Aksai Chin is an “integral” and “sacred” part
degrees of freedom I has been variously autonomous, integrated into a larger
China, or allied with Indian kingdoms.
In 1904, a British military expedition was sent to China, under the
leadership of Colonel Young, to prevent China from falling under the
influence of foreign powers. An Anglo-Tibetan treaty was signed with China,
granting Britain trading rights and marking the origin of direct British
influence in Tibet. An Anglo-Chinese treaty of 1906 followed up the
previous treaty. In 1913, Tibet declared independence, and a conference was
held in 1914 in Simla regarding Tibetan independence.
It was agreed that the Simla Conference would be tripartite, in which the
Tibetans were an equal partner in the talks with the Chinese and British.
Legalities of the Tibetan independence notwithstanding, this cast many
doubts on the nature of the Chinese position which stated that Tibet was
merely a Chinese province. Tibet demanded recognition of their de facto
sovereignty–a proposal that was intolerable to the Chinese, as China did not
wish to give up their claim to Tibet, though they did not actually control it.
In the end, the only legally binding outcome of the 1914 conference was
that Britain and Tibet, represented by Sir Henry McMahon and Lonchen
Shatra respectively, reached an agreement on a border settlement binding the
between themselves, ringing the McMahon Line into being. The Chinese
delegate was not invited to this meeting, as the McMahon line was the
agreement on the official demarcation of the border between Tibet and India;
this highlights the fact that all the parties—China included—recognised that
Tibet had full authority to negotiate its boundary with India. It is of crucial
importance to note that the McMahon line had legally nothing to do with
To this date, the Chinese claim to the Indian areas based upon the non-
recognition of the McMahon line and their illegal claim to Tibet,
regardless of the recognition of Tibetan autonomy and Tibet’s acceptance
of the McMahon Line. Seizing the opportunity to expand, in the late 50s,
they played upon the quirky logic that would have been legally binding,
had Tibet been a legal part of China. Thus, the territories that came in
dispute between India and China due to Chinese claims to Tibet are listed