Thursday, June 23, 2011
Nehru Stubbornness Caused 62 War By Shastri Ramachandaran Times of India Mumbai
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru shut the door to negotiations on the (India-China ) boundary on July 1,1954,according to a just-released book by A G Noorani based on archival research and hitherto unpublished material.And this Nehrus refusal to negotiate,and the 1960 rebuff to Zhou Enlai when he was visiting and appeared ready to settle the issue may well have sowed the seeds of the 1962 India-China war.The important and explicit directive,from Nehru,in a 17-para memorandum,cited by Noorani in his book,says: Both as flowing from our policy and as a consequence of our Agreement with China,this frontier should be considered a firm and definite one which is not open to discussion with anybody.There may be very minor points of discussion.Even these should not be raised by us. Noorani,an expert on legal and constitutional issues,writes in the book,India-China Boundary Problem.1846-1947 : History and Diplomacy,that India unilaterally revised its official map.The legend boundary undefined in the western (Kashmir) and middle sectors (Uttar Pradesh) in the official maps of 1948 and 1950 were dropped in the new map of 1954.A firm clear line was shown instead. Noorani says that Nehrus July 1,1954 directive was apparently in pursuance of a decision taken on March 24,1953 to formulate a new line for the boundary.It was a fateful decision.Old maps were burnt.One former foreign secretary told this writer how,as a junior official,he himself was obliged to participate in this fatuous exercise. It is speculated that the official was Ram Sathe,Indias last consul-general in Xinjiang and later Ambassador to China.The book,dedicated to Sathes memory,was released on December 16 at Vice President Hamid Ansaris houseduring Chinese Premier Wen Jiabaos visit.It mentions that new maps were printed showing Northern and North Eastern frontiers without any reference to any line.Nehru wanted these maps to be sent to embassies and introduced to the public and be used in schools.Describing as historically untrue every one of Nehrus statements in his letter to Chinese Premier Zhou En-lai on March 22,1959,Noorani states that as late as 1950,Indian maps showed the boundary as undefined.The unpublished archival material in Chapter 12,Aftermath,quotes extensively from the 17-page memo and says a divided Cabinet,an irresponsible opposition,an uninformed press and a restive Parliament,fed on bad history held Nehru hostage.