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JUNE - 2013 ISSUE

Force Magazine

 
We Are Seeking an Administrative Mechanism Whereby Tibetans Could Live Together;
We Are Not Making Any Territorial Claims

Sikyong, Tibetan-government in exile, Lobsang Sangay

Sikyong, Tibetan-government in exile, Lobsang Sangay

While His Holiness the Dalai Lama has categorically said that Arunachal Pradesh was never a part of Tibet, the Chinese now claim it as south Tibet. What is the legal or historical basis for a claim like this?
As far as Tibetans are concerned, we abide by the Shimla Agreement of 1914 between British India and Tibet. The agreement demarcated the border between Tibet and British India, which came to be known as the McMahon Line. However, if you go back in history, then most of the Buddhist monasteries used to pay some kind of tax to Lhasa. Maybe, the Chinese are using this as the basis for claiming Arunachal Pradesh.

But given that the Chinese insist that their representative initialled the Shimla Agreement under duress, and hence they do not recognise it, can they claim Arunachal as South Tibet?
China makes claims over many areas these days, a lot of which are disputed. But coming back to the Shimla Agreement, it is true that the Chinese representative merely initialled the draft and did not sign the final agreement; their point of contention was not the border between Tibet and India, but the border between Tibet and China. As far as the formulation of inner and outer Tibet is concerned, it was used to describe areas around Lhasa and those at a distance; but never implied areas as far as Arunachal.

 
 
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