Recent coverage of remembering 1962 Indo-China war in newspapers and Mr. A. G. Noorani’s well researched piece in the Frontline (Nov 17-30) has made one thing clear, unless we shed the mindset which resulted from memory of ‘Chinese aggression’ and ‘betrayal’, we cannot solve the border dispute ever.
Brief points made by Mr. Noorani, a veteran journalist, about late Mr. J. L. Nehru’s mistakes are as follows: –
- Uunilaterally revising the McMahon Line and the maps in 1954;
- Refusal to negotiate during the period 1954-58;
- Assertion of a false claim in 1959;
- Refusal to accept China’s claims in the Aksai Chin.;
- Rebuff to Pour Tsu-Li in May 1959;
- More importantly, rejection of Zhou Enlai’s proposal in April 1960 though it accepted the McMahon Line and The Forward Policy
China is not a nation to be forthcoming in taking first steps in maintaining cordial relations with neighbours.
Just today, November 29, 2012, CNN covered the news how China recently released electronics passports showing map of China including regions claimed by India, Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan and Malaysia. China claimed these territories earlier too but now has introduced them in passports.
So far, only Vietnam and Philippines have lodged diplomatic complaints.
It has far reaching consequences. We do not know India’s position but Vietnam has refused to stamp these passports for visa applications and is issuing visa on separate piece of papers, lest it will interpreted as acquiescence to China’s claim.
In this day and age, a dispute about few square kms might seem flimsy but just imagine the plight of people living in these territories. South Cina Sea is another such example which is stated to be full of natural resources
But with General Election listed for 2014, I have no clue what the UPA or the future Govt intends to do since they are already occupied in other matters. Maybe we need leaders who are not living with a rear-view mirror mentality and are pragmatic to solve this half a century old dispute.
I reckon China might prove far better neighbour than Pakistan in at least reaching the table for settlement. But for this, we will need to educate our current generation about what really happened leading to 1963 conflict so that there is no instilled-acrimony when the leaders of both sides are negotiating.