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India China Border Issues UPSC | International boundary of India and related issues | Political Aspects | Geography of India

China and India were two great power in Asia before western imperialism. Tibet and the Himalayas acted as a buffer between India and China, due to this there was little influence of each other between the two countries. As a result, both countries were not much familiar with each other. There were difficulties in evolving foreign policy when both countries confronted each other in the twentieth century.

Unlike Pakistan, India started a relationship with China very friendly. After the Chinese revolution in 1949, India was one of the first nations to recognize the communist government of China. It was felt at that time that China is a friendly neighbor and they will never attack India. For a long time, the border between India and China was guarded by para-military forces, not the army.

The Panchsheel Agreement was signed between India and China in 1954, under the agreement India recognized China's claim on Tibet. In 1958, there were armed rebellions in Tibet against Chinese occupation; Later, in 1959, the Dalai Lama took refuge in India. Later relations between China and India deteriorated as China accused India of allowing anti-China activities from within India.

Regarding boundaries, India claimed that the boundary between India and China was settled in colonial times. But, China said that the colonial decisions will not apply.

Let us understand the border dispute between India and China by dividing the border into three parts:

China is our neighbor and shares a land border from India on the northern side and the border between India and China is actually not fully demarcated. The following Indian states share a border with China.

  • Ladakh: 1597 km
  • Uttarakhand: 345 km
  • Himachal Pradesh: 200 km
  • Sikkim: 220 km
  • Arunachal Pradesh: 1126 km

The length of the total border between the two countries is about 3488 km ( second highest after Bangladesh).

The border of Sino India can be divided into three parts:

  • Western Sector
  • Middle Sector
  • Eastern Sector
The main border disputes were in the western and eastern sectors.
China claimed the following two areas:
  • Aksai-chin in Ladakh
  • Much of the area of Arunachal Pradesh

China occupied the Aksai -chin and made strategic roads between 1957 and 1959. Several border talk take place between the two armies, but consensus did not take place.
China launched the massive invasion in October 1962 on the eastern and western border of India.
The Soviet Union remained neutral during the war. After the china war, India's image was dented at home and abroad.
After two decades, in 1976 full diplomatic relations were restored between the two countries.

Western Sector

The Boundary line with Ladakh  Union Territory is called the western part of the Sino-India boundary.

It is approximately 2,152 Km.

There are two disputes in the Western sector:

  • Shaksgam Valley
  • Aksai Chin

Shaksgam Valley: 

  • Shaksgam Valley was sold to China by Pakistan in 1963 but it is our territory.

Dispute over Aksai chin:

  • As per Johnson Line created in 1865, Aksai chin was shown to Indian territory.
  • As per MacDonald's line created in 1893, Aksai chin was shown to China's territory.
  • India considers Johnson's line is correct but China rejects and considers McDonald's line is correct.
  • Aksai Chin was occupied by China from 1957 to 1959, since then it has had control over China.
Near Pangong Lake in Ladakh, the Chinese army objected to Indian road construction in Galway Valley. A face-off between the two armies took place in June 2020, resulting in the death of 20 Indian soldiers and unidentified Chinese casualties. This was the biggest incident since 1962.

Middle Sector:

  • It is about 625 km in Uttarakhand and the Himachal  Pradesh State.
  • No major disputes on either side.

Eastern part:

  • As per the Mac-Mohan line, Arunachal Pradesh is part of Indian territory. The Mac-Mohan line was created in 1914 on the Simala accord.
  • China rejects the Macmohan line and claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of China.

India China Border Issues

After 1962, the LAC line of actual control was created informally.

India China Border dispute History:

  • Before 1950, Tibet was a buffer state between India and China.
  • 1950: China occupied Tibet. India did not openly oppose it. But later, on receiving information about the suppression of culture in Tibet by China, India opposed it.
  • 1959: Spiritual leader Dalai Lama came to India as political asylum.
  • 1957–1959: China occupied the Aksai-Chin regions; Build strategic roads.
  • 1962: China launched a massive invasion in October 1962. In the first week of October, the Chinese army occupied a large part of Arunachal Pradesh. The second wave of attacks came in November, with Chinese forces approaching the plains of Assam. Later China unilaterally ceased operations and withdrew its troops from all the occupied territories which were there before 1962.
  • 1976: Both countries restored full diplomatic relations.

Try to solve the following questions:
  • Discuss the issues involved in the Indo-China border dispute. (66th BPSC)
  •  Explain the origin, dimensions, and implications of the Sino-Indian border dispute.(UPSC 2016)

Answer the following multiple-choice questions on India-China Border.

1. When did China occupy Aksai-Chin during?
a) 1950-54
b) 1957-59
c) 1962 war
d) 1964-65

Answer. b) 1957-59

2. In which year, armed rebellion against Chinese oppression takes place in Tibet?
a) 1955
b) 1957
c) 1958
d) 1959

Answer. c) 1958

3. In which year did the Tibetan spiritual guru (Dalai Lama) take asylum in India?
a) 1955
b) 1957
c) 1958
d) 1959

Answer. d) 1959

4. Which of the following state/Union territory share the largest border with China?
a) Ladakh
b) Uttarkhand
c) Sikkim
d) Arunachal Pradesh

Answer. a) Ladakh

5. Which of the following line is not related to the India-China border?
a) Johnson Line
b) Macdonald line
c) Mac-Mohan Line
d) Durand Line

Answer. d) Durand Line

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