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16 March 2023: McMahon Line

Why in News?

2 Senators in the United States have introduced a bipartisan resolution in the upper house of congress restating that the US recognises the McMohan Line as the international boundary between India and China in the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

  • The resolution further added that India has a well-established state of Arunachal Pradesh as an integral part of India, which China calls South Tibet.

What is the McMahon Line?

  • McMahon is the d-facto boundary between China and India in the eastern sector. 
  • It represents the boundary between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, from Bhutan in the west to Myanmar in the east.
  • Although Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India, China claims it as part of the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
  • The McMahon line was drawn during the time of the Simla Convention, in 1914. It was an official convention between Great Britain, China and Tibet. 
  • The McMahon Line delimited the respective spheres of influence of British India and Tibet in the area of what is today India’s North East and northern Myanmar.

Background

  • At the time of the first Anglo-Burmese War, the British took control over the Assam Valley, and from here they expanded their influence across the Northeast.
  • Meanwhile, Chinese influence over Tibet had become weak and the British were in fear that Tibet could fall under Russian Influence.
  • In order to control the Russian influence, the British led an expedition into Tibet and signed the Convention of Lhasa, in 1904
  • At the same time, China also invaded the region, taking control of the southeastern Kham Region. China encroached upon the tribal regions north of Assam valley, pushing the British to extend jurisdiction further.
  • As a result, Simla Convention attempted to settle the question of Tibet’s sovereignty  
  • The convection divided the Buddhist region into Outer Tibet and inner Tibet.
    • Outer Tibet would remain in the hands of the Tibetan Government at Lhasa under the suzerainty of China.
    • Inner Tibet would be under the direct jurisdiction of the newly formed Republic of China. 
  • The border between China and Tibet as well as Tibet and British India was also determined.
  • The newly determined boundaries were called McMahon Line after McMahon, the chief British negotiator 
  • The final convention was only sighed by McMahon on the behalf of British Government and Tibet. China did not give consent saying that Tibet had no independent authority to enter into the international agreements 

STATUS OF McMahon Line SINCE 1914 

  • After the communist took power in 1949, they pulled china out of all international agreements and demanded renegotiations.
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