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India, China, and Map
|by Vasant G. Gandhi|
When an Indian reporter asked why the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China, is shown as a part of China on a Chinese generated map, the Chinese Ambassador to India told the reporter to “shut up”. Perhaps the ambassador forgot, but the last foreigners to tell Indians to shut up left India in 1947. Later, the ambassador said that the map would be corrected, but this map-doctoring incident foretells a baleful ploy.
The ruse started with Chinese cartographers. At first, they would make an error here and an error there and show other country’s land as their own. Next, Chinese officials would say they would fix the error. Then, they would stop admitting the error and start cartographic aggression. Finally, they would instigate a full-scale military invasion to claim the land shown on their maps.
In 1950, Indian and Chinese agreed to let the Five Principles, Panchshila, govern their relationship. They agreed to respect each other’s territory and live in peaceful coexistence. An Indian slogan summed up the friendship: Hindi-Chini bhai bhai (Indians and Chinese are brothers).
But little did the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, know that throughout the 1950s the Chinese were secretly building roads in the remote northeastern area of the Indian state of Kashmir that touches the Chinese border.
In 1961, when the Chinese Premier, Chou En-lai, visited India, Nehru brought out the maps, which India had inherited from the British, to show him the border between India and China represented by the McMohan Line. He ignored the maps. Instead, he told Nehru that he would recognize India’s eastern border shown by the Line, if Nehru agreed to let China have the Karakoram Pass in the West and the area in the Northeast Kashmir (Aksai Chin).
In October 1962, Chinese troops crossed the McMohan Line and invaded the eastern territory of India as a part of a diversionary military tactic and reached the Assamese plains in a short time. When Indian troops arrived to defend the area, the Chinese launched a massive assault in the West and captured the Karakoram Pass. To this day, they continue to occupy both the Pass and the Northeast section of Kashmir.
Nehru called the Chinese “unscrupulous.” He was so devastated by the invasion that his health began to deteriorate, and he died on May 27, 1964, one and one half years after the Chinese invasion.
What the Chinese did to India in 1962 is what they did to Vietnam in 1979. The Chinese would grab as much land, water, mineral, or any other valuable resources as they could—legally, illegally or militarily. It would not surprise anyone if they move into Afghanistan after the Americans leave.
A minor act of insult by the Chinese diplomat (to avoid answering the question of a reporter) or a major act of an unprovoked war by the Chinese Premier (to occupy India’s territory) speaks to their lack of trustworthiness. Such actions tell us who they are and the means they will use to get what they want.
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