India-China War, 1962: Recalling the story of the historic, unilateral ceasefire… in search of peace and development

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Map Courtesy : A.G. NOORANI, The Truth About 1962 (frontline.thehindu.com)

Map Courtesy : A.G. NOORANI, The Truth About 1962 (frontline.thehindu.com)

November 21 of 1962 was the day China had declared unilateral ceasefire. The war that commenced on Oct 20 had ended exactly in a month.

This article recalls the admittedly historic, unprecedented, and unconditional  offer of peace and compromise by a victor in war, and spurned by India, a Himalayan Blunder (Brigadier JS Dalvi’s coinage on the war). It stresses the need for responsible public opinion and the press, and the task to counter disinformation.

It points out India’s policies were “outsourced to USA” by Nehru, as described by AS Bhasin, the Historian of India’s Foreign Ministry, and supports his call:

“Fully open out all archival records about our border dispute with China and through them convince the Indian public that the position taken by India in the past was not a rational one and that China was not altogether perfidious as it was made out to be. 

It opposes the latest shift, to an explicit ‘no normalization’ policy with China.

It mentions election manifestos of Congress and some others in INDIA alliance that are are silent on foreign and defence policies, and are vying with BJP in that dangerous game that is seeking to subordinate India to the Asia-Pacific global hegemonic strategy of US super power, pushing for an Asian NATO, and exposing India and South Asia to dangers of war.

It ends with a call to defeat the political games of all such ruling class forces, including those that are masquerading as opposition, that are colluding with imperialists and merchants of death, led by USA. It provides Appendices that give links of more on the subject.      

A first-hand account of ceasefire by a key actor was as follows:

“ On the night of 21st November 1962, I was woken up by the Chinese Major in charge of my solitary confine­ment with shouts of ‘good news—good news’. He told me that the Sino-Indian War was over and that the Chinese Government had decided to withdraw from all the areas which they had overrun, in their lightning campaign.”

When asked the reason for the decision, the Chinese Major said:

“India and China have been, friends for thousands of years and have never fought be­fore. China does not want war. It is the reactionary (sic) Indian Government that was bent on war. So the Chinese counter-attacked in self-defence and liberated all our ter­ritories in NEFA and Ladakh, in just one month. Now we have decided to go back as we do not want to settle the border problem by force. We have proved that you are no match for mighty China..”. (All emphases used in this article are added, unless stated otherwise.)

He concluded, “ We hope that the Indian. Government will now see sense and come to the conference table at once sothat 1,200 million Chinese and Indians can get on with their national development plans and halt Western imperialism”. ( It was then the combined population of the two neighbors).

The above passage is from the author’s short Preface (p.8-12) of the famous book, Himalayan Blunder, by Brigadier JP Dalvi (1920-1974), published in 1969 by Hind Pocket Books, seven years after the war. He was a POW, held captive for seven months.

India’s official account of ceasefire

Dalvi’s account of ceasefire is the same as that cited from India’s official records, given below:

“… Just before midnight on November 20th the Chinese Government announced that in another twenty-four hours its forces would cease fire, and in another nine days they would begin to withdraw. The previous (19th)  night, Chou En-lai had called the Indian charge d’affaires to his residence and told him in detail of China’s intentions: now these were proclaimed:

(1)Beginning from  oo.oo hours on November 21st, 1962, the Chinese frontier guards will cease fire along the entire Sino-Indian border.

(2)Beginning from December 1st, 1962, the Chinese frontier guards will withdraw to positions 20 kilometres behind the line of actual control which existed between China and India on November 7th, 1959.”

(PM on Sino-Indian Relations, New Delhi, 1963.)

That was clear enough, but the statement spelled it out:

“ In the eastern sector, although the Chinese frontier guards have so far been fighting on Chinese territory north of the traditional customary line, they are prepared to withdraw from their present positions to the north of the line of actual control, that is, north of the illegal McMahon Line, and to withdraw twenty kilometres back from that line.

“ In the middle and western sectors, the Chinese frontier guards will withdraw twenty kilometres from the line of actual control.  The Indians would be expected to keep their armed forces twenty kilometres away from the line of actual control, too, and China ‘reserved the right to strike back’ if they did not do so.”

“ Both Govern­ments could establish civilian police posts on their side of the line, however; and Peking proposed that officials meet on the border to discuss the siting of such posts, implementation of the joint with­drawals, and return of prisoners. Then the two Prime Ministers should meet again to seek an amicable settlement: Nehru would be welcome in Peking, but if that were inconvenient for him, Chou En-lai would be prepared to go to New Delhi again. China hoped that India would ‘make a positive response’. But, ‘even if the Indian Government fail[ed] to make such a response in good time’, China would put her stated intentions into effect.”

