McMahon Line - India-China International Boundary Line

McMahon Line is the effective boundary between China and India and the line is named after Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of the British-run Government of India and the chief negotiator of the convention at Simla. The topic, ‘McMahon Line’ comes under the History (GS-I) syllabus of the IAS Exam. This article will help you know:

  • When was McMahon Line drawn?
  • Where is the McMahon Line?
  • Who was McMahon?

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What is McMahon Line?

The McMahon Line got its significance when India and Tibet signed a convention at Shimla on 3rd July 1914.

Where is McMahon Line?

The boundary extends for 550 miles (890 km) covering parts from Bhutan in the west to 160 miles (260 km) east i.e the Brahmaputra River. It largely covers the crest of the Himalayas.

As per facts, Shimla (along with the McMahon Line) was initially rejected by the Government of India as incompatible with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention.

This is an important topic for UPSC Prelims, Mains exam, and other government exams.

Questions & Answers on McMahon Line for UPSC

The table below mentions some quick questions and answers on Mcmahon Line:

McMahon Line 

Where is McMahon Line located? The Mcmahon Line is a line of demarcation between India and China. 
What is the difference between LAC and McMahon Line? LAC is Line of Actual Control is the borderline between China and India in the western sector of the borderland between India’s Ladakh and China

McMahon Line is a borderline between China and India i.e. China-occupied territory of the East-Himalayan region and the Indian regions; which India considers to be the actual line of control while China rejects it. 

McMahon Line was determined by who?  Sir Henry McMahon who was the foreign secretary of the British government determined the McMahon Line 
What is the length of the McMahon Line? It is 890 km long
What is the role of the Simla Treaty of 1914 in determining the McMahon Line? In 1914, India and Tibet signed the Simla Treaty to have a clear boundary 

(McMahon Line) between India and Tibet. Following this agreement, the Tawang Region and Southern Part of Tibet were considered to be a part of British India.

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Interesting Facts about McMahon Line

  • The McMahon Line was a negotiation between India and Tibet without the participation of the Chinese government.
  • China considers the McMahon Line illegal and unacceptable claiming that Tibetan representatives who had signed the 1914 Convention held in Shimla which delineated the McMahon line on the map were not having the right to do so.
  • China government assert that the Chinese delegate Ivan Chan was not an authorized member during the McMahon line negotiation.
Why doesn’t China accept the McMahon Line?

From a point of discussion, and from an examination point of view, aspirants should know the bone of contention between India and its neighbours.

  1. According to China, Tibet has always been a part of its territory, so the representative of Tibet are not authorised to accept any agreement without Chinese consent. In 1950, China fully occupied Tibet. Now China neither approves nor accepts the McMahon Line.
  2. China also argues that China was not involved in the Shimla Agreement, therefore the Shimla Agreement is not binding on it. China claimed its right on Arunachal Pradesh only after the occupancy of Tibet in 1950.

Also, read:

  • The last Indian village – Bishing, is closest to the McMahon Line, and it demarcates the boundary between China’s Tibet region and Arunachal Pradesh. The Memba tribe which has a population of 100 stays in that village.
  • The Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh was earlier known as South Tibet before the demarcation.
  • In 1950, Tibet lost its status as an independent territory and India took control over Tawang.

Aspirants can read about the various links provide below in detail to prepare comprehensively for the upcoming UPSC Civil Services Exams –

Dhola Confrontation That Led to Sino- Indian War List of Major Boundary Lines in India and World Beating Retreat Ceremony
Durand Line Radcliffe Line Golden Crescent
Partition of India  Important Mountain Passes in India India-China Conflict – Galwan Valley Clash
India’s Bilateral Relations Major Straits of the World Inner Line Permit (ILP)
India-China Conflict China Opens Dam on Brahmaputra  South China Sea Dispute

McMahon Line – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

Frequently Asked Questions on McMahon Line


Q 1. Where is McMahon Line?

Ans. The McMahon Line named after Sir Henry McMahon is the effective boundary between China and India. It runs from the eastern border of Bhutan along the crest of the Himalayas until it reaches the great bend in the Brahmaputra River where that river emerges from its Tibetan course into the Assam Valley.

Q 2. Who drew the McMahon Line?

Ans. Sir Henry McMahon, foreign secretary of the British-run Government of India and the chief negotiator of the convention at Shimla determined the McMahon line.

Q 3. Which two countries are separated by the McMahon Line?

Ans. China and India are separated by the McMahon Line.

Q 4. What is LAC?

Ans. The Line of Actual Control or LAC is a notional demarcation line that separates Indian-controlled territory from Chinese-controlled territory in the Sino-Indian border dispute.

Q 5. What is the Shimla Treaty?

Ans. The Shimla Treaty was signed between the representatives of India and Tibet for clear demarcation in 1914. According to the Shimla Treaty, the McMahon Line is the clear boundary line between India and China.

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