Arunachal Pradesh is a state of India. Located in northeast India, Arunachal Pradesh borders the states of Assam and Nagaland to the south, and shares international borders with Bhutan in the west, Myanmar in the east and the People's Republic of China (PRC) in the north. Itanagar is the capital of the state.
Arunachal Pradesh means "land of the dawn-lit mountains". It is also known as "land of the rising sun" ("pradesh" means "state", "territory" or "region") in reference to its position as the easternmost state of India. Like other parts of Northeast India, a majority of the people native to the state are of Tibeto-Burman origin. A large and increasing number of migrants have reached Arunachal Pradesh from many other parts of India, although no reliable population count of the migrant population has been conducted, and percentage estimates of total population accordingly vary widely. Part of the Ledo Burma Road, which was a lifeline to China during World War II, passes through the eastern part of the state.
The northern border of Arunachal Pradesh follows the McMahon Line, a border delineated in the Simla Accord that was signed by the United Kingdom and Tibet in 1914 but not by China (since Tibet was not Chinese-controlled at that time). Both the Republic of China (ROC) and the PRC claim the northern portion of Arunachal Pradesh as part of the former provinces of the Tibet Area and Xikang (for the ROC), respectively the Tibet Autonomous Region (for the PRC). The PRC often refers to the claimed areas as South Tibet.
The history of pre-modern Arunachal Pradesh remains shrouded in mystery. Oral histories possessed to this day by many Arunachali tribes of Tibeto-Burman stock are much richer and point unambiguously to a northern origin in modern-day Tibet. Again corroboration remains difficult. From the point of view of material culture it is clear that most indigenous Arunachali groups align with Burma-area hill tribals, a fact that could either be explainable in terms of a northern Burmese origin or from westward cultural diffusion.
From the same perspective the most unusual Arunachali group by far is the Puroik/Sulung, whose traditional staple food is sago palm and whose primary traditional productive strategy is foraging. While speculatively considered to be a Tibeto-Burman population, the uniqueness of Puroik culture and language may well represent a tenuous reflection of a distant and all but unknown pre-Tibeto-Burman, Tai and Indo-Aryan past.
According to the Arunachal Pradesh Government, the region was mentioned in the Hindu texts Kalika Purana and Mahabharata, and is attested to be the Prabhu Mountains of the Puranas, and was where sage Parashuram washed away sins, the sage Vyasa meditated, King Bhishmaka founded his kingdom and Lord Krishna married his consort Rukmini.
Recorded history from an outside perspective only became available in the Ahom chronicles of the 16th century. The Monpa and Sherdukpen do keep historical records of the existence of local chiefdoms in the northwest as well. Northwestern parts of this area came under the control of the Monpa kingdom of Monyul, which flourished between 500 B.C. and 600 A.D. This region then came under the loose control of Tibet and Bhutan, especially in the Northern areas. The remaining parts of the state, especially those bordering Myanmar, came under the titular control of the Ahom and the Assamese until the annexation of India by the British in 1858. However, most Arunachali tribes remained in practice largely autonomous up until Indian independence and the formalization of indigenous administration in 1947.
Recent excavations of ruins of Hindu temples such as the 14th century Malinithan at the foot of the Siang hills in West Siang are somewhat automatically associated with the ancient history of Arunachal Pradesh, inasmuch as they fall within its modern-day political borders. However, such temples are generally south-facing, never occur more than a few kilometers from the Assam plains area, and are perhaps more likely to have been associated with Assam plains-based rather than indigenous Arunachali populations. Another notable heritage site, Bhismaknagar, has led to suggestions that the Idu (Mishmi) had an advanced culture and administration in pre-historical times. Again, however, no evidence directly associates Bhismaknagar with this or any other known culture. The third heritage site, the 400-year-old Tawang Monastery in the extreme north-west of the state, provides some historical evidence of the Buddhist tribal people. The sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso was born in Tawang.
