In 1913-1914 representatives of China, Tibet and Britain negotiated a treaty in India: the Simla Convention
. Sir Henry McMahon, the foreign secretary of British India at the time, drew up the 550 mile (890 km) McMahon Line as the border between British India and Tibet during the Simla Conference.
This line proposed by Henry McMahon, the British plenipotentiary, at the 1914 Simla Convention
, has always been disputed by the Chinese Government, but India abides by it, by and large, though both parties agree that this line is difficult to trace it on the ground; the terrain is forbidding and varying interpretations have been given to the existing survey maps.
The Simla Convention
of 1914 led to a landmark international Agreement.
The first Chinese Premier Zhou En Lai had written to Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru rejecting latter's contention that the border was based on 1914 treaty of Simla Convention
, adding that Chinese government had not accepted McMohan Line as legal.
Indian analysts concede that this was an absurd assumption and the Simla Convention
1914 stated no such intention, latent or otherwise.
Hence, the Simla convention was called by taking into consideration the Tibetan treaty with the Mongolian treaty in mind and understanding that the Tibetans have the power to make treaties on their own.
This policy of British India on Tibetan self-determination can be judged from McMahon's introduction draft in the 1913-14 Simla Convention as following:
In the meantime, while the Simla Convention was under way among Tibet, China and British India, the Russo-Chinese Declaration on (Outer) Mongolia as an autonomous region of China was signed on November 5, 1913.24 The division of Mongolia into Outer and Inner had given an ample clue and provision for British India to exclude Russian and Chinese influence on Tibet with the same declaration of Outer and Inner Tibet.
It was also intended that the prospect of a strong Tibet would induce China to co-operate with the new border arrangements proposed by the Simla Convention. The chief architect was the Dalai Lama's old friend, Charles Bell.
In the mid-1920s the Dalai Lama, swayed by the conservative religious-led faction and frustrated by the failure of the British to pressurize China to agree to the Simla Convention, retreated.
The Chinese say it " approximates the illegal McMahon Line", a boundary created by the 1914 Simla Convention
which the Chinese representative initialled, but did not sign.
He was thus a player in the British Indian master plan on Tibet, being involved in major events beginning with the Younghusband Expedition of 1903-1904, the 13th Dalai Lama's flight to India in 1910, and the Tripartite Simla Convention