(above quotes, based on Indian PM’s and White Papers, are from India’s China War,(Jaico Publishing House, 1970. p.417-418), the famous book by Neville Maxwell, who added:

“This was the proposal that Chou En-lai had first made to Nehru in his letter of November 7th, 1959, (hence the allusion to that date to define ‘the line of actual control’), and reiterated after the Namka Chu battle. Again and again in the course of the dispute China had urged it on India as the only possible way to de-fuse the borders and clear the way for settlement; as consistently, India had rejected it—most recently and brusquely on October 24th, after the first Chinese attack. Now, at the point of a smoking gun, a victorious China imposed not a victor’s terms but what she had proposed all along. The difference was that it had now ceased to be a proposal (as emphasized  by Maxwell.)China intended to put it into effect, and warned of grave consequences if India did nor reciprocate on her side by keeping troops twenty kilometres back from the line. But that warning was watered down by another. If the Indians attempted to resume the forward policy in the western sector, or to  move troops back into the Thag La triangle, ‘China reserves the right to strike back’. (Maxwell, p.418)

“The ceasefire remained informal, Indian observation of it tacit, though careful. New Delhi ignored the Chinese demand that Indian troops be withdrawn twenty kilometres from the line of actual control in the western and middle sectors, and Peking did not press that point.” (Maxwell, p. 428). 

Even in the NEFA sector, China had offered an informal opportunity very early, reports showed:

“ Between 20 and 24 October, the Chinese forces overran Indian positions, penetrated into the NEFA territory, occupied Towang (not far south of the McMahon line), halted and again began diplomatic exchanges. But Nehru was his old self – self-righteous, apt to turn truth on its head and determined not to enter into negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the boundary problem.”

On November 17 the Chinese began a second campaign and their troops reached the borders of Assam, occupied the entire disputed territory of the NEFA and again halted.

Bertrand Russell’s peace initiative

That was the time China had concluded boundary agreements with Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Mongolia  –  all neighbouring countries, except India. It exposed pacifist claims by India.

After withdrawing twelve miles north of the disputed border, China again showed their readiness to negotiate. Bertrand Russell had commented:

“The difficult fighting in passes was finished, and no powerful military obstacle existed to prevent a Chinese occupation of the Indian plains. I cannot think of any other instance in which a victorious army has been halted in this way by its own Government.

“ Because it had seemed to me, from Chou En-lai’s letter and from my talk with the Chinese Charge d’Affaires, that the Chinese were, in the matter of the border dispute, reasonable and temperate, I had thought it worth while to write to Chou En-lai as I had done, appealing for such magnanimous action on the part of the Chinese Government, but I was taken by surprise, as was the rest of the world, that they believed sufficiently clearly and strongly that war must be avoided to take such extreme measures, to make such a sacrifice of their gains.” ( Bertrand Russell, Unarmed Victory, Penguin, 1963, p. 84. cited by various authors.)

Maxwell wrote that Chou responded positively when two of Russel’s emissaries met him. But a weary China said, let the proposal come officially. New Delhi however instantly denied that the emissaries had been entrusted with any message from Nehru ( Maxwell, p. 432).

Things were by then  clear to the world that India was bent on a Forward Policy:

On 12 October, before leaving for Sri Lanka, Nehru had announced that the armed forces had been given orders to evict the Chinese from “our territory”. In its issue of 14 October, the Chinese People’s Daily advised Nehru: “Pull back from the brink of the precipice and don’t use the lives of Indian troops as stakes in your gamble.” The advice was ignored.

Referring to this Himalayan adventure, S. Radhakrishnan, then India’s President is reported to have said:

“We had no business to have sent the Army on this mission. We seemed to have gone mad about Thag La [a ridge in the eastern sector north of the McMahon line, to occupy which the fighting started]. At best Thag La is disputed territory. What does Nehru mean by saying ‘I have ordered the Army to throw the Chinese out’? Is this the language to be used in international affairs? Is this the manner in which grave national issues are handled?”

(Dwijendra Nandi, Sino-Indian Border Dispute, Hooghly, 1988. cited..the source is Major General Niranjan Prasad, The Fall of Towang, p. 163. Prasad was the commander of the 4 Division which was operating in the eastern sector.)

Thus the ceasefire can be seen to be unilateral and unprecedented. It may be noted that major conflict (Galwan etc) in the recent past was in the Western sector.

