Nehru promoted the slogan Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai (India and China are
brothers). Nehru’s ill-conceived vision of creating Pan-Asia solidarity with the
Communist China blinded him to see the ulterior motif hidden behind the diplomatic
façade presented by Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. Over four decades had passed since
Nehru was betrayed and the infamous slogan, “Hindi Chini Bai Bai’ was shattered into
pieces, but India still carries on the same debacle policy designed by Krishna Menon.
Nothing seems to have learnt from Nehru’s blunder. In 1954 India officially called
the territories accorded to her side of the McMohan Line NEFA- North East Frontier
Nevertheless, after 1954, relationship between India and China started strained
on the score of the so-called border incidents when Chinese troops began to violate
the North-East Frontier of India. Consequently, on July 1, 1954 Nehru wrote a memo
directing that the maps of India be revised to show definite boundaries on all frontiers,
where they were previously indicated as undemarcated. The new maps also revised the
boundary in the east to show the Himalayan hill crest as the boundary. In some places,
this line is a few kilometers north of the McMahon Line. These new maps also revised
the maps to show the countries of Bhutan and Sikkim as part of India.
In 1956, Nehru expressed concern to Zhou Enlai that Chinese maps showed some 120,000
square kilometres of Indian Territory as Chinese. Zhou responded that there were
errors in the maps and that they were of little meaning. He stated that the maps
needed revising from previous years where such ideas were considered to be true.
In November 1956, Zhou again repeated his assurances that he had no claims based
on the maps. But in the late 1950s, soon after occupying Tibet, China occupied a
large tract (approximately 38,000 square km) of Aksai Chin, a remote part of Ladakh
in Jammu and Kashmir bordering Pakistan, and built a highway (National Highway 219)
through it to connect with its eastern province of Xinjiang. India considers this
an illegal occupation. In the middle, or southern part of Tibet, China asserts that
the border dividing Tibet and Sikkim and Uttar Pradesh are also disputed. And in
the east, it lays claim to the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh.
By 1959, the Communist Chinese openly put forward the argument rejecting the McMahon
Line, on the ground that the agreement between the British and Tibetan representative
was unknown to the Chinese representative. This was true in some extent as the bipartite
negotiation between the British and Tibet was not known to Ivan Chen. They started
constructing the road along the Ladak, which was complete violation of the 1954’s
agreement between India and China. Consequently, March 31, 1959 the Dalai Lama fled
from Tibet into India where he was granted political asylum. This course of events
angered the Indian public as they saw it as a renunciation of Indian trade and cultural
access to Tibet guaranteed in the Seventeen Points Agreement. People’s Republic of
China’s officials chaffed at India’s meddling in their domestic affairs by granting
asylum to the Dalai Lama and thereby violating the 1954 Panchsheel agreement. The
Tibetan revolt combined with gradual Chinese assertion of borders in 1957 due to
diplomatic impasse, are the primary factors contributing to a hostile Sino-Indian
diplomatic relationship from 1959 to the outbreak of hostilities.
India on her part began to protest against this violation of the autonomy by carrying
out ‘reign of terror’ in the region which was also confirmed by International Commission
of Juries. Now China sharply reacted with Indian Government’s attitudes and she started
encroaching in Indian boundaries further more. In 1960, India openly warned the Chinese
Government about the further violation of India boundaries and if it happens, she
will resort the arms. On the other hand, Zhou Enlai proposed that India drop its
claim to Aksai Chin and China would withdraw its claims from NEFA. Zhou consistently
refused to accept the legitimacy of India’s territorial claims; he proposed that
the any negotiations had to take into account the facts on the ground. Zhou tried
many times to get Nehru to accept conceding Aksai Chin, he visited India four times
in 1960. However, Nehru believed that China did not have a legitimate claim over
both of those territories and was not ready to give away any one of them. However,
they had different opinions as to the legality of the Simla agreement which eventually
led to the inability to reach a decision. Nehru’s adamancy was seen within China
as Indian opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet, as China needed the highway through
Aksai Chin to maintain an effective control over the Tibetan plateau. Thus, the territorial
dispute from India’s perspective, coupled with the building of forward military posts
by the Indian military caused the 1954 Panchsheel Agreement to not be renewed in
1961. Crossing both the claim and McMahon lines, both nations were in violation of
each other’s territorial conception, and India was now physically challenging Chinese
sovereignty in Tibet.
However, by 1961, Chinese Government once again started constructing road along
with the McMahon Line claiming 52,000 sq.km. of Indian sovereignty territory and
actual control of 14,000 sq. km. India now replied Chinese act by establishing seven
new military out-posts in Ladak and twenty-five military out-posts in North East
Frontier Agency. Chinese Government now reacted violently and warned New-Delhi in
“…..Should Indian Government refused to withdraw its aggressive posts and continue
to carry-out provocation against Chinese posts, the Chinese frontier guards would
be compelled to defend these. The Indian side will be wholly responsible for all
consequences arising there from on Chinese side too.”
On the political level, talks were going on to resolve the tension between two sides.
On September 8, 1962, Nehru had gone to London to attend a Commonwealth Prime Ministers’
Conference and, once again he came back with popular slogan ‘Hind-Chini Bhai Bhai.
On 3 October, Zhou Enlai visited Nehru in New Delhi, promising there would be no
war between the nations and reiterating his wishes to solve the dispute diplomatically.
In amidst of all these development, Chinese surprisingly began to attack in India
on 20th October, 1962, entering 80 miles reaching up to West Kameng and completely
occupied the Tawang.
(The contributor is Assistant Professor (History) Govt. College Doimukh)