A north eastern Indian town known to be the Land of Dawn-lit Mountains is caught in some unfinished India-China border business.
The remote frontier town of Tawang, nestled in the Himalayan foothills in the northeastern Indian region bordering China-administered Tibet, is a flashpoint for the Sino-Indian frontier dispute. During the 1962 India China war, the town was seized by China, which lays a claim to vast regions of Arunachal Pradesh, having disavowed the so-called McMahon Line, a border drawn by India’s British colonial rulers in 1914. Tibetan leaders ceded the area to British-ruled India under the 1914 treaty, but after China seized Tibet in 1951, it refused to recognize India’s territorial claims to the region, asserting that it is a part of southern Tibet. Over the past century, Tawang has traded control among the British, Tibet, China and India.
The word Tawang means a place blessed by a horse. The dominant tribe Monpas are of Mongoloid descent, who are believed to have immigrated from Bhutan and Tibet, but the circumstances under which the migration occurred is obscure.