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The ceasefire was unique, historic, unprecedented:

Looking back at the border war in 1966, Lord Caccia, former Permanent Under-Secretary at the (British) Foreign Office, said that as far as he knew ‘the Chinese withdrawal to their original lines after a victory in the field [was] the first time in recorded history that a great power has not exploited military success by demanding something more’.” (Sunday Times, 12-6-1966, quoted by Neville Maxwell,p.419.)

“ The Times expressed the nearly universal reaction: Astonishment..”, in one word (p.417).

“ In India, and to some extent abroad, there was scepticism that China would fulfil her proclaimed intention to withdraw behind the McMahon Line.

“ But on November 30th the Defence Ministry in Peking confirmed that the Chinese forces were about to begin their withdrawal, and punctually on December 1st they began to pull back. The withdrawal was slow. On December 5th the Chinese handed over some wounded Indian prisoners at Bomdi La, and it was not until about a week later that they began to pull out from there. The Chinese had a lot of tidying up to do, and went about the task with meticulous, even fussy, care.

China returned the arms and the war equipment  it seized            

“ They made it a matter of principle, or pride, that all the equipment left behind by the retreating Indians should be handed back to them in as good condition as possible. Accordingly it was collected, stacked, piled or parked; cleaned, polished, and carefully inventoried – small arms, mortars, artillery, trucks, shells and ammu­nition, clothing, and all the other impedimenta of a defeated army. Among the equipment returned were a few American automatic rifles, the first instalment of American military assistance, captured at Se La, before they were uncrated and issued to the troops; and a Russian helicopter in serviceable condition.” (Maxwell,p.427.)

“ Peking asked New Delhi to arrange for the material to be received, and Indian civilian parties were sent to take control of it, the Chinese checking off the items and taking receipts. China did not publicize this extraordinary transaction, and said later that there was no intention to do so; it was simply a gesture ‘to further demonstrate . .. sincerity for a peaceful settlement’. But although they co-operated by for­mally receiving the returned material, the Indians bitterly resented what they felt as an added humiliation, and denounced the Chinese gesture as a propaganda manoeuvre—thereby drawing attention to it.” ( Maxwell,p.428)

Why ceasefire? China clarified: …it was not territory that China sought, it was a settled boundary, and the military operation had been directed to that end.

Withdrawal was integral to the concept, the final move requiring to bring a calculated military and political manoeuvre to a triumphant checkmate.

Thus China decided that it would not retain any gains of the war it had in its hands. In fact, it was a political decision, not a military contingency, taken by the CPC led by Mao, even before the war had commenced, as shown by authentic reviews. (China’s Decision for War with India in 1962A detailed analysis  by John W. Garver, cited by Wikipedia. He is a renowned author and Professor Emeritus of International Affairs, a specialist on China.)

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Himalayan Blunder : Need for Responsible Public Opinion and the Press

The Brigadier wrote with the expected skepticism of an Indian army officer, who had to be politically correct.  Still it was a book that was banned soon after release, said the publishers in a blurb. Obviously it hurt many in the Establishment, including Nehru, of which the Brigadier himself was a part.

Dalvi’s book “may come to be be regarded as a classic of military literature,”  wrote Maxwell (p. 427), in his own classic work, India’s China War (Jaico Publishing House, 1970.): Dalvi who joined army in 1940, fought in World War-2,  was an “outstanding officer,” who led a Brigade in 1965 Pakistan war, but in 1966 he was superseded in promotion to the rank of major-general, and accordingly resigned. Apparently that was soon after PM LB Sastry died (in Jan 1966) and Indira Gandhi Nehru took over.

Brigadier Dalvi comments on the issues involved, and how all, including the media, have a role to play:

“ 1962 was a National Failure of which every Indian is guilty. It was a failure in the Higher Direction of War, a failure of the Opposition, a failure of the General Staff (myself included); it was a failure of Responsible Public Opinion and the Press. For the Government of India, it was a Himalayan Blunder at all levels.”

Countercurrents under Binu Mathew has been a bold and distinguished mirror of “Responsible Public Opinion” and continues to give good coverage to the subject, shunning national chauvinism and jingoism, churned out equally by the ruling as well as opposition and regional parties. There is in fact a good  archive on the border conflict. A few articles,well-documented with authentic materials, on the subject are listed in the end of this one. 

( one of them is: India-China war at 60 : A Review )

https://countercurrents.org/2022/12/india-china-war-at-60-a-review/)

The developments after the defeat and ceasefire, both described by Dalvi, as also several others, as humiliating and a national shame, were stunning for post-1947 India.

