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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Seminar on 1914 Shimla Convention held in New Delhi

July 6, 2008

By Tenzin Sangmo
July 4, 2008

New Delhi, July 4 - Commemorating the 94th anniversary of the July 3
Shimla Convention(1914) the ML Sondhi Institute For Asia Pacific
Affairs supported by the Tibetan Parliamentary and Policy Research
Centre (TPPRC) organized a day long seminar on the Agreement and its
subsequent consequences at the India International Centre in New Delhi today.

Presenters and subject experts included Dr. Anand Kumar from the
Centre for the Study of Social Systems JNU, MP Khiren Rijiju (Lok
Sabha) from Arunachal Pradesh, Former Ambassadors Dalip Mehta and
Ranjit Gupta, Senior Advocates Rajiv Dhawan and Naresh Mathur
(Supreme Court of India), Major General Vinod Saighal and Gandhian
Rajiv Vora, Chairman of Swarajpeeth and its Director Dr. Niru Vora.

In the year 1914 representatives of Great Britain Sir Henry McMahon,
Secretary in the British-India Government, Ivan Chen Special
Commissioner for Foreign Affairs in Shanghai, China and Lonchen
Shatra Paljor Dorje, Prime Minister of Tibet met in Shimla to draft a
tripartite treaty where the governments of Great Britain and China
recognized the latter's suzerainty over Tibet and the autonomy of
Outer Tibet guaranteeing to "respect the territorial integrity of
Tibet and abstain from interference in the administration of Outer
Tibet (including the selection and installation of the Dalai Lama),
which shall remain in the hands of the Tibetan Government in Lhasa."

The Convention also covered trade issues, the posting of British and
Chinese envoys in Tibet and the borders between India and Tibet.
China however failed to come to terms after Britain claimed rights to
Tawang, northern Arunachal Pradesh which China views as Southern
Tibet and refused to sign the treaty. Notwithstanding China's
refusal, the Shimla Agreement came into effect with the three nations
participating as equals.

The border in question is the McMahon Line named after Sir Henry
McMahon and "extends along the crest of the Himalayas for 550 miles
from Bhutan in the west to the great bend of the Brahmaputra River in
the east." It is just about the same line of control that marks the
frontier between territories under the Indian side of the fence and
that of China. It is regarded by India as the national legal border
and is also reiterated by the Tibetan Government in Exile.

Choekyong Wangchuk, member of Tibetan parliament, on the occasion
said, "There are two main parts of the Shimla Agreement: that of
boundary and suzerainty. On the question of boundary, the Agreement
is definitely binding. His Holiness stands by it and so does the
TGIE. We are willing to live with the PRC provided they uphold the
interests of the minority race which is laid down in the Chinese Constitution."

China's claims that it does not recognize the Shimla Convention
because Tibet was not a sovereign government and therefore did not
have any external affairs authority to conclude treaties fall short
of the truth. Nor do their declaration of Tibetan territories (Kham
and Amdo) having been under China for years holds ground.

Tibet has been signing treaties as an independent nation since 821
A.D. with China, Ladakh, Kashmir, Nepal, Burma, Sikkim and Great
Britain up until 1918.

According to 'The History of Tibet: Volume III. The modern period:
1895-1959,' "The Tibetan Government's claims to the disputed
territories consisted of three parts: first, historical evidence
demonstrating that these territories were Tibetan territories;
second, evidence showing that a 1000 year old boundary between Tibet
and China already existed; and third, a refutation of the Chinese
claims. In stark contrast with the one Chinese document which states
that several of the disputed territories have been given Chinese
names and converted into the 8th Division of the Sichuan
Parliamentary election districts were the ninety documents by the
Tibetan Government including inscriptions of boundary pillars, census
reports, tax and revenue records, extracts from written histories,
registers of legal cases, list of official appointments, monastic
records, bonds of allegiance between territories and the Tibet
Government, and correspondence between the Chinese and Tibetan
Government regarding certain territories."

Rajiv Vora in his presentation said, "China has no qualms about being
untruthful, about being what Mahatma Gandhi would call 'mischievous'
to truth. It has gained an upper hand only over its nakedness of untruth"

The day's seminar was divided into two sessions-the pre lunch and
post lunch conference. Specialists presented facts and data based on
historical analysis. Safe to say all those gathered agreed that China
whatsoever had no concrete case morally, legally or otherwise to back
her tall claims.
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