Bharat in Tibet : a forgotten Bharatiya enclave that should be claimed and shown in maps

It is not mentioned in history books. Newspapers don’t mention it. Even during the high decibel coverage of Indo-China relationship in the aftermath of the events of mid June in Galwan, no one mentioned Minsar!

Minsar or Moincer {or MencixiangMenshi, Missar or Menze} is a village to the south of Kailas and west of Mansarovar in western Tibet. It is currently under Chinese occupation but legally, it still is an enclave of Bharat!

Minser Mincer Minsar
Location of Minsar near the Mansarovar

This village is situated on the Chinese National Highway 219. This highway passes through Tibet, Aksai Chin and Xinjiang . There are plans to make it a 10000 KM long highway covering whole south border of China. This is the same highway that triggered the 1962 war between Bharat and China. The defence of this highway is one of the key considerations for China in this area.

Enclaves

An enclave is a territory that is entirely surrounded by the territory of aother country. A famous example would be Vatican city, completely surrounded by Italian territory.

Similarly, Bharat and Bangladesh also had hundreds of enclaves which were settled in 2015 agreement. However, one enclave of Bangladesh in Bharat remains. It is known as Dahagram-Angarpota and is 500 metres from the Bangladesh border, but within Bharat. Bharat has leased an area in these 500 metres called “Tin-Bigha corridor” to Bangladesh for effective communication between the enclave and Bangladesh.

Minsar like enclaves

How Moincer became an enclave?

In the late seventeenth century, tensions between Ladakh and Tibet resulted in a protracted war. Ladakh was defeated and lost some territory in Tibet. The treaty after this war is called Treaty of Tingmosgang in 1684.

According to this treaty, border of Ladakh and Tibet was settled at Demchok, where even today Bharatiya and Chinese armies faceoff each other, and Ladakh was granted the territory of Mensar or Minsar in Tibet as an enclave. It is interesting to note that if hostilities do break out between Bharat and China, one of the attacks from Bharat will still take the same route via Demchok funnel.

Moincer or Mensar was governed by Ladakh for 160 years until Dogra General Zorawar Singh annexed Ladakh to the Sikh Empire.  Of course, General Zorawar led another famous expedition to Tibet and died at Purang. Later when Jammu and Kashmir state was established, Mensar continued sending revenue to it until 1947!

Even until 1950s, the village was sending revenue to Union of Bharat and was considered part of Bharat.

Nehru gifted Minsar to China

In 1950s, Nehru was intoxicated by the talk of “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” and “socialist brotherhood”. He was convinced that China would never attack Bharat. He was also unsure that Bharat could hold an enclave within China, which had now captured Tibet.

Remember that the same fear was not expressed for our enclaves in East Pakistan and we held these enclaves until very recently! So he just stopped mentioning it and Chinese govt assumed control of the territory. The place, which could have been a strategic asset for Bharat or maybe even of commercial importance was lost without struggle, without even a mere protest!

Conclusion

The legal position on Mensar is clear. It is an Bharatiya enclave within China even today. There has been no treaty to cede it. According to the Supreme Court judgement in Berubari Union case, the Bharatiya constitution has to be amended to cede any territory to other countries. No such amendment was ever made for Mincer.

This issue can now be another weapon in the arsenal of PM Modi. As the government does not seem inclined to challenge the one-China policy in a direct manner, this issue could be raised perfectly legally to cause some discomfiture in China. Will Mr. Modi do it, or have his advisors even told him about the issue, is another matter.


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About the Author

Pawan Pandey
Pawan Pandey is an Educator based in Dehradun, currently working as Senior Staff Writer with HinduPost. He is an Engineer by training and a teacher by passion. He teaches for Civil Service Exams as well as for Common Law Admission Test. He has deep interest in politics, economy, culture and all things Bharatiya. He fancies himself to be a loving husband and doting father. His weakness is Bharatiya food, particularly sweets. His hobbies include reading, writing and listening to Bharatiya music.