Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Light on India's Relations with Tibet: Weapons supplied to the Tibetans in the years after Independence in 1947

A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The Indian Government has always pretended to follow a "principled" policy towards Tibet. One the one hand it recognizes the fact that  Tibet is an integral part of China and on the other provided space for the Dalai Lama to indulge his fancy for high decibel diplomacy and publicity and China rightly objects to this dual policy. Based on perfidy and exercised through duplicity   this policy has stood in the way of realizing the full potential of Indo-Chinese relations. The two form the very heart of Asian civilizations and there is at least 2,550 years of peaceful history behind the civilizational ties between India and China. Unfortunately, successive Congress regimes have built their foreign policy on instinctive hostility toward China, rather than exploring the threads that bind these two giant neighbors together. And in following this policy, the Government of India starting with the first Prime Minister, Jawarhar Lal Nehru were essentially following the colonial policy enunciated by the British Government in order to keep China under constant threat. The greatest failure of Nehru lies in his wooden headed pursuit of an aggressive China policy without taking into consideration the alternatives. Today as we survey the landscape, we find China standing at the very doorstep of economic powerhouse and India is facing a bleak future because of the inherent stasis created by a corrupt political class and corruption.

Documents recently discovered in the National Archives of India clearly prove that in the 1940;s even as the country was facing the massive onslaught of the Japanese Empire, the then British Government was instrumental in supplying arms and ammunition to the Dalai Lama and his followers in China.The 11 year old "Dalai  Lama" neither had the wit nor the education to understand what the English secret services were up to and after Independence Jawahar Lal Nehru continued the same policy while publicly proclaiming the homilies of "panch sheel". The Revolutionary Government of China obviously saw through this grand pantomime. Therefore the prime responsibility for the border conflict in 1962 rests with the Government of India and its misguided policies and perspectives.

The Political Officer looking after Tibet and Sikkhim in the waning years of the Raj, Mr A J Hopkinson put up a note to his superiors asking for funds to equip a brigade level force in Tibetr with 2 and 3 inch mortars, sten guns, machinme guns and Bren machine pistols. The Memorandum of MAY 29, 1947 WHICH IS FOUND IN THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF iNDIA (FRONTLINE AUGUST 23, 2013) contains a reproduction of this important document. The officials were certain that this policy of sending arms will be vigourously contested by the Chinese Government and even Chiak Kai Shek did not acquiesce in this wrong and anti Chinese policy.The programme of arming the "peace loving" monks of Tibet began soon after the Francis Younghusband expedition to Tibet and picked up momentum after the Revolution of 1911.

Even after Independence when the departure of the British should have induced fresh thinking, the policy of arming the Tibetans continued. In October 1947, Sam Manekshaw, then a Lt Col. approved the transfer of weapons and 1,484,000 rounds of aminutions to Tibet. it is likely that Britain wanted a foothold in Tibet in order to exert pressure on China both with regards to Kowloon and Hong Kong.

Independent Indfa did not have any such strategic objective and why was Jawarlal Nehru so utterly foolish and shortsighted.

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