Feb 21, 2024
Feb 21, 2024
by V. Sundaram
Many many years ago, the great historian Dr. R C Majumdar spotlighted the traditional Chinese way of perceiving and feeling, thinking and acting: 'There is, however, one aspect of Chinese culture that is little known outside the circle of professional historians. It is the aggressive imperialism that characterized the politics of China throughout the course of her history, at least during the part of which is well known to us. Thanks to the systematic recording of historical facts by Chinese themselves, we are in position to follow the imperial and aggressive policy of China from the third century BC to the present day, a period of more than 2200 years. It is characteristic of China that if a region once acknowledged her nominal suzerainty, even for a short period, she should regard it as a part of her empire for ever and she would automatically revive her claim over it even after a thousand years whenever and wherever there was a chance of enforcing it.'
Against this blatantly belligerent historical background of China, I am not at all surprised China's ambassador Sun Yuxi in New Delhi has created a diplomatic flutter in the capital on Monday by reiterating Beijing's claim to Arunachal Pradesh.
In an interview to a private channel, Sun Yuxi has brazenly spoken like Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop in Hitler's Nazi Germany: 'The whole of what you call the state of Arunachal Pradesh is the Chinese territory... We are claiming the whole of that.'
The common people of India, more particularly of North Eastern India, have always remained suspicious of the moves and motives of Beijing? ever plagued by the dark memories of the disastrous Chinese invasion of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam in 1962. Indian army was routed and the Chinese took over important towns in Arunachal Pradesh including Tawang which China claims as its own. Tawang is famous for its Buddhist monastery.
China has shown a pronounced tendency to make preposterous territorial claims over areas and territories belonging to India or Tibet ever since the draconian days of Mao Tse Tung beginning from 1949. Like Hitler invading France and Belgium in 1940, China invaded Tibet in 1950. Later in a surreptitious manner, she occupied 30,000 Sq.Km of high plateau country in the Western Sector known as the Aksai Chin in the district of Ladakh of Jammu and Kashmir State bordering Tibet and Xinjiang province of China. Again in October 1962, China demonstrated her wicked ability to operate as an unprovoked aggressor by invading India in the Eastern Sector and later claiming 90,000 Sq.Km of Indian territory as her own on either side of the Himalayan watershed. More than an area of 20,000 Sq.Km in the Middle sector on either side of the Himalayan watershed and passes has also been a matter of continuous dispute between China and India ever since our independence.
This recent Chinese claim over the northeastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh has sparked off angry reactions among regional lawmakers demanding that New Delhi should settle the issue once and for all during President Hu Jintao's visit next week. Nabam Rebia, a Congress MP from Arunachal Pradesh, has demanded: 'New Delhi must say explicitly that Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India and such statements should not be made by China in future'.
In a letter to External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Nabam Rebia has made it clear that Government of India should immediately take up the matter with the Chinese President when he visits India 20 November on a four-day trip.
T G Rinpoche, a revered Buddhist spiritual leader and a ruling Congress legislator, has stated: 'Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should take up this sensitive matter during the Chinese President's visit and try to get a commitment from Beijing not to rake up such issues again, The majority of the people residing along the border with China are Buddhists and everybody here rejects Beijing's claims. Government of India has strongly reacted to the Chinese claims with Pranab Mukherjee declaring, 'Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part and parcel of India'.
Soon after the Communist victory against the Guomindang and the founding of the Peoples' Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October 1949, Radio Beijing announced that 'the People's Liberation Army must liberate all Chinese territories, including Tibet, Xinjiang, Hainan and Taiwan. On 7 October 1950, 40,000 Chinese troops under Political Commissar, Wang Qiemi, attacked Eastern Tibet's provincial capital of Chamdo, from eight directions. The small Tibetan force, consisting of 8,000 troops and militia, were defeated. After two days, Chamdo was taken and Kalon (Minister) Ngapo Ngawang Jigme, the Regional Governor, was captured. Over 4,000 Tibetan fighters were killed. Thus Tibet was occupied by China in 1950.
