China’s realpolitik lesson to India


The well-known historian Avtar Singh Bhasin’s latest book “Nehru, Tibet and China” answers a simple question: As both India and China emerged in their current avatars at the end of the 1940s, what went wrong in relations between them and why. 

About the India-China war in 1962:  
  • Like other analysts, he also apportions a large share of the blame to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He mentioned that, Nehru was “infatuated with the Chinese” ever since he came into contact with them at the “Conference against Imperialism” in Brussels, in 1927. 
  • Nehru’s policy “forge the concept of Asian solidarity.”. On the other hand, the People’s Republic of China unsentimentally pursued the objective of great power. 
  • He concludes that the Chinese attack in 1962 was unrelated to territorial or boundary issues but rather “to demolish India’s arrogance and illusion of grandeur”. The book even mentions, Zhao Enlai’s explanation in 1972 to President Richard Nixon ” we (China) had gone to war, to teach India a lesson.” 
About Tibet: 
  • The Francis Younghusband’s expedition to Lhasa in 1904 and the 1907 Anglo-Russian Convention that left China in full control of Tibet 
  • The Simla Convention and Britain failed to wrap up the territorial bargain it had imposed on Tibet and China. 
  • Far from accepting the McMahon Line as the India-Tibet border, Lhasa wrote to New Delhi on October 16, 1947. It asked for the return of extensive tracts of territory that “had been gradually included in India in the past”. This includes “Sikkim, Bhutan, Darjeeling, Ladakh and others ‘on this side of the River Ganges… up to the boundary of Yarkhim’.” But, within few years(1950) Tibet had become a part of China.  
  • Now China demanded the same, But Nehru told Zhou Enlai in 1959 that if India were to concede to Tibet’s demands the India-Tibet border would literally be on the River Ganga and rejected the claim.  
  • But Beijing cites Lhasa’s demands in Sino-Indian border talks even today. 

SourceBusiness Standard 

Print Friendly and PDF