aggression and the loss of this buffer.
    Nehru, following his foreign policy of trying to establish mutual, non-
aligned relations on the international scene, held the view that India could ill
afford a confrontation over Tibet at a nascent point in India’s history,
especially so during the ongoing Korean War. Patel, however, wanted a
strong line to be adopted against the Chinese aggression. Moreover, India had
international support in this matter, with world opinion strongly against the
Chinese aggression in Tibet.
    It would be instructive to examine the Chinese claims on Tibet in brief at
this juncture, since the dispute over the McMahon Line that demarcated the
border between India and China owes its origins to these claims. The
ostensible reason given by China when the PLA entered Tibet was to
“liberate three million Tibetans from imperialist aggression, to complete the
unification of the whole of China, and to safeguard the frontier regions of the
country”. It is generally surmised that the reason behind China’s invasion
was to gain control of the highly strategic crossroads of Tibet that lead to the
heart of Western, Central, South and South East Asia, and can be used as a
springboard for engaging the same.
    In 1842, the autonomous Tibetans and the Dogra rulers of the kingdom of
Jammu and Kashmir signed a non-aggression pact on respecting the “old,
established frontiers.” The boundary was not specified. To clarify this, in
1847 the British delineated a boundary from the Spiti river up to the Pangong
lake. The area further north up to the Karakoram Pass was left out. The first
boundary alignment here was recorded in 1865 when W. H. Johnson of the
Survey of India trekked across the Aksai Chin and drew a map including this
in Jammu and Kashmir. Johnson was soon appointed Kashmir’s
commissioner in Ladakh. The Foreign Office came to adopt of the view that
the border should be pushed further to the Kuen Lun range to absorb Aksai
Chin and to put a British controlled buffer in between to forestall the
presumed Russian advance, as the British did with Afghanistan, though
nothing came of this.
    In 1892 the Chinese put a boundary marker at the Karakoram Pass and
told the British officer and adventurer, Captain Young, that Chinese territory
began there and that the boundary ran along the Karakoram range. The
reasons given for this was that