“Especially resonant in Indian ears as this was a familiar coinage of Gandhi’s,” commented Neville Maxwell (p.427, India’s China War), referring to the  Himalayan Blunder.

In fact the war took a big toll:  The Indian army Chief of Staff  General Pran Nath Thapar (1906-1975 June 23) resigned: he was the Chief since 1961 May 8 and served until 19 Nov 1962, just one day before the ceasefire, and after the defeat. (Wikipedia).  The defence minister, Krishna Menon (Nehru’s intimate friend), was forced to resign; and Nehru was told that it might be his turn next time.

The Establishment, instead of being self-critical, was vengeful:

Wrote Dalvi in his Preface: he was “ repatriated along with all other officers of field rank on 4th May 1963. We reached Barrackpore…(Bengal) and were diverted to Dum Dum..We deplaned and were greeted with correct military protocol, tinged with a chill reserve.”

“ It was only later that I found that we had to clear ourselves of the charge of having been brain-washed- a strange charge from a government that was itself been brain-washed…” (Dalvi, p.9)

Dalvi served as an officer in the Indian army for long (1940-1967), and was a seasoned China hand:

“ It had fallen to my lot to be associated with the China problem for over 8 years from 1954 to 1962. I was first connected with the Higher Direction of War, in a modest capacity, as a Lt.-Colonel in Military Operations Directorate. Later, as Brigadier-in-Charge of Administration of the troops on Ladakh, I saw, at first hand, what passed for ‘logistic support’. Finally as Commander of the key sector of Towang, North-East Frontier Agency, I was involved in our so-called operational planning to defend our bor­ders. The years of higher responsibility were complement­ary and gave me a personal insight into our National Policy as well as our half-hearted military response to the Chinese challenge.”

How he viewed his own book? “I have made every effort not to view things in a retrospective light or with the clarity of hindsight. I have recorded experiences, ideas and feelings as they appeared at the time. I have tried to give an objective account of all that happened.”

He was asked on May 15, 1963 by the Chief of Army Staff, General JN Chaudhury, to write a report for the “personal information” of the Chief and the Defence Minister.

“ I wrote a  forthright  account which I handed  over to the Chief personally. I do not know the fate of this report as I was never again asked to discuss or explain it. It may have touched some sensitive nerves.”

The 1962 war was an old type one wherein around 1400 Indian soldiers were killed and 4000 captured as per Indian sources, which claimed 1300 Chinese soldiers were killed. No civilian deaths, insignificant if any, were officially recorded. It is unlike modern wars waged in recent decades by USA; ironically the so-called ‘hitech wars, with high precision’ weapons, led to millions of deaths of civilians, passed off as collateral damage. ( see Appendix-2). Still America has the temerity to blame China with all false accusations, broadcast by a servile and sold-out  media.

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Disinformation: “sustained efforts to confuse and conceal the truth…”  “Fully open out all archival records”

It was a war that is in the news almost daily, but with little authentic information, which is drowned by a flood of misinformation as wells as deliberate disinformation. Dalvi wrote:

“ The people of India want to know the truth but have been denied it on the dubious grounds of national secu­rity. The result has been an unhealthy amalgam of innuendo, mythology, conjecture, outright calumny and sustained efforts to confuse and conceal the truth.” (p. 10)

Fifty years later, another authentic voice, one that is from within the Establishment, on the subject wrote:

“The India-China war in 1962 happened more than half a century ago. However, people are largely still ignorant of what brought us so much of ignominy… To untangle the Gordian knot that India-China relations have become, the people of India need to know what actually went wrong in that short span of a decade and a half of India, post-independence…”

The above lines are by Avtar Singh Bhasin in the Preface to his book, Nehru, Tibet and China (Penguin Random House India, 2021, 403 pages).

Bhasin is a most authentic and competent scholar: he retired from the India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in 1993 as Director Historical Division after three decades of service. He is the Author-Editor of  India-China Relations 1947-2000 A Documentary Study (Vol  I-V); Geetika Publishers; Pages: 5,636. This voluminous collection includes 2523 documents, compiled over a 5-year span by AS Bhasin. He published an annual series ‘India’s Foreign Relations’ for the Ministry of External Affairs from 2002 to 2013.

***                ***

Misinformation and disinformation then and now

Dalvi wrote:

“ Even the truncat­ed ‘NEFA’ Enquiry has  been withheld except for a few Paraphrased extracts read out to the Lok Sabha on 2nd September 1963. For some undisclosed reason, I was not asked to give evidence before this body, nor (to the best of my knowledge) were my repatriated Commanding officers.”

