1904 – Younghusband mission to Tibet
The British wrote a letter to Trongsa Penlop, Ugyen Wangchuck on October 9, 1903, with an intent ‘to secure neutrality, if not active co-operation of Bhutan’ with regard to the British policy towards Tibet. Meanwhile, the Tibetan government sought Ugyen Wangchuck’s assistance to defend Tibet if war with the British was inevitable. Realizing the opportunity to boost his political status, he proffered his services as a mediator.
The Younghusband mission reached Lhasa on 3 August, 1904. Ugyen Wangchuck led the grand entry into the sacred city wearing the raven crown for the occasion. A treaty, establishing friendship and formal trade between British India and Tibet, was signed on 7 September 1904 in the Potala Palace. Ugyen Wangchuck’s role in the mission was fully acknowledged by the British and he established his stature as a statesman to be reckoned within the region.