Kashmir: The Storm center of the World
Table of Contents
   Index
   About the Author
   Foreword
   Abode of Kashyap
   The Making of J&K
   Hundred Years of Dogra Rule
   Quit Kashmir Movement
   Hari Singh's Dilemma
   Accession to India
   First Indo-Pak War
   Bungling at U.N.
   Kashmir Divided
   The Dixon Proposals
   Shadow of Cold War
   The Chinese Factor
   Indo-Pak War of 1965
   Indo-Pak War of 1971
   The Great Betrayal
   Back to Square One
   War by Proxy
   The Way Out
   Appendix
   Book in pdf format  
   Official Site  

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

Matrimonial

 
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Chapter 12

The Chinese Factor

The Chinese interest in Jammu & Kashmir State territories swelled directly from her expansion and absorption of the Central Asian Khanates and Tibet, lying to the North and North-East of Jammu Kashmir State, in the Chinese Empire. This expansion had been going on for centuries past through the peculiar Chinese method of creating the myth of Chinese suzerainty over all the smaller States situated on China's periphery which had the misfortune of entering into any kind of relationship, voluntarily or involuntarily, with the Chinese imperial Court at Peking. The Khanates of Tashkand and Yarkand, which were at one time flourishing outposts of India's Cultural Empire as is evident from the Sanskrit origin of these names, are inhabited by Uighur. The Kirghiz, Tartar, Tajik and Kazakh tribes of nomadic herdsmen of Turkish origin had been converted to Islam in the wake of Arab and Turkish expansion. Ethnically they represent a mixture of Indo-Aryan and Mongol stocks. They had come under pressure of Czarist Russia which began to move fast in Central Asia after her failure to expand south because of her defeat in the Crimean War of 1854. To checkmate Russian plans of expansion and keep this area within their own sphere of influence for the protection of their imperial interests in India, the British deliberately encouraged China, which was then too weak and decrepit to pose a threat to British interests, to assert its suzerainty over these Khanates to prevent their absorption by Russia. Thus began that rivalry between Russia and China for controlling Mongolia and Central Asian Khanates which has continued ever since. The Chinese in keeping with their well known method of signification re-Christened the area controlled by them as Sinkiang.

The situation in Sinkiang remained precarious for China so long as she was weak and divided. But with the establishment of a communist regime in China in 1949, the Chinese Communists extended their effective ways over Sinkiang through ruthless repression. This resulted in a lot of local discontent and violent outbursts such as that of the Kazakhs in 1949. But, Communist China consolidated her position in Sinkiang by the early fifties. The Indian and British Consulates in this area urere closed and a bamboo curtain was put between it and the rest of the world. As a result the traditional trade between India and Yarkand and Kashghar of which Leh was the main centre virtually came to an end.

The story of Sinkiang was repeated in Tibet soon after. Unlike the small and warring Khanates of Central Asia, now divided between Russian Turkestan and Chinese Turkestan (Sinkiang), Tibet had been for at least two thousand years an independent State with a dist inct personality and definite international boundaries, though its cultural influence extended far beyond them. With the establishrnent of the Manchu dynasty in China in the 17th Century, informal relationship between China and Tibet based on a personal relationship of a religious preceptor and a lay patron between the Dalai Lama and the Manchu emperor began. Later, the Chinese Government tried to derive some kind of a Chinese supremacy over Tibet from this relationship which the successive Tibetan Government went on repudiadting and resisting to the best of their capacity and strength.

Early in the 20th century Czarist Russia sought to gain some influence at Lhasa through Dorjief, a Mongolian Buddhist priest. To counteract the suspected Russian influence, the British forced their way into Tibet in l903 through a Military Mission led by Colonel Younghusband. The Lhasa Convention of 1904 gave the British a special position in Tibet in respect of trade and other matters. But to protect themselves against the Russian charge of aggression and to keep Russian influence, which was what really mattered for the British at that time out of Tibet, the British in a way resurrected the myth of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet which in the words of Younghusband himself was just a "farce" and "a political affectation".

