Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Study of Nehru's Folly and Ineptitude in Facing China

 Indian Claim to Aksai Chin in Ladakh and NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh)

India  has a long border with Tibet. The border undulates along the Himalayan range, which acted as a natural barrier between the two nations. Thus people to people contact between the Chinese and Tibetan populace on one side and India was minimal and both nations existed together for centuries without any acrimony.
The Advent of British Power
The situation changed with the advent of the British  as the rulers. They followed a policy of expansion of British power and looked for ways to counter Russia which was expanding its influence in Central Asia. The result was the YoungHusband expedition of 1903/4 against Tibet. The result was a foregone conclusion, as the ill equipped Tibet Army was defeated and Young Husband reached Lhasa. As the paramount power in SE Asia the British enforced their will and demarcated borders as per their requirement. Thus the McMahan line appeared in the Eastern region and Aksai Chin became part of the British Empire.
To legitimize their writ they convened a tripartite conference at Simla in 1913, which was attended by the representatives of China and Tibet. However the agreement on the border was not initialed by the Chinese and Tibetans, but the British as the super power in the region enforced the agreement. It must be noted that at that time China was weak and the European powers were controlling vast area of China. Later the Japanese occupied the entire North East of China. During this period Tibet had a semblance of Independence, but all along it had remained a vassal state of China.
The Eastern Border
The McMahan line is an artificial line drawn by the British to demarcate the border in the east. The Entire NEFA (North East Frontier Agency) now called Arunachal Pradesh, thus fell into the British lap. History records that this area was at no stage before the advent of the British, a part of India. Even the writ of the Mughul Empire at its zenith under Aurangzeb never had control beyond Assam. Thus Twang and other areas of NEFA were outside the pale of the Indian empire.
Twang and the areas of NEFA were in real terms closer to Tibet and there are reports that Twang paid tribute to the Dalai Lama.

Aksai Chin and the Western Border
 As far as Aksai Chin is concerned there is no historical record of it having had any Indian administration either Mughul or Sikh. Ranjit Singh the Sikh ruler did attack Ladakh, but he also did not venture into Aksai Chin. This area remained a no mans land with some ties to Tibet.
Thus when India was freed by England in 1947 the Indian government took over as the legitimate inheritor of what the British had left behind. However Nehru, the Indian Leader never understood the dynamics of power politics. He forgot that the British had enforced their will by a naked show of Military strength. If India was to sustain the borders as left behind by the English a strong Military was a must

The Folly of Nehru and India’s Claim
This Nehru neglected and the Army went to seed. In addition he made no attempt to establish any form of control administrative or other wise over Aksai Chin. He made matters worse by once remarking ‘not a blade of grass grows there’. This remark only showed has naivety and inaptitude in handling the politics of nations.
With India absent in Aksai Chin, the Chinese occupied the entire area (30000 sq miles) and  India  knew nothing. Thus Nehru and India cannot really claim Aksai chin, an area that was never administered from Delhi by any Indian ruler or government. In the East also he clung to British interpretation of the border, but he made a fatal mistake again by not policing the area and allowed the Chinese to establish a hold over Tibet. His recognition of Tibet as a part of China was a fatal blunder and Tibet which had enjoyed some degree of Independence and acted as a buffer between India and China was lost. Nehru also talked of Himalayas as our natural border, but again modern armies can easily cross the Himalayas which the Chinese did in 1962 and Nehru was caught napping.
Last Word
The crucial point we must remember is that India lost the territories to China in absentia.Without a strong army to counter an expansionist China, Nehru sold India down the drain and though India accepted the British interpretation of the border, it never had the where with all to enforce it. In addition the weak historical claim has emboldened the Chinese, who claim they are the direct inheritors of Tibet and its territories .This they have enforced by a military might that even tests the United Sates. What of the future? I do not visualize any solution of the border and recovery of Aksai Chin ever. India will have to face the Dragon and stop it from further incursions. The case of India as a legitimate ruler of these territories is goine forever.