The Treaty of Amritsar, between the East India Company and the Dogra ruler, Raja Gulab Singh on 16 March 1846 was a watershed, for it not only created the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir under the suzerainty of the British Indian Empire, it also virtually defined the southern, eastern and western boundaries of a new political creation that elevated the Dogras into being the key players controlling northern India.
Given the nature of the terrain, the Indo-Tibet boundary was always going to be a problem. Apart from its vastness—extending from the Karakorams in the west to the area beyond the Lohit River in the east—the actual demarcation could never be done.
It is time we reminded ourselves of the prophetic words of Sardar Patel and Sri Aurobindo as we face renewed threats across the Himalayas. It is true the situation today is different from the one in 1950 or 60s. And yet the validity of the lesson remains: the firmness with which both spoke regarding national security has not lost its relevance.
But for the 1962 India-China war, there would have been unbridled propensity to couch criminalization as political revolution. Even now, communists use all their leverages in India and abroad to dub their criminal and anti-national activities as ‘revolution’. The Indian romance about the ‘Red Flag’ at the cost of all other flags of productivity and progress though waning, is far from over.
It is intriguing that the ‘intrusion’ factor went up only when the economic component of the relationship between the two countries gained ascendancy. The change in global pattern of arms market has also contributed to the ‘intrusion’ factor. It may be mentioned that since 2011, India has replaced China as the largest arms importer. As the arms industry has been shifting its principal market focus on India so has been the corresponding increase in the ‘threat from China lobby’.
A section of the confidential Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report, which has been lying with the Defence Ministry for over 50 years now, has now been put online by Australian journalist Neville Maxwell. The report was a result of the government inquiry into the humiliating defeat at the hands of China in the 1962 border war. You can read the report here.
"In these circumstances, one thing, to my mind, is quite clear; and, that is, that we cannot be friendly with China and must think in terms of defense against a determined, calculating, unscrupulous, ruthless, unprincipled and prejudiced combination of powers, of which the Chinese will be the spearhead."
"There might be from them outward offers or protestations of friendship, but in that will be concealed an ultimate hideous design of ideological and even political conquest into their bloc. It is equally obvious to me that any friendly or appeasing approaches from us would either be mistaken for weakness or would be exploited in furtherance of their ultimate aim," the letter states.
The defeat in the 1962 India-China war made then PM Jawaharlal Nehru realise that there is indeed no place for weak nations in world politics.
The involvement of inimical powers, organizations and agencies is more often than not implicit in such incidents. The place of the incident, Nyoma, has the recently constructed strategic airfield.