Even this farce of Chinese suzerainty was destroyed in 1911 when the Manchu regime was overthrown by Dr. Sun Yat Sen's revolutionary movement. The Tripartite Simla Conference of 1913-14 in which the representatives of China, Tibet and British Government of India met on equal footing to settle Tibet-China frontier finally buried the myth of Chinese suzerainty over Tibet which then began to function as a full, independent State according to known international usage and practice.

With the withdrawal of the British from India in August 1947 all treaty obligations and commitments of the British Indian Government in respect of Indials neighbors devolved upon the Governmnt of free India. Sinkiang and Tibet flanked India in the North from the Pamirs to Burma. Pakistan nowhere came in contact with either Sinkiang or Tibet. The interests of free India demanded that Chinese influence was kept out of these strategic border States as far as possible. Sinkiang was then in a ferment. But it is difficult to say what effective help India could have extended to Nationalist Kazakhs and Uighurs in their battle for freedom against Communist China.

The situation in regard to Tibet was different. India which had inherited special rights and obligations in Tlbet was expected both on moral grounds as well as in the interests of her national security to help Tibet to preserve her freedom so that she might continue to be a buffer between India and China. She could have achieved this end by helping Tibet to secure membership on U.N.O. or by securing guarantee of non-interference in Tibet from the Communist Government of China before she gave recognition to it in 1949.

But Pt. Nehru, the sole architect of India's foreign policy, would not allow such mundane considerations to influence his policy towards his new found friends of Communist China. Like the proverbial fools who rush in where the angels fear to tread, the great Pandit of India not only failed to get any assurance from Communist China in 1949 but, what is worse, did nothing to prevent her from committing flagrant aggression against a weak and peace loving Tibet in 1950. The argument that India was not in a position to halt Chinese aggression in Tibet in 1950 is fallacious and misleading. India with her three military posts within Tibet and with the support of the free world could have surely and effectively checkmated the Communist Chinese designs over Tibet at that time. Any sacrifices in men and material that India might have been required to make to save Tibet then would have been much less than the sacrifices she has made and will be required to make in future for shirking her responsibility in 1950.

Pt. Nehru's bungling in regard to Tibet like his bunglings in Kashmir did not end there. After having made a gift of Tibet to China with all the destruction of monasteries and genocide that followed it in the name of peace, he started such a campaign of Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai-ism that any objective assessment of Chinese aims in occupying Tibet, its fast signification through settlement of large number of Chinese there and building of large military cantonments all along the Indian frontier began to be pooh-poohed by the Indian Press and Political elite. Nehru Chou fraternization culminated in the so-called "Panch-Sheel" Treaty of 1954 between India and China regarding Tibet; "Panch Sheel" literally meant five norms of good conduct, viz. mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non- aggression, mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit and peace ful co-existence.

By this Treaty India gave de jure recognition to a de facto aggressive occupation of Tibet by Communist China and also surrendered all the special rights including that of running Tibet's postal, telegraph and telephone services and stationing troops at a number of places within Tibet inherited by her from the British Government of India. It was a great diplomatic victory for China and an unpardonable blunder on the part of the Indian Government. At one stroke it converted the Indo- Tibetan frontier into an India-China frontier. While signing this death warrant for Tibet and invitation to Comrnunist China to explore fresh fields for expansion across the Himalayas, the Indian Prirne Minister failed to get even an unequivocal acceptance from China of the age-old Indo-Tibet frontier the Eastern sector of which had come to be known as the McMahon Line after the British officer who first surveyed it.

The story of Chinese aggression against India begins with the signing of this Treaty which was aptly described in the Indian Parliament by Late Acharaya J.B. Kripalani, a former President of the ruling Congress Party, as "born in sin". The Treaty was signed on April 29, 1954 and the Chinese forces crossed over into Bara Hoti early in June of the same year.

