Out of my mind: Will it be war?

What happened then in the Fifties, and up to 1962 is well known. Despite the bravery of the Indian soldier who fought, though badly equipped, India was humiliated.

Written by Meghnad Desai | Updated: July 9, 2017 2:42 am
Indo-china, India china tensions, Narendra Modi Nehru, 1962 war, indian express, meghnad desai, express opinion There are echoes of a revival of the India-China conflict 55 years after its first occurrence.

The Prime Minister cemented relations with Israel, as much to signal a new vision of India’s global concerns as to secure defence technology. The old order favoured non-alignment, even a decade after the Cold War had ended. But there are echoes of a revival of the India-China conflict 55 years after its first occurrence. Few remember that at that time none of the members of the Non-Aligned movement came to India’s help. India rushed to America for help. Israel was the only near neighbour which assisted. Its reward was continued neglect by Congress governments, which went back to embrace their Non-Aligned friends.

A country cannot conduct its foreign policy on abstract principles and grandstand, lecturing other countries about morality. It has to first secure the borders and equip the nation against invasion or incursion by other countries. When it comes to Pakistan, India is over-committed. Even here there is just a long-run Cold War, with no end in sight.

But the real threat is China. It has not agreed to the borders which the British had determined a century and more ago. This was because China was weak in those days and the British strong. Jawaharlal Nehru took the view that the borders determined by the British were India’s historical borders. The Chinese had hoped that as a leading anti-Imperialist, he would see the justice in China’s complaints.

What happened then in the Fifties, and up to 1962 is well known. Despite the bravery of the Indian soldier who fought, though badly equipped, India was humiliated. Arun Jaitley warned China recently not to expect a repeat of those days. China’s rhetoric is worrying. India can defeat Pakistan any day any time, as it has shown in 1948,1965,1971 and 1999. But China is a different matter. A war with China will change the political situation fundamentally. This time around India has to succeed in repelling the Chinese incursion and do it convincingly.

What gives the matter urgency is North Korea’s recent launch of the ICBM. This is a provocative gesture. America has to respond. Here is another recent visit by the PM which will turn out to be crucial. Since Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s days, and even more during the UPA, the US-India relationship has been transformed. It is not only friendly but a strategic partnership, that means that in case of a generalised conflict breaking out with North Korea/China, the US will call on India for help. This will be a serious war if it ever happens.

China wishes to take its territory back, including Arunachal Pradesh. This is not something that can be wished away by talking of 5,000 years of cultural contact or Buddhism’s legacy. This is realpolitik. One can only hope it does not come to that. The North Korean problem is a tough one, but as far as possible a hot war has to be avoided. It is not clear as of now that this will be easy. China may help but it may find itself helpless against a Prince dictator whose survival depends on his militarism. Peace may be the desire of the world but not of Kim Jong-Un. The best bet is to hope for peace and be prepared for war.

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  1. W
    walk woo
    Jul 10, 2017 at 6:28 pm
    "China wishes to take its territory back, including Arunachal Pradesh.". So even a fool can see the fact is that India is taking these area illegally from China. India has to pay for this one day once China makes his mind to wipe off India from the earth and takes his territory back.
    1. J
      James Caan
      Jul 10, 2017 at 3:19 pm
      In 70 years India has not been able to solve Kashmir issue author is talking about North Korea. India will not survive as an en y if it opens a two front war with Pakistan China
      1. X
        Jul 10, 2017 at 12:36 pm
        i strongly oppose nuclear war.but when there is no option ,in a do or die situation i don't fear a nuclear war at all .go india nuke china, i am ready to die but make sure there is no china .these bullies must be taught a bitter lesson
        1. W
          Jul 10, 2017 at 1:25 pm
          Don't say like that please,you can't imagine how terrible it will be if China disappeared in the world .China and Chinese have no evil,have a good thinking guys.
        2. I
          Jul 10, 2017 at 6:35 am
          Did the author just say "China wishes to take its territory back, including Arunachal Pradesh. " in the last para - really - and Indian express allowed it ? - what just happened here - Is Indian express a Chinese mouthpiece ? - so much for journalism ? Mr Desai ?
          1. Y
            Jul 10, 2017 at 4:03 am
            A qustion: why did India not accept the Chinese propose of swaping Akin Chin with Arunachal Pradesh and settle the border issue before 1962 war? Pursuiting tibet a buffer zone was not realized. This will put this dispute as generations follow which is not good for both. In your article, Pursuiting acting as a pawn is also not good for our generations. Think a bit hard.
            1. Y
              Jul 10, 2017 at 3:45 am
              You are not right to history. At that time, the world was that Soviet Union vs NATO(US). Non-Aligned helped India in fact. The problem was that the Indian did not take much advantages. Of course, if Indian jions US, the first thing is that you should have a gift for the boss, what will you do for the boss? what will you get? This is big problems, acting as a pawn is nothing to Indian.
              1. -
                - Uma -
                Jul 10, 2017 at 2:58 am
                China has taken Tibet, taiwan, they're just accustomed to taking what they can. They bulldozed their own citizens in Tiananmen Square. I don't know why IE is trying to explain the rationale behind their way of thinking. They just take what they can. If they had any moral, logical or rational reasons, the Dalai Lama wouldn't be hiding out there. Even their own people have no say in the matter.
                1. R
                  Jul 10, 2017 at 12:25 am
                  Neheru was a apprentice prime minister. He knew how to drink in love, sleep in love, and eat in love. He was casual to fight a war. He let our soldiers as just go and die. He will go on spreading love. But if it would happend in America the president would had been kicked out of the country. Lucky charm!
                  1. M
                    Jul 10, 2017 at 12:50 am
                    The problem was not only Nehru. It was India's officialdom (babudom if you like) trained by the Brits to apply laws made by the Brits for the Brits. Colonial mentality. It didn't change much. Only they have no boss, they became the boss and have no more concern for ordinary Indians than the Brits did. Contrary to what officialdom wants people to believe, fortunately in 1962 China had no real capacity and benefited of many b ers from Indian side (no air cover for instance)
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