In this thread, I will lay out historical relations between China and India and basis for present border disputes
India and China are 2 of the 4 ancient River Valley civilizations of the Old World. There have been long history of interaction ever since
Most important was historic transmissions of Buddhism from India to China via ancient Silk Road thru Central Asia and #Xinjiang as well as maritime Silk Road from South China Sea
But for most of history India and China based Empires didn’t border each other. Buddhism traveled thru Central Asia and South China Sea via land and sea Silk Road precisely because massive Himalayan Range and even more massive Tibetan Plateau is in the way
The 1st ancient Kingdom to arise out of Tibetan Plateau is Zhang Zhung (Chinese: 象雄 Xiangxiong) in Western Tibet including Ladakh. Zhang Zhung state religion is Bon, an ancient animist Shamanistic religion.
Zhang Zhung dominated Tibet for centuries.
Then Tibten Empire arose out of Lhasa Valley, throw off Zhang Zhung yoke and became new dominant power in Tibetan Plateau and beyond. Largest extent of Tibetan Empire stretched from Gulf of Bengal to Afghanistan
Early Chinese Buddhist Pilgrim Jin Dynasty Monk Faxian 法顯 traveled 2 India via Silk Road thru Central Asia and return to China via South China Sea thru maritime Silk Road btw 399-412. Much of what we know today abt medieval India came from writings of Chinese Buddhist travelers
Tang Dynasty diplomat Wang Xuance 王玄策 went to India Emperor Harsha’s court in 648. But Harsha died. New ruler attacked Tang envoy. Wang escaped across Himalayas to Tibet. Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo was son-in-law of Tang Emperor Taizong

In response Tibet send in the army
Tibetan Emperor Songtsen Gampo send 3,000 cavalry, order his vassal King of Nepal to supply 7,000 cavalry, w Wang Xuance as guide cross Himalayas to sack Magadha and capture pretender to Harsha’s throne. statue of Indian prisoner stood in front of Emperor Taizong’s tomb
Japanese novelist Yoshiki Tanaka 田中芳樹, author of Legend of the Galactic Heroes and The Heroic Legend of Arslan also wrote novel abt Wang Xuance’s adventure in India which was adapted into Manga
After death of its founder, Tibetan Empire became rival of Tang Dynasty. Tibetan and Tang armies fought from Gilgit Baltistan to Tarim Basin in present day #Xinjiang
Then in 842 AD, mighty Tibetan Empire collapsed, last Tibetan Imperial prince fled to old Zhang Zhung Kingdom in Western Tibet which had been vassalized by Tibetan Empire. He founded Guge Kingdom. His sons split up the realm. 1 got Ladakh, 1 got Zanskar, 1 got old seat of Guge
Sibling Dynasties in Ladakh and Guge became bitter rivals. Ladakh waged war of extermination agst Guge Kingdom in 17th century, went further to attack Shigatze in Central Tibet. 5th Dalai Lama sent Mongol prince Galdan Chhewang to lead Mongol-Tibetan expedition to Ladakh
Tibet was split among several feuding factions after collapse of Tibetan Empire, then Tibetan Lama Sakya Pandita submited to Mongol rule in 1240. Later Tibet was offcially incorporated by Kublai Khan into Yuan Empire
Toward the end of Yuan Dynasty, as Mongol rule is challenged by rebellions in China, Tibetan Kagyu school Lama Tai Situ Changchub Gyaltsen 大司徒絳曲堅贊 overthrew Mongol-backed Sakya Regime and restored Tibetan independence. Ming dynasty founder Hongwu recognized his successor
In 1547, Altan Khan of Tümed Mongols became the most powerful Mongol leader, forcing the Northern Yuan Dynasty royal lineage of Chahar Tribe 2 flee. To boost his legitimacy, he invited Tibetan Lama Sonam Gyatso to convert Mongols to Buddhism. He named Gyatso “Dalai Lama”
Altan Khan’s Great-grandson Yonten Gyatso was chosen to become the next Dalai Lama, and he was escorted to Tibet by Mongol cavalry to assume his throne. But he was not accepted by Tibetan. Tibetan Tsanpa King drove him and other Mongols out in 1605
This paved way for Gushi Khan of Khoshut tribes of Oriat Mongol to invade Tibet in support of 5th Dalai Lama. Gushi Khan founded Khoshut Khanate in Tibet. Mongols controlled secular and military affairs of Tibet while 5th Dalai Lama controlled spiritual matters
It was then 5th Dalai Lama send Mongol prince Galdan Chhewang in 1679 to lead Mongol-Tibetan expedition agst Ladakh. Ladakh then submited to Mughal Empire seeking protection. This is 1st time Ladakh entered into orbit of India.
5th Dalai Lama sought help frm his frmer student Galdan Boshugtu Khan of Mongol Dzungar Khanate. Dzungar Army marched on the Ladakh capital Leh in 1684, forcing Ladakh to bend the knee in the Treaty of Tingmosgang which fixed Ladakhi-Tibet border at the Lhari stream near Demchok
However Dzungar Galdan Khan’s annexation of Outer Mongolia put him in direct conflict with Qing Empire in China. Khalkha Mongols of Outer Mongolia fled to Inner Mongolia to bend the knee to Qing Emperor Kangxi, seeking protection from Dzungars.
Qing Empire’s campaign against Dzungar Mongols would see Qing conquest of #Xinjiang and Tibet.
Meanwhile Mughal Empire started to decline with Emperor Aurangzeb’s death in 1709. In Northwest India, rose Silk Empire which reached its peak in 1839. Sikh Empire conquered Kashmir and start to bump against border of Qing Dynasty China...
Enter the slimiest character Gulab Singh, founder of royal Dogra dynasty and first Maharaja of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Gulab was born in Dogra Rajput clan that ruled Jammu. Sikh Empire forced Jammu to bend the knee in 1808, in 1820 gave governorship to his father
Gulab would betrayed Sikh Empire to British in 1846 for recognition of his rule in Jammu-Kashmir. He busily expand his control by sending his general Zorawar Singh to conquer Ladakh and Baltistan. From there Zorawar launches his invasion of Tibet. Area of Tibet invaded by Zorawar
Tibetan called Zorawar Singh’s invasion Sen-pa 森巴 War. -pa is Tibetan postfix for “people”. Sen for Singh. Statue of Zorawar Singh in India
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