By Alastair Lamb

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Of the British Indian border] . . would interpose between ourselves and our outposts a belt of the most difficult and impracticable country, it would unduly extend and weaken our military position without, in our opinion, securing any corresponding advantage. ^" Accordingly, in 1898 the Government of India decided upon the following border alignment. It started in the west at the PavaloSchveikhovski peak, that terminus of the 1895 Russo-Afghan border to which the British and Russian Governments had agreed.

T h e senior Chinese official in Yarkand, hearing of the presence of the Hunza pair, immediately ordered their arrest. They were held for six weeks in Chinese custody at Tashkurghan (Taxkorgan Tajik), the nearest Chinese administrative centre, and then released. T h e Mir was told by the Chinese to keep his people out of Raskam in future: it was, they said, part of the Manchu Empire, and, in any case, other people, the Sarikolis for example, also possessed cultivation rights there. Thus began the first of a series of Raskam crises, which soon acquired new dimensions and greater complexity.

O u r objection is mainly based upon the opinion of officers who have visited this region. They unanimously represent the present mountain frontier as perhaps the most difficult and inaccessible country in the world. T h e country beyond is barren, rugged and sparsely populated. An advance . . [of the British Indian border] . . would interpose between ourselves and our outposts a belt of the most difficult and impracticable country, it would unduly extend and weaken our military position without, in our opinion, securing any corresponding advantage.

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