Nehru was more inclined towards China, what was the mistake of the first PM regarding the dragon? This new book tells


Was the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru more enamored of China, due to which he could not make the right policy on the question of Tibet and the border? Were they confused? Or was the preparedness of Indian diplomats very poor, which led to border disputes and war with China? The book by Avtar Singh Bhasin and former Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, two Foreign Service officers, examines Indian policy towards China during that period.

According to a report in the Times of India, Bhasin’s new book ‘Nehru, Tibet and China’ describes through official documents how the policies towards China and Tibet before 1962 were made clumsily and naively. Regarding Nehru’s campaign to get China membership in the UNSC, Avtar Singh Bhasin said, “In the early years, India tried to please China to fulfill the objective of solidarity of Asia. So far no threat was felt from it. Nehru’s desire for China to replace Kuomintang China in the UN Security Council reflects his sense of objectivity, as Communist China gained control of the mainland and India recognized it.

In the United Nations, Nehru wanted to give China a place in the UNSC and on the other hand India was reluctant and did not make any preparations for the border talks with China. Bhasin says, “India for some reason felt that there would be no solution to the talks. Nehru had also said before the conversation with Chou that there is so much difference in the views of our two governments that there is little room for fruitful dialogue.

He further said, “A week before the start of the talks, he took the Prime Minister of Nepal into confidence and said that as far as I can see, there will be no agreement between India and China in talks with Chou En Lai next week. There will be no real approach to Clearly India’s callous attitude did not help. The border dispute continued with possible clashes.


Former Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale writes that Nehru accepted Chou En Lai’s proposal to convert the Indian Embassy in Lhasa into a consulate and did not consider its legal or political implications. He writes, “India went to the negotiations in an informal way and without adequate internal consultations. On the other hand, China’s strategy was systematic and pragmatic. He persuaded India to withdraw the army from Gyantse and Yadong.” He even goes on to say that India in 1953, ignoring the inputs from Lhasa that “China is studying the India-China border documents in Tibet”, had given up. A policy paper dated 3 December 1953 from the Prime Minister stipulated forever that the question of the boundary with Tibet would not be raised in the forthcoming India-China meetings, as it was an already resolved issue.

Bhasin writes that before the Geneva Conference that started in May 1954, India put more pressure on itself due to the eagerness of the agreement … The first consideration for this was not internal security but India’s international image. China dragged on talks to get more exemptions from India.

Regarding India’s remarks about China’s construction of a road in Aksai Chin in 1950, Bhasin writes, “If we look at Nehru’s attitude towards China at that time, he seems very oblivious to it. His comment on Defense Minister KN Katju on 28 July 1956 says everything. He said he was more concerned about the Naga crisis than China. In his view, China was a friend and he was not going to create any trouble.


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