What is the McMahon Line between India and China?

Sovereignty over two relatively large and several smaller separated pieces of territory has been contested between China and India.


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What is the McMahon Line between India and China? 1

Aksai Chin is located either in the Indian union territory of Ladakh or the Chinese autonomous regions of Xinjiang and Tibet. It is a virtually uninhabited high-altitude wasteland crossed by the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. The other disputed territory lies south of the McMahon Line. It was formerly referred to as the North East Frontier Agency, and is now called Arunachal Pradesh. The McMahon Line was part of the 1914 Simla Convention between British India and Tibet, without the agreement of China.

As of 2020, India continues to maintain that the McMahon Line as the legal border, while China has never accepted the border, stating that Tibet was never independent. Around 1962, Chinese troops crossed the McMahon line and, during a one-month war, pushed forward to establish a "Line of Actual Control". A border conflict escalated into a second war in 1967, at the end of which India stated it had established a new "Line of Actual Control"; no further military deaths occurred until 2020. In 1987 and in 2013 potential conflicts over the two differing Lines of Actual Control were successfully de-escalated. A conflict involving a Bhutanese-controlled area on the border between Bhutan and China was successfully de-escalated in 2017 following injuries to both Indian and Chinese troops. Multiple brawls broke out in 2020, escalating to dozens of deaths in June 2020.

The 1962 Sino-Indian War was fought in both of disputed areas. The agreement to resolve the dispute concluded in 1996 included "confidence-building measures" and the mutually agreed[failed verification] Line of Actual Control. In 2006, the Chinese ambassador to India claimed that all of Arunachal Pradesh is Chinese territory amidst a military buildup. At the time, both countries claimed incursions as much as a kilometre at the northern tip of Sikkim. In 2009, India announced it would deploy additional military forces along the border. In 2014, India proposed China should acknowledge a "One India" policy to resolve the border dispute

What is Mcmahon Line?

The McMahon Line marks the boundary between the China-occupied territory of the East-Himalayan region and the Indian regions. This region is a mountainous place of high altitude. This line was determined by Sir Henry McMahon, then Foreign Secretary in the Government of British India, and it is called the McMahon Line after his name. The length of this line is 890 kilometers.

The McMahon line was the result of the Shimla Treaty of 1914 which took place between India and Tibet. But China does not accept this agreement and line.

What is Shimla Treaty?

The Shimla Treaty was signed between the representatives of India and Tibet for clear demarcation in 1914. China was not present in this agreement treaty because till this time Tibet was an independent region, that is why there was no requirement of the Chinese representation at the time of this Treaty. 

Thus according to the Shimla Treaty, the McMahon Line is the clear boundary line between India and China. On behalf of India, the British rulers considered Tawang of Arunachal Pradesh and the southern part of Tibet as part of India and which was also agreed by the Tibetans. Due to this, the Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh became part of India.

Why doesn't China accept the McMahon Line?

According to China, Tibet has always been a part of its territory, so the representative of Tibet are not authorised to accept any agreement without Chinese consent. In 1950, China fully occupied Tibet. Now China neither approves nor accepts the McMahon Line.

China also argues that China was not involved in the Shimla Agreement, therefore the Shimla Agreement is not binding on it. China claimed its right on Arunachal Pradesh only after the occupancy of the Tibet in 1950.

India's stand on McMahon Line:-

India believes that when the McMahon Line was established in 1914, Tibet was a weak but independent country, so it has every right to negotiate a border agreement with any country.
According to India, when the McMahon Line was drawn, Tibet was not ruled by China  Therefore, the McMahon Line is the clear and legal boundary line between India and China. 

Even after the Chinese occupancy over Tibet in 1950, the Tawang region remained an integral part of India.

Current status on the McMahon Line:-

India recognizes the McMahon Line and considers it to be the 'Actual Line of Control (LAC)' between India and China, while China does not recognize the McMahon Line. China says that the area of the disputed area is 2,000 kilometers while India claims it is 4,000 kilometers.

This land dispute between India and China is in Tawang (Arunachal Pradesh), which China considers as the Southern part of Tibet. Whereas according to the Shimla Agreement it is a part of the Indian state Arunachal Pradesh.

Thus it is clear that China rejects almost every treaty that it had approved before the communist revolution. This is true about the Panchsheel agreement also.


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