There has been much discussion on the official report that was buried: Major General Henderson Brooks headed a committee of the Army, meant to probe into NEFA debacle, but it was not given access to Army HQ’s records. Nor given reports submitted by individual army officers like Dalvi and Brig Palit.The Committee had no access to crucial exchanges between civilian and army leaderships.  Military Chief General Thapar declined to give even a statement, but agreed to offer comments as and when the Report was ready. Still some Report was readied, but only to be classified and kept secret, negating all pleas to declassify it at least now.That is the fate of Information.(Maxwell, p. 437)  

Disinformation today, however, is a master craft greatly developed, and disseminated on a massive scale, particularly in relation to China and Pakistan. India emulates and excels over the West, as can be seen in the illustration given below.

(see for more,  Disinformation, a key instrument of  India’s foreign policy in relation to China and Pakistan? 01/07/2023

https://countercurrents.org/2023/07/disinformation-a-key-instrument-of-indias-foreign-policy-in-relation-to-china-and-pakistan/)

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Disinformation about Nehru : India’s policies  “Outsourced to USA” by Nehru 

The sangh parivar consistently tells lies, as part of disinformation, that unlike Patel, Nehru trusted China and was taken for a ride. The Left make us believe Nehru was opposed to (American) imperialism. China war proved both camps wrong.  

Bhasin was candid, nay, blunt, when he wrote:

“Fully open out all archival records about our border dispute with China and through them convince the Indian public that the position taken by India in the past was not a rational one and that China was not altogether perfidious as it was made out to be. 

Bhasin said if we are ever going to solve the border dispute with China, the Indian people need to be educated and informed that the stand taken under Nehru, and maintained by successive governments thereafter, was wrong – it was not based on facts and it was unilaterally asserted in defiance of the known historical position. At the same time, people will also have to be educated and told that China was not wrong but, in fact, often in the right.

And Bhasin demanded:      

Later in 1962, Bhasin asserts, Nehru’s letter ‘practically outsourced the defence of India to the US’ (p. 304). ..Despite such an attitude on the part of Delhi, contrary to popular belief, Bhasin reveals how much the Chinese tried to resolve their border issue with India, and it was Nehru who resisted…From unilaterally altering boundaries on extant maps and withdrawing inconvenient ones to humiliating Zhou EnLai, Nehru seems to have done them all. 

Maxwell revealed how Nehru had moved closer to America:

“ In the immediate aftermath of the border war, however, it appeared that India was simply moving closer to the United States. Nehru maintained that non-alignment was alive and unimpaired; but in January 1963, according to Galbraith, the Indian Foreign Secretary expressed his Government’s willingness ‘to work with the United States both politically and militarily in the rest of Asia’ for the con­tainment of China.

“.. But open confirmation of the distance India had travelled under the shock of the border war was to be seen in the presence in New Delhi of an American military mission and the squadron of C-I30 transports, ferrying American supplies to Ladakh. On receipt of Nehru’s call for help President Kennedy had dispatched Averell Harriman to India with a team of high-level State Department and Pentagon advisers and General Paul Adams, commander of the mobile strike force which the United States kept ready for emergency ground..(Maxwell p.434)

We noted above that China returned some American arms seized from Indian troops.

“Modi, a carbon copy of Jawaharlal Nehru of 1960s?” 

But there is a yawning gap between Modi’s precept and practice. BJP berates Nehru day in and day out, but what’s the practice?

Senior political analyst  Prem Shankar Jha, wrote an article,  (thewire.in, 13/Sep/2020) , post-Galwan, with the apt title  “The Key Issue Dividing India and China Today is Not the Border” .

“ The two leaders (Modi and Xi)  had agreed , at Astana in 2017 ,  to meet frequently to discuss strategies and resolve issues,  and had done so  twice already at Wuhan in 2018, and Mahabalipuram in 2019. We can only speculate on the reasons why Modi chose not to do so. But his silence has turned  the gamble he is taking now into a carbon copy of the one Jawaharlal Nehru took when he ordered the  army  to push the Chinese off the Thagla ridge in 1962. ”

So many Indian experts showed a new Forward Policy under Modi has been underway.