On account of Nehru's obdurate stupidity founded on unrequited infatuation for the Muslims, a part of Kashmir was handed over on a platter to the invading marauders from Pakistan in 1948-1949. When Tibet was attacked in October 1950, he remained unconcerned and if anything more pro-Chinese than any other Government in the world. Thus Tibet and its peaceful people were dumped into the dung-heap of history by Nehru much against the statesmanlike and courageous advice of Sardar Vallabhai Patel who clearly saw through the dangerous, imperialistic moves and maneuvers of China at that time. He wrote a prophetic letter to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on 7 November 1950 not only deploring Indian Ambassador K M Panikkar's action but also warning about dangers from China:
My dear Jawaharlal,
'I have carefully gone through the correspondence between the External Affairs Ministry and our Ambassador in Peking and through him the Chinese Government. I have tried to peruse this correspondence as favourably to our Ambassador and the Chinese Government as possible, but I regret to say that neither of them comes out well as a result of this study. The Chinese Government has tried to delude us by professions of peaceful intention. My own feeling is that at a crucial period they managed to instill into our Ambassador a false sense of confidence in their so-called desire to settle the Tibetan problem by peaceful means. There can be no doubt that during the period covered by this correspondence the Chinese must have been concentrating for an onslaught on Tibet. The final action of the Chinese, in my judgement, is little short of perfidy. The tragedy of it is that the Tibetans put faith in us; they chose to be guided by us; and we have been unable to get them out of the meshes of Chinese diplomacy or Chinese malevolence. From the latest position, it appears that we shall not be able to rescue the Dalai Lama'.
'In the background of this, we have to consider what new situation now faces us as a result of the disappearance of Tibet, as we knew it, and the expansion of China almost up to our gates. Throughout history we have seldom been worried about our north-east frontier. The Himalayas have been regarded as an impenetrable barrier against any threat from the north. We had a friendly Tibet which gave us no trouble. The Chinese were divided. They had their own domestic problems and never bothered us about frontiers. In 1914, we entered into a convention with Tibet which was not endorsed by the Chinese. We seem to have regarded Tibetan autonomy as extending to independent treaty relationship. Presumably, all that we required was Chinese counter-signature. The Chinese interpretation of suzerainty seems to be different. We can, therefore, safely assume that very soon they will disown all the stipulations which Tibet has entered into with us in the past. That throws into the melting pot all frontier and commercial settlements with Tibet on which we have been functioning and acting during the last half a century. China is no longer divided. It is united and strong. All along the Himalayas in the north and north-east, we have on our side of the frontier a population ethnologically and culturally not different from Tibetans and Mongoloids. The undefined state of the frontier and the existence on our side of a population with its affinities to the Tibetans or Chinese have all the elements of the potential trouble between China and ourselves. Recent and bitter history also tells us that Communism is no shield against imperialism and that the communists are as good or as bad imperialists as any other. Chinese ambitions in this respect not only cover the Himalayan slopes on our side but also include the important part of Assam. They have their ambitions in Burma also. Burma has the added difficulty that it has no McMahon Line round which to build up even the semblance of an agreement. Chinese irredentism and communist imperialism are different from the expansionism or imperialism of the western powers. The former has a cloak of ideology which makes it ten times more dangerous. In the guise of ideological expansion lie concealed racial, national or historical claims. The danger from the north and north-east, therefore, becomes both communist and imperialist. While our western and north-western threat to security is still as prominent as before, a new threat has developed from the north and north-east. Thus, for the first time, after centuries, India's defence has to concentrate itself on two fronts simultaneously. Our defence measures have so far been based on the calculations of superiority over Pakistan. In our calculations we shall now have to reckon with communist China in the north and in the north-east, a communist China which has definite ambitions and aims and which does not, in any way, seem friendly disposed towards us.'
Jawaharlal Nehru was so vain and egoistic that he summarily rejected the advice of Sardar Patel and embraced China. His egoism was such that whenever he attended a wedding, he wanted to replace the bridegroom; wherever he went for a funeral, he wanted to replace the corpse. This unabashed egoism has landed our great country in a state of mess in perpetuity and eternal shame.
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