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Home > India > News > Report

Advani blames 'weak' Nehru for Tibet crisis

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | March 25, 2008 15:04 IST

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Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani has blamed Jawaharlal Nehru for adopting a "weak stance" on the Chinese occupation of Tibet [Images] in the 1950s. According to Advani, the former prime minister failed to muster enough support from the international community on this issue.

In a chapter titled 'Dealing with Kashmir issue' in his much publicised book My Country My Life, he also accuses the then Congress government of illegally handing over the Aksai Chin territory to China.
'India had earlier claimed that Aksai Chin, a plateau in Ladakh, was part of Jammu and Kashmir [Images],' Advani recalls.

'The most damaging of all factors, however, was the Nehru government's failure to focus on India's diplomatic efforts, while simultaneously strengthening its military capabilities, to deftly resolve the boundary 'issue' with China. I have deliberately used the word 'issue' and not 'dispute' because in the early 1950s, it had not yet becoming a raging row between the two great Asian neighbours,' Advani writes.

He writes in detail about China's refusal to accept the MacMohan Line, particularly after Mao Zedong became the leader of the Communist nation.
The author points out that Tibet was considered an independent country in 1914, when the British foreign secretary Arthur Henry MacMohan had finalised the borders between the two countries, at the Shimla conference in 1914.
In his footnotes, Advani quotes Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel extensively and claims that in a letter dated November 7, 1950, the Iron Man of India had warned Nehru about China's true intentions.
In his letter, Patel told Nehru that though the latter continued to consider China as a friendly neighbour, the feeling was not mutual as the Chinese believed that 'whoever was not with them was against them'.

Advani claimed that relations between the two countries normalised during the tenure of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.

'The credit for evolving this sound and conceptual framework for normalising and strengthening the bilateral relations between the two great countries goes principally to two great leaders: Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the Indian side and Deng Xiaoping on the Chinese side. Vajpayee and Deng discussed a package solution to the border problem, with both countries making some concessions. I believe that it remains the best way to go forward,' writes Advani.
However, Advani admits that Rajiv Gandhi's trip to China in December 1988 had laid the foundation for bilateral relations between the two nations, and Vajpayee had carried that forward.

Advani adds that he had urged Chinese Prime Minister Hu Jintao, during the latter's India visit, to create suitable conditions for spiritual leader Dalai Lama's [Images] visit to Tibet before the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images] in August.