Dharamshala: - The Shimla convention between India Tibet and China has been revisited in order to explore Tibet’s role for better relations between India and China, even after 100 years the document is still a cause of disagreement between India and China.
The Shimla convention was first held from 1913 to 1914 in an attempt to define and distinguish the boundaries of inner and outer Tibet, as well as India and China. However, China refused to sign the final document, which is why the legitimacy of the agreement is still in question; instead, it was Tibet and British India that signed the agreement. Similarly, the question remains as to whether this document has relevance and legality in the present international scenario.
The issues were discussed in a one day conference on Monday (12 May) by scholar's that was organized by the Himachal Pradesh University in co-ordination with Tibet Policy Institute, a research centre of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). It will look into the future and attempt to generate better relations between India and China with the ongoing issue of Tibet.
It is the first institute to organise a seminar to commemorate the 100 years of the convention and The University's Vice-Chancellor, ADN Bajpai expressed his hope that other institutes would take lead in organizing more seminars on the subject.
Tashi Phuntsok the secretary for International Relations of the CTA said, "We have come here not to celebrate the century of the agreement, but to recall the historic time as history is not static. We hope for a better future for our people."
The Director of the Tibetan Policy Institute, Taubten Samphal said that Tibet will be the key to improving relations between India and China and the burial of the Shimla agreement 1914 would not solve the issues between the two nations. "Tibet is today what India was 100 years back and situations do change for good," he said.
Nonetheless, border disputes could end with the negotiation of the Turkmenistan—Afghanistan—Pakistan—Indian (TAPI) gas pipeline and alternate trade route through India which are two major economic compulsions of China.
Professor Yadav from Kurukshetra University expressed the importance of the route in China's economic interests, "The trade route through the Indian Ocean to the Bay of Bengal and pipeline from Central Asia via Exchine to Manali, [...] could help resolve the century-old issue as China has vital economic interests in the region."
He also added the three nations have conflicting interests as Britain want to secure their Northern borders, while China want suzerainty (control over another country) rights over Tibet and Tibet want their independence. However, Tibet did not receive their share of input and International diplomacy proved superior and later, India and Britain accepted Tibet as part of China.
Mr Dhondup Gyalpo, a researcher at the Tibet Policy Institute, spoke on Tibetan perspectives on Shimla convention.
The Shimla convention between India, Tibet and China was held from 1913 to1914 to define and demarcate the boundaries of inner and outer Tibet and between India and China. Though China initialed the agreement that came out of the convention and refused to sign the final document. In the end, Tibet and British India signed the final document in between the two as the McMahon Line along India’s north – east.
Even after 100 years, that document is a cause of disagreement between India and China. The legitimacy of that agreement is still in question, because of the fact that China was not signatory to the agreement and the agreement was signed by Tibet and British India.