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July 9, 1999
Hindi-Chini Bye Bye
Once more, China has duped India, as it has done so many times in the last fifty years. At the moment, because of its own problems with Muslim fundamentalism in Sinkiang, China wants Pakistan and India to enter into a ceasefire in Kashmir. But there is no reason why Beijing should not continue to contain India by arming Islamabad: it is huge benefits at very little cost.
The seizure of the North Korean ship with nuclear equipment, is the best proof of it. And remember how Mr Jaswant Singh came back all glowing from Beijing and announced "that the two sides would enter consultations on establishing a security mechanism". But so far, Beijing has kept silent on this security co-operation.
How is it, that after five decades of bitter experience at the hands of the Chinese, of double talk, betrayal and contempt, India -- and a 'nationalist' government at that -- still gets hoodwinked by the Chinese? And on top of that, hasn't Mr Singh proposed that India and China celebrate 50 years of friendship?
Fifty years of friendship -- is that a joke ? Doesn't Mr Singh know that China still occupies one third of Ladakh, which it took during the 1962 war, still claims for herself the whole of Arunachal Pradesh and uses Pakistan -- to whom it furnished its missiles (c/o North Korea) and the know-how to manufacture nuclear weapons -- so as to neutralise India?
How can Mr Singh (who otherwise is a fine gentleman), say that China is not a security menace to India? Doesn't he know also that according to the CIA, China has transferred one third of its nuclear arsenal to Nagchuka, 250 kms away from Lhasa, a region full of huge caves, which the Chinese have linked together by an intricate underground network and where they have installed nearly a hundred Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, many of them pointed at Indian cities?
The reason for this is that the Chinese, who are probably among the most intelligent people in the world, have always understood that India is their number one economic, military and nuclear competitor in Asia (remember Beijing's hysterical reaction after Pokhran II). Does Mr Jaswant Singh also know that the Chinese have killed 1.2 million Tibetans, that 6,254 monasteries have been razed to the ground, that 60% of religious, historical and cultural archives have been destroyed and that one Tibetan out of ten is still in jail?
Today a quarter million Chinese troops occupy Tibet and there are 7.5 million Chinese settlers for six million Tibetans -- in fact, in many places such as the capital, Lhasa, Tibetans are outnumbered two to one...
To understand this Indian obsession for Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai, this crave to appease China, whatever the cost, one has to go back to Nehru, who had decided that India and China were the natural 'socialist' brothers of Asia. Nehru should have had second thoughts when China showed its true face in Tibet -- but he chose to ignore the warning. In a brilliant forthcoming book to be published by the flamboyant Narendra Kumar, editor of Har-Anand, Tibet specialist Claude Arpi throws light for the first time on the Tibet-China-India triangle and Nehru's iniquitous role.
Mr Arpi first recalls how shortly after Independence, the Indian army chief of staff had drafted the first paper on the threats to India's security by China, along with recommendations for a clear defence policy. But when Nehru read the paper, he said: "Rubbish. Total Rubbish. We don't need a defence plan. Our policy is non-violence. We foresee no military threats. Scrap the army. The police are good enough to meet our security needs." We know the results of that remark: When the Chinese invaded India in 1962, the Indian army, thanks to Nehru's blindness and appeasement policy, was totally unprepared and was so badly routed, that the psychological scars even show today.
But the biggest blunder that Nehru did was to betray Tibet, a peaceful, spiritualised nation, who had always acted as a natural buffer between the two Giants of Asia (in fact, the Dalai Lama's repeated offer that Tibet becomes a denuclearised, demilitarised zone between India and China, makes total sense today and Indian leaders should have immediately adopted it). But unfortunately, if there is one thing which all political parties in India share, it is the policy of appeasing China in exchange for Chinese non-interference in Kashmir.
But what non-interference?
It can be argued that not only China gave Pakistan many of the weapons that it is using -- or will be using against India in the future -- but it also may be quite possible that Beijing knew in advance of Pakistan’s Kargil plan (in fact Pakistan's army chief was in the Chinese capital at the beginning of hostilities).
What Mr Jaswant Singh does not understand is that it is not China that has to appeased to contain Pakistan; but rather, ultimately, it should be Pakistan that has to be appeased (in the true sense of the term = making peace with) to contain China. Because everything -- bar religion -- unites India and Pakistan: customs, languages, culture, ethnic stock, history… Whereas India and China have very little in common, except Nehru's elusive dream of a socialist brotherhood.
It should also be clear that as long as India does not stand up to its responsibility towards Tibet and continues to recognise China's unjust suzerainty of it, there will be no peace in Asia. For China needs space and we have to wake up to the fact that it has hegemonic aspirations: it got Tibet, it got Hong Kong, it got part of Ladakh; now it wants Taiwan, Arunachal Pradesh, the Spratly islands and what not! Fifty years ago, during the Korean war India's great Sage, Sri Aurobindo, had seen clearly in the Chinese game: 'the first move in the Chinese Communist plan of campaign is to dominate and take possession first of these northern parts and then of South East Asia as a preliminary to their manoeuvres with regard to the rest of the continent, in passing Tibet as a gate opening to India.'
India should also understand that contrary to Indian political leaders, who keep making statements and not acting upon them, China keeps silent, but it ACTS -- and then denies having acted with a straight face (like it denies the theft of nuclear secrets from the US). In fact, India should take a lesson or two from the Chinese Communist leadership, which first decides upon a clear, one track policy (we will keep Tibet, by all means) -- and follows it, regardless of what the world says! It does not care about a goody-goody image, like India, which unnecessarily appealed to the G-8…
The story of the Panchen Lama is a perfect example of that: Beijing decided that one of the ways of getting rid of the Dalai Lama was to provide an alternate source of spiritual leadership to the Tibetans -- hence the choice of another Panchen Lama, overriding the one chosen by the Dalai Lama. Now after six years of indoctrination in Beijing, the counterfeit Panchen Lama has surfaced again in Tibet -- and his very presence there further jeopardises the possibility of a free Tibet.
What one does not understand is how the BJP, a party which wants to be different, who has always stressed before coming to power, that it sympathises with the Tibetan people's aspiration to regain their independence, can follow the same old Congress policy of appeasement towards China!
One should be realistic and learn from Swami Rama Tirtha, a great sage of the beginning of the century: 'The policy of appeasement is never successful. It increases the demands of the bully and encourages his unreasonableness. He will never listen to you. On the contrary, he will further insult you, by heaping imaginary allegations on you and finding baseless aberrations.'
A hundred years later, India has still not learnt that lesson: The need of the day is not "Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai," but "Hindi-Chini Bye-Bye."
Francois Gautier, correspondent in South Asia for Le Figaro, France's largest circulated newspaper, will contribute a fortnightly column to rediff.com
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