What is the official view of India towards Tibet? How does it differentiate Tibet with Kashmir?

Answer by Vineet Menon:

Official Indian Stand towards Tibet:
In 1913-14, Britain to settle the border disputes between (India) Raj and China set up a triparty settlement involving China, Tibet and India. In this accord,

Tibetwas divided into Outer Tibet and Inner Tibet. Outer Tibet, which is Tibet proper, was declared to be autonomous region over which China was to have nominal sovereignty or suzerainty, whereas Inner Tibet which has sizeable Tibetan population was to be under the full sovereign control of China. Shimla conference also approved Indo-Tibetan border, which was named McMahon line after a British official,who played a key role in Shimla conference.

Representatives from India and Tibet agreed upon this settlement but China didn't ratified this proposal. When in 1947, India got it's independence, she inherited this accord along with other British legacies. So, the official view of India vis-a-vis Tibet is of an autonomous region under Chinese govt.

Difference between Kashmir and Tibet
The main difference between both is that during the formation of Union of India , all the 500+ princely states were given an option to either accede to Pakistan or India or to remain independent. Vallabhai Patel along with his secretary V.P. Menon glued together all the states to forge one political India. A few princely states remained in limbo about what to do even after India got independence on 15th Auguest 1947. One such state was the province of Jammu and Kashmir.

As the story goes, Pakistan resorted to dirty means to have Kashmir inside their international boundary. They sent soldiers dressed up as villagers to instigate a revolt against the then King of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh. He requested Pt. Nehru, then Indian Prime Minister to drive away the insurgents back to Pakistan. Nehru at the suggestion of Patel asked Hari Singh to first sign the Instrument of Accession, to which he agreed, and thus began Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. So basically, Kashmir became a part of India as soon as the instrument was signed by the Hari Singh.

On the other hand, Tibet and China were intermittently under different rule, have different ethnicity and as per Shimla Accord have been given autonomous region in Chinese administration. The situation is more complicated because of two claimers of Chinese government,

the government of the PRC contends that it has had control over Tibet since the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368).The government of the ROC, which ruled mainland China from 1912 until 1949 and now controls Taiwan, had a cabinet-level Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission in charge of the administration of Tibet and Mongolia regions from 1912.

Soon after British left the subcontinent, in 1950 China invaded Tibet also referred to as the Invasion of Tibet, the Chinese invasion of Tibet, or officially in China as the Liberation of Tibet or Battle of Chamdo. It was a military campaign by the People's Republic of China against a de facto independent Tibet in Chamdo after months of failed negotiations. The purpose of the campaign was to capture the Tibetan army in Chamdo,  demoralize the Lhasa government, and thus exert powerful pressure to  send negotiators to Beijing to sign terms recognizing Chinese  sovereignty over Tibet. And since then, Tibet is under Chinese occupation.

Sources :

  1. Tibet Factor in Sino-India Relations
  2. Political integration of India
  3. Tibetan sovereignty debate
  4. Battle of Chamdo

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