Claiming a forgotten Indian enclave in China should be next move of Modi

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

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 in Chinese territory but legally, it still is and enclave of India!

Moincer or Mencixiang, Menshi, Missar or Menze
Location of Moincer in Tibet

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 India and China.

Enclaves

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

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

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 and Ladakh was granted the territory of Mensar or Minsar in Tibet as an enclave.

History of Moincer after Treaty of Tingmosgang

Moincer or Mensar was governed by Ladakh for 160 years until Zorawar Singh annexed Ladakh to the Sikh Empire. 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 India and was considered part of India.

Nehru gifted Minsar to China

In 1950s, Nehru was intoxicated by the talk of Hindi-Chini bhai bhai and socialist brotherhood. He was also unsure that India 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! So he just stopped mentioning it and Chinese govt assumed control of the territory. The place, which could have been a strategic asset for India or maybe even of commercial importance was lost without struggle.

Conclusion

The legal position on Mensar is clear. It is an Indian enclave within China even today. There has been no treaty to cede it. According to Berubari Union case, the Indian constitution has to be amended to cede any territory to other countries. No such amendment was brought.

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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Pawan
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