India- China Border Tensions: A New Forward Policy?

https://countercurrents.org/2020/06/india-china-border-tensions-a-new-forward-policy/

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“China has not captured any Indian territory or crossed the borders” : PM Modi

Soon after the June 15 Galwan clash,  PM Modi had said in the All Party Meet on June 19,2020, focused mainly on June 15 clash:

Neither is anyone sitting inside our borders nor is any post been captured. The entire country is hurt and angered by what China did at the LAC (Line of Actual Control),” PM Modi said, categorically rejecting suggestions that the Chinese had intruded and were sitting on Indian territory.

https://www.ndtv.com/india-news/our-posts-have-not-been-occupied-pm-modi-at-all-party-meet-on-ladakh-clash-2249159

Jingoists including Rahul Gandhi blamed Modi the politician, like Nehru was blamed by the then opposition including Jan Sangh, alleging he was hiding reality.

General VK Singh, former Chief of Army Staff (COAS -in office until May 2012), during UPA-2, from March 2010-May2012, later became a Minister in NDA, categorically said: “There are no intrusions. They are not on our territory. There are transgressions, not intrusions. The LAC is not marked on the ground, there is no agreement on it” . (Interview to Hindustan Times, Jun 21, 2020, i.e., after the deadly clash and after the All Party Meet.)

From Nehru To Modi, thus all the PMs had faced the same situation: “It is an LAC…an un-demarcated and undefined border.”

It has been a  BJP Vs Congress war of words on China that tops headlines, reflecting the hypocritical, mutual blame game to deceive people and incite jingoism, targeting China. There is persistent jingoistic propaganda in Indian media, painting as if China is a notorious aggressor. The reality : 

“ China has borders with 14 nations, and except for India, it has resolved its disputes with all, including Russia. India has borders with six countries, and excluding Bhutan, it has disputes with all five.”

– Subramanian Swamy, Sinologist, Ex-Union Minister, and  BJP MP (Frontline 2000 Sep 2: Sino-Indian Relations Through the Tibet Prism).

Much of the Big Media, known to be manufacturing news and Consent for imperialism, keeps harping on China threat, with double-tongued ruling classes, including BJP and Delhi, prodding it all.

***                 ***

NYT’s OpEd on India’s dilemmas: “ India is the only US partner that confronts China on its land border…”

Even as talks were held and Galwan was being forgotten, the New York Times opened the new year with a “guest essay” (Jan. 1, 2023) by colonel Ajai Shukla, a strategic affairs analyst and former Indian Army officer, a consulting editor for the Business Standard, to stoke the fires again, with the title: Why India and China Are Fighting in the Himalayas.

He refers to some clashin last December near Yangtse, along the border in the Tawang area. Small clashes that arise due to perceptional differences are regularly blown up for political reasons. His article concedes it is more a perceptional issue that could be settled. However, it reveals the US factor in so many words.

He pretends to be objective and neutral, and speaks of clashes with “an alarming frequency owing to the rise of aggressive nationalisms (mark the plural) in President Xi Jinping’s China and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s India. Insecurity is also growing in New Delhi and Beijing over intensified construction of border infrastructure by both countries.”

The American role  and India’s dilemmas, that breed mutual suspicions, are put in candid words. Extracts from it are worth studying, and given below:

“  And mutual suspicion is deepening as China contemplates the increasing strategic cooperation between the United States and India as competition and conflict between Washington and Beijing intensifies.”

“ For New Delhi, China’s new aggressiveness presents a clear dilemma: Should India continue to build strategic and military relations with the United States and the partnership of America, Australia, Japan and India — known as the Quad — even though Beijing has made it clear it sees the Quad as an anti-China grouping?

“ While the Quad, and its more overtly militaristic version, the AUKUS (Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States) alliance, constitute a viable deterrent to China in the maritime Indo-Pacific theater, India is the only partner that confronts China on its land border…

“ From New Delhi’s perspective, the Chinese military aggression on the disputed border is the price India is paying for joining hands with the Western alliance..

 “ Within India, Mr. Modi’s strongman image has taken a dent from the confrontation with China. His insistence that India has not lost territory to China provides ammunition to his supporters, but the numbers of his blind supporters have dwindled..”

The analysis shows how the India’s subservience to US imperialism, particularly in relation to China, is going to play a key role, also in domestic politics. The Big media, tied to the western imperialism, cooks up the China threat, swings politics and  manipulates the agenda.

“The political cost to Mr. Modi, it seems, will eventually be decided in Beijing as much as in New Delhi.”

Is Congress, leading INDIA alliance, serving India, or serving US imperialism, by playing up so-called China threat, to please US super power, as its junior partner, like they were doing it for decades while in power at the Centre?

The Key Issue Dividing India and China Today is Not the Border” 

We have noted above  Prem Shankar Jha’s analysis.