Drawing of McMahon line
In 1913-1914 representatives of China, Tibet and Britain negotiated a treaty in India: the Simla Accord. This treaty's objective was to define the borders between Inner and Outer Tibet as well as between Outer Tibet and British India. British administrator, Sir Henry McMahon, drew up the McMahon Line as the border between British India and Outer Tibet during the Simla Conference. The Tibetan and British representatives at the conference agreed to the line, which ceded Tawang and other Tibetan areas to the British Empire. The Chinese representative had no problems with the border between British India and Outer Tibet, however on the issue of the border between Outer Tibet and Inner Tibet the talks broke down. Thus, the Chinese representative refused to accept the agreement and walked out. The Tibetan Government and British Government went ahead with the Simla Agreement and declared that the benefits of other articles of this treaty would not be bestowed on China as long as it stays out of the purview. The Chinese position was that Tibet was not independent from China, so Tibet could not have independently signed treaties, and per the Anglo-Chinese (1906) and Anglo-Russian (1907) conventions, any such agreement was invalid without Chinese assent.
Simla was initially rejected by the Government of India as incompatible with the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention. However, this agreement (Anglo-Russian Convention) was renounced by Russia and Britain jointly in 1921. However, with the collapse of Chinese power in Tibet the line had no serious challenges as Tibet had signed the convention, therefore it was forgotten to the extent that no new maps were published until 1935, when civil service officer Olaf Caroe called attention to this issue. The Survey of India published a map showing the McMahon Line as the official boundary in 1937. In 1938, the British finally published the Simla Convention as a bilateral accord two decades after the Simla Conference; in 1938 the Survey of India published a detailed map showing Tawang as part of North-East Frontier Agency. In 1944 Britain established administrations in the area, from Dirang Dzong in the west to Walong in the east. Tibet, however, altered its position on the McMahon Line in late 1947 when the Tibetan government wrote a note presented to the newly independent Indian Ministry of External Affairs laying claims to the Tibetan district (Tawang) south of the McMahon Line. The situation developed further as India became independent and the People's Republic of China was established in 1949. With the China poised to take over Tibet, India unilaterally declared the McMahon Line to be the boundary in November 1950, and forced the last remnants of Tibetan administration out of the Tawang area in 1951. The PRC has never recognized the McMahon Line, and claims Tawang on behalf of Tibetans. The 14th Dalai Lama, who led the Tibetan government from 1950 to 1959, was quoted in 2003 as saying that Tawang was "actually part of the Tibetan administration" before the Simla Accord. He clarified his position in 2008, saying that as far as Tibet was concerned "Tawang is part of India". According to the Dalai Lama, "In 1962 during the India-China war, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) already occupied all these areas (Arunachal Pradesh) but they announced a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew, accepting the current international boundary."
Besides, as early as 1917, The Government of China had also published the “Postal map of China”, published at Peking in 1917. "It shows the whole northern Boundary of India more or less according to the traditional Indian alignments".
The NEFA (North East Frontier Agency) was created in 1955. The issue was quiet for nearly a decade, a period of cordial Sino-Indian relations, but the reemergence of the issue was a major cause of the Sino-Indian War of 1962. The cause of the escalation into war is still disputed by both Chinese and Indian sources. During the war in 1962, the PRC captured most area of Arunachal Pradesh. However, China soon declared victory, voluntarily withdrew back to the McMahon Line and returned Indian prisoners of war in 1963. The war has resulted in the termination of barter trade with Tibet, although in 2007 the state government has shown signs to resume barter trade with Tibet.
After the war
Arunachal Pradesh became a separate state of India in 1987 despite the fact that the dispute over its sovereignty has not been settled with China.
More recently, Arunachal Pradesh has come to face threats from certain insurgent groups, notably the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), who are believed to have base camps in the districts of Changlang and Tirap. There are occasional reports of these groups harassing local people and extorting protection money.