Convention of Calcutta

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The Convention of Calcutta[1][2][3] was a late 19th century treaty between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the ruling Chinese Qing dynasty relating to Tibet and the north Indian Kingdom of Sikkim. It was signed by Viceroy of India Lord Lansdowne and the Chinese Amban or resident in Tibet, Sheng Tai on 17 March 1890 in Calcutta, India.[4]


The British imperative in North East India was to open the markets of Tibet and by extension China to their manufactured textiles, tobacco, grain, tools and tea.[5] At the same time, in the context of The Great Game being played out with the Russian Empire in the region, the British considered it important to create a buffer zone north of their Indian empire to prevent incursion by the Russians.[6]


Under Article 1, the boundary of Sikkim and Tibet was defined as the crest of the mountain range separating the waters flowing into the Teesta River in Sikkim and its tributaries from the waters flowing into the Tibetan Mochu River and northwards into other rivers of Tibet. The line commenced at Mount Gipmochi on the Bhutan frontier, and followed the above watershed to the point where it met Nepali territory.


A protocol was added to the original convention in December 1893. "Regulations Regarding Trade, Communications , and Pasturage to Be Appended to the Sikkim-Tibet Convention of 1890" allowed for the establishment of a British trading post in Yatong, Tibet as well as laid down regulations concerning pasturage and communication.[7][8]


  1. ^ "Convention between Great Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet" (PDF). UK Treaties Online. 1890-03-17. Retrieved 2017-08-16. 
  2. ^ Works related to Convention Between Great Britain and China Concerning Sikkim and Tibet at Wikisource
  3. ^ "中英藏印條約 - 维基文库,自由的图书馆". (in Chinese). Retrieved 2017-08-15. 
  4. ^ Younghusband 1910, p. 51.
  5. ^ Arora, Vibha (2008). "Routing the Commodities of Empire through Sikkim (1817-1906)". Commodities of Empire: Working Paper No.9 (PDF). Open University. pp. 4–5. ISSN 1756-0098. 
  6. ^ Rajiv Rai (2015). The State in the Colonial Periphery: A Study on Sikkim’s Relation with Great Britain. Partridge Publishing India. pp. 25–27. ISBN 978-1-4828-4871-7. 
  7. ^ Joshi, H. G. (2004). Sikkim: Past and Present. Mittal Publications. p. 89. ISBN 978-81-7099-932-4. 
  8. ^ Younghusband 1910, p. 440.