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Mainstream, VOL L No 48, November 17, 2012

Rally behind Nehru

Wednesday 21 November 2012, by S G Sardesai

The India-China border question has reached the point of open armed conflict. The entire Chinese operation in the NEFA, started in September, was a premeditated affair, surpassing all that they had done in Ladakh in the past.

Why should the armed conflict in Ladakh have reached the NEFA region at all? The protest note submitted by the Chinese Government to India on October 10 gives the following explanation of this development: “….it (India) is determined to realise by armed attacks its ambition of continuously biting off Chinese territory and fully reveals the real policy of the Indian Government—invasion under the cover of a false willingness to negotiate and provocation under the false desire to ease tension.”

This explanation is an illustration of how everything looks yellow to the jaundiced eye. Plenty of evidence spread over the last two years and more is available to prove that the Chinese Government has worked itself up into accepting many perverted ideas about the foreign policy of India, including its China policy. These ideas have become hardened and deep-rooted. The late General Secretary of our Party, Sri Ajoy Kumar Ghosh, and Mr Khrushchev, the First Secretary of the CPSU and Prime Minister of the Soviet Union, publicly brought this fact to the notice of the rulers of China. This was done with the best of intentions and in the mildest possible language. Instead of learning from such criticism, the Chinese rulers fired a broadside against Sri Ghosh together with Pandit Nehru. This fact, too, is known all over the world.

Lame and Hollow

The detailed replies given by the Government of India have pointed out how lame and hollow is the so-called evidence adduced by China to show that India has transgressed the McMahon Line. Simultaneously India has given clear-cut evidence to prove that it is the Chinese soldiers who have intruded into Indian territory by crossing the McMahon Line.

Some asked even a few days ago whether we have personally visited the spots where armed clashes have taken place to convince ourselves of the Chinese guilt. But where is the country in the world where individuals or representative delegations of political parties visit or can visit such spots? It is childish to ask such a question.

But we can ascertain truth and untruth on the strength of certain basic realities even if we may be sitting in far-off places such as Bombay, Calcutta, Delhi or Madras.

Pressure Tactics

Whether from a political or military point of view, India has absolutely no interest in extending the armed conflict from Ladakh to NEFA. On the contrary, such a development is clearly against Indian interest. It is not possible for India to secure any territory beyond the McMahon Line. It has never expressed the slightest desire to secure any such territory.

Under the circumstances, the Chinese rulers alone can be capable of believing that the Nehru Government would commit the suicidal folly of extending the military conflict in Ladakh to NEFA. No impartial third party outside China would believe such a charge. On the contrary, China has always claimed NEFA as its territory, and has never accepted the McMahon Line. The Chinese authorities can definitely think that by increasing armed pressure in NEFA they can bring more political pressure on India in respect of their claims in Ladakh. Such is the conclusion which a third party will draw.

Incidents of armed conflict have been taking place all these days between India and Pakistan also. The situation on the Indo-Pakistan border is delicate. The government is finding it difficult to carry the burden of the Third Five-Year Plan. Anyone who imagines that the Government of India will invite a new calamity on the NEFA border under such circumstances has to be considered as one whom Brahma himself will not be able to convince.

To make matters worse, the Foreign Minister of China, Chen Yi, has recently assured Nepal that in case any country invades it, China will give it military protection. This, indeed, is the limit. Firstly, it means that if someone in India shows sympathy for the democratic struggle in Nepal against the Ranashahi it is “aggression”! And secondly, if China gives military aid to the Ranashahi against the democratic movement, it is “protection” of Nepal. Clearly, everything is topsy-turvy in the eyes of the Chinese rulers.

However ridiculous all such arguments may be, the fact remains that the Chinese positions are a threat and danger to India. Naturally it follows that all progressive people in India, including the toiling people, will give full support to Prime Minister Nehru’s call to the Indian Army to drive out the Chinese from the NEFA region. The call is fully justified and proper.

Nehru’s Policy

It is a question worth serious consideration whether the India-China border conflict can or should be solved by military action alone. Sri Nehru’s understanding and policy are correct on this point as well. Keeping aside the question of possibility, it is the policy of Sri Nehru to make all possible efforts for negotiation in the interest of India as also of Afro-Asian unity. Sri Nehru has not abandoned that policy. But his position is that negotiations are not carried on by two sides pointing the bayonet at each other. It is necessary for both sides to take certain steps for carrying on fruitful negotiations. It is necessary to create a certain atmosphere. Sri Nehru has made proposals with such an end in view. The Chinese rulers have to consider these proposals with cool heads. Meeting only to abuse each other is not negotiation.

The Prime Minister has appealed to the nation to face the situation with courage and determi-nation and not to give way to panic. He has reiterated with boldness that his government will not abandon the policy of non-alignment and also that it will not seek military aid. Mr Krishna Menon was right in emphasising that no nation which, at the first sign of trouble, looked up to somebody else, could defend itself.

The Indian people will thus deal with the Chinese aggression as it deserves, but they will not mortgage their mother country to the imperialists in the name of national defence. For such mortgaging will itself amount to bartering away our very independence, which we are at the moment engaged in defending against Chinese armed aggression.

Sri Menon further said that the movement for economic regeneration, with the aim of achieving a socialist society, was more urgent than ever. The concentration of wealth in a few hands should not be looked upon with respect but as a social evil. He ended by saying: “If this is crypto-communism, you can have it.”

This was a stern warning to the profiteers and black-marketers who would try to fill their pockets by raising prices, taking advantage of the India-China conflict. The Prime Minister has rightly warned the nation against such anti-social elements. Naturally the efforts of the government alone will not suffice to give effect to the warning. The working class, the peasantry, all other sections of the people have to gird up their loins and intervene in the situation as may be demanded from time to time.

The coming period is a testing period. It is going to be a time of great ordeal for all the freedom-loving, democratic and anti-imperialist people of India. Let us all resolve to stand that ordeal with courage and determination.

The author was a noted CPI leader who spoke out unequivocally against the Chinese aggression in 1962 and upheld the progressive essence of Nehru’s policies.

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