If not the border, what is it?

External affairs minister S Jaishankar’s pointed comments put into sharp relief the worst slide in India-China relations in six decades, reportedPTI: “At spl briefing, Jaishankar’s blunt message to China on what it can’t expect.”  (Hindustan Times, Jun 08, 2023).

“The fact is the relationship is impacted. And the relationship will continue to be impacted. If there is any expectation that somehow we will normalise [ties] while the border situation is not normal, that’s not a well-founded expectation,” he said.

Against the backdrop of calls by China’s leadership to put the border issue in an “appropriate place” while other aspects of the relationship such as trade are normalised, Jaishankar made it clear that ties cannot be taken forward if agreements are violated (ie., by China) and peace and tranquillity on the LAC are set aside.

We noted above PM Modi’s official statement that not an inch is under occupation. Modi govt refuted Rahul gandhi’s jingoistic talk. Jayshankar asserted:

“ Responding to accusations by the Congress party and its leader Rahul Gandhi about China building a bridge at Pangong Lake and villages in disputed areas in Arunachal Pradesh, Jaishankar said this was done at locations occupied by the Chinese side in 1962 and 1959, respectively.”

“ China has occupied territory since the 1950s and the continued neglect of border infrastructure by past governments had also put Indian troops at a disadvantage, he said. A lot of problems during India’s forward deployment were linked to this issue, but the current government has ramped up the construction of roads, bridges and tunnels. The average budget for border infrastructure till 2014 was less than Rs.4000 crore but this has now increased to Rs.14,000 crore.”

We noted above how India spurned peace initiatives by false claims( AS Bhasin), and there has been a new Forward Policy under Modi.  

But then what’s new? “India, US are on pathway to contain China”

Photo: The meeting of foreign and defence ministers of India and the US in the ‘2+2’ format took place in New Delhi, November 10, 2023.

We noted the NYT OpEd by a Retired Colonel Ajay Shukla (Jan1,2023): “India is the only partner that confronts China on its land border…From New Delhi’s perspective, the Chinese military aggression on the disputed border is the price India is paying for joining hands with the Western alliance..”

Modi-led India took the decisive plunge. There is bipartisan support, also in India’s ruling classes and parties.

“ The big picture is that after audaciously claiming the mantle of leadership of the Global South as recently as in September, in a span of over two months, India is gliding over to the American camp as the US’ indispensable ally, even aspiring to be a “global defence hub” with Pentagon’s help.”  

Seasoned diplomat, former ambassador,  M. K. Bhadrakumar(Nov13,2023) thus summed up theabove 2+2 gang-Up.

https://www.indianpunchline.com/india-us-are-on-pathway-to-contain-china/

He listed some of the takeaways at the 2+2 meeting:

  • finalisation of a Security of Supply Arrangement, which will deepen the integration of defence industrial ecosystems and strengthening of supply chain resilience;
  • creation of new liaison positions between the two armed forces further to India’s full membership of the multinational Combined Maritime Forces, headquartered in Bahrain;
  • Maximisation of the scope of the Logistics and Exchange Memorandum Agreement, and identify steps to enhance the reach of the US naval vessels to Indian bases.

He commented:

“ No doubt, the above is only the tip of the iceberg, while this extraordinary transition in Indian policies will largely remain behind closed-doors. The US seems supremely confident that India is ready to enter into an exclusive alliance…What is the offer that the Biden Administration has made to India that the latter cannot refuse?”

“ Clearly, such a massive shift in India’s military policies needs to be co-related with the fundamental postulates of foreign policy. That said, curiously, call it “bipartisan consensus” or whatever, India’s main opposition party apparently couldn’t care less about the shift. This is not surprising. The shift is actually about a nascent India-US alliance to counter China — and that is a policy front where it is difficult to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.”

(https://www.indianpunchline.com/india-us-are-on-pathway-to-contain-china/)

Elections to five Sate legislatures are under way, being a pre-final to all India general election next summer. There are so many promises and manifestos by parties, full of freebies offered like in an auction. Modi despised them as revdis, but BJP is vying with all others in that auction to buy votes with public money. These manifestos of ‘all India parties’ have little on foreign and defence policies, on peaceful development.

