Sikkim became a part of India through a series of historical and political events. Here is a brief overview:
- Pre-Independence Period: Before India gained independence in 1947, Sikkim was a princely state ruled by the Chogyal (monarch). It maintained a special status with a degree of autonomy and had a protectorate relationship with British India.
- Post-Independence Period: After India gained independence, the issue of the princely states’ integration into the Indian Union became significant. Sikkim continued to maintain its autonomy.
- Integration with India: In 1950, Sikkim signed a treaty with India, making it a protectorate. This allowed India to manage its defense, external affairs, and communications. However, Sikkim retained its internal autonomy.
- Sino-Indian War of 1962: The Sino-Indian War had implications for Sikkim, as it shares a border with China. The strategic importance of Sikkim increased, and India’s security concerns led to closer ties.
- 1975 Referendum: Internal developments in Sikkim, including political instability and pro-merger movements, prompted the Indian government to intervene. In 1975, a referendum was conducted in Sikkim, in which the majority of the population voted in favor of merging with India.
- Annexation by India: Following the referendum results, Sikkim was formally annexed by India on May 16, 1975. The Indian Parliament passed a constitutional amendment to make Sikkim the 22nd state of the Indian Union.
Since then, Sikkim has been an integral part of India. The annexation was largely peaceful, and Sikkim has since developed as a state within the Indian federal structure, enjoying special provisions granted by the constitution.