PM Modi often said ‘this is not the era of wars,’ but his party is never tired of jingoistic talk against China and Pakistan.

countercurrents.org/2023/01/modis-precept-this-is-not-an-era-of-war-should-be-applied-to-china-and-pakistan-as-well-normalization-not-chauvinism-is-the-need-of-the-hour/

Modi sups with war-monger US imperialism, and dines with India’s arms traders, promoted in private sector, with Adanis and Ambanis leading. Modi govt is lavishing around Rs.7 lakh crore yearly on defence Budget, marking a shift  to a defence-oriented economy, which is meant to fatten   merchants of death, Indian and foreign.

https://countercurrents.org/2023/03/indias-shift-to-a-defence-oriented-economy-with-increasing-role-for-the-private-sector/

People should oppose jingoism, expansionism, war-build , promoted by Modi-led BJP and NDA in the name of defence. Mouthing nationalism, they are serving US imperialism.

It is such policies that led to the avoidable India China war 60 years ago. It is  such forces that spurned offers of peaceful negotiation, and failed to utilize the unilateral ceasefire for a negotiated settlement.

The issue was kept on the back-burner, rightly so, for decades, and India and China benefited by increased bilateral trade and investment, and mutual help even after Covid-19 arrived. Now that policy is given up, and an explicit ‘no normalization’ policy is adopted.  

Congress and some others in INDIA alliance are vying with BJP in that dangerous game that is seeking to subordinating India to the Asia-Pacific global hegemonic strategy of US super power, pushing for an Asian NATO, and exposing India and South Asia to dangers of war.

People should defeat all such ruling class forces, including those that are masquerading as opposition.

Ramakrishnan is a journlist

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Appendix-1

A detailed, but not complete, list and links of related articles by this author is given below:

India China Border Dispute: Some Myths

https://countercurrents.org/2023/01/india-china-border-dispute-some-myths/

India-China war at 60 : A Review   

https://countercurrents.org/2022/12/india-china-war-at-60-a-review/

Oppose US Moves To Drag India-China Conflict Into Its Indo-Pacific Strategy

https://countercurrents.org/2020/07/oppose-us-moves-to-drag-india-china-conflict-into-its-indo-pacific-strategy/

India- China Border Tensions: A New Forward Policy? 

https://countercurrents.org/2020/06/india-china-border-tensions-a-new-forward-policy/

Indian Hawks Join Hands With US Vultures Against China

https://countercurrents.org/2020/06/indian-hawks-join-hands-with-us-vultures-against-china/

Dalai Lama turns 85 today and 60 years of that he served US imperialism, operating from Indian soil, playing havoc with India-China Relations

https://countercurrents.org/2020/07/dalai-lama-turns-85-today/

https://countercurrents.org/2023/01/india-china-border-conflict-dangerous-divisive-games-of-bjp-in-the-northeast/

https://countercurrents.org/2022/12/india-china-conflict-in-the-global-context-the-arunachal-sector/

https://countercurrents.org/2023/02/defence-budget-a-burden-on-the-people-must-be-pruned/

https://countercurrents.org/2023/09/unraveling-the-disinformation-and-media-made-aggression-vis-a-vis-china/

https://countercurrents.org/2023/09/dark-and-light-streaks-in-india-china-relations/

https://countercurrents.org/2020/06/is-it-pms-surrender-to-china-or-is-it-subservience-to-us-strategy-of-congress-and-others/

The Dubious Narrative of Democracy of the Natural Allies Vs China’s Authoritarianism

https://countercurrents.org/2021/06/the-dubious-narrative-of-indias-democracy-vs-chinas-authoritarianism/

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Appendix-2

 The savagery of USA: 

“ Iraq, the model, is destroyed at a cost of a million lives and three million dispossessed. Blair and his moral counter, Julian Assange, live 14 miles apart, one in a Regency mansion, the other in a cell awaiting extradition to hell. (Julian Assange inside London’s harsh, high-security Belmarsh Prison.)According to a Brown University study, since 9/11, almost six million men, women and children have been killed by America and its acolytes in the “Global War on   Terror.”

“ There have been many Afghanistans. The forensic William Blum devoted himself to making sense of a state terrorism that seldom spoke its name and so requires repetition: In my lifetime, the United States has overthrown or attempted to overthrow more than 50 governments, most democracies. It has interfered in democratic elections in 30 countries. It has dropped bombs on the people of 30 countries, most of them poor and defenceless. It has fought to suppress liberation movements in 20 countries. It has attempted to murder countless leaders.

Not one sociopath has been charged for this and crimes such as kicking a man over a cliff, gunning down children point-blank, slitting throats: none of it “in battle.” McBride (journalist)  can receive a sentence of up to 100 years for revealing the cover-up of the great crime of Afghanistan. He tried to exercise his legal right as a whistle-blower.

(Countercurrents.org published such and more material on the subject)