Having thus made her position secure in Tibet which was described by Mao 'Tse-Tung in 1939 as the palm of a hand of which Laddakh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, were five fingers, Communist China began to prepare for controling these fingers. To that end it built military and air bases in Tibet and developed communications for supplying the large forces deployed there with sinews of life and war. Tibet itself being mostly barren and unproductive, the supplies could come either from the Chinese mainland in the North and the East or from Sinkiang in the North-West of Tibet. Western Tibet bordering on Laddakh being far removed from Lhasa which itself is at a long distance from the Chinese mainland, a direct road link between Western Tibet and Sinkiang became a strategic necessity for China.

Having decided to build the road, the Chinese found that the shortest and easiest route lay through the Aksai Chin region of Laddakh, an integral part of India with which she had not long ago signed the Panch-Sheel Treaty. She began with cartographic aggression. The Chinese maps showed large parts of Laddakh including Aksai Chin and a narrow belt of territory along the Baltistan and Gilgit border with Sinkiang as Chinese Territory.

The internal situation in Jammu & Kashmir State and the attitude of the Government of India suited China's purpose admirably. During the Maharaja's rule an effective administrative control had been extended to the remotest parts of Laddakh, Baltistan and Gilgit. The Laddakh-Tibet border settled by tradition and usage of centuries had been confirmed by the Treaty of 1842 between Maharaja Gulab Singh and the Government of Dalai Lama. The State officials who were deputed for the frontier duty were required to go right up to the border at least once in their three year term. As a result there was no scope for confusion or uncertainty about the frontier.

But ever since power was transferred to the Kashmiri dominated National Conference, administration of Laddakh and other outlying parts of the State outside the Kashmir valley began to be neglected. The new officials who were appointed more for their political affiliations than for adminstrative aptitudes, seldom moved out of Leh. The Government of India too did not bother itself to take adequate steps to guard or patrol the border. The intoxication of Bhai-Bhai-ism had gone so deep into its head that it could not even think of any aggression from China. Kushak Bakula, the Head Lama of Laddakh and then Minister for Laddakh Affairs in the Jammu & Kashmir Government, informed the State Assembly on March 1, 1963 that he, had warned the Governments of Kashmir and India about the Chinese plans of aggression after his visit to lake Mansarowar and Lhasa in 1954. Similar warnings had come from other quarters as well. But nothing perceptible was done either by the State Government or the Government of India to draw the People's attention to the Chinese threat or to checkmate it. Maybe the Communists within the Kashmir Cabinet were privy to the Chinese game. As a result the Chinese were able to follow up their cartographic aggression by actual aggression. They built the road linking Sinkiang with Gartok in Western Tibet right through Aksai Chin and aiso occupied a number of strategic outposts.

In the meantime, Pakistan too had started hobnobbing with Communist China. Apart from a direct link with Sinkiang provided to her by the occupied territory of Gilgit and Baltistan, she thought it worthwhile to offer the bait of Laddakh to China if the latter in return could help her to get Kashmir Valley or at least remain neutral in the dispute over it. Her desire for such an understanding with Communist China had been heightened since the open and public communist Russian support to India during the visit of Russian leaders to India in 1955. No wonder, therefore, that it was reported in a number of Indian and foreign newspapers in 1956 that Mr. S.H. Suhrawardy, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, had during his visit to Peking suggested to his Chinese counterpart, that such a partition of Jammu ashmir State would give Kashmir Valley to Pakistan, Lacdakh to China and Jammu to India.

Whatever may have actually transpired between Suhrawardy and Chou-en-Lai, the course of events as they have unfolded themselves since then have conclusively proved that China had become actively interested in the disintegration of the Jammu and Kashmir State so that she also might share the spoils with Pakistan.

The reports about Chinese intrusion into Indian territory began to pour in through unofficial sources after that. But until as late as July 1958, the Government of India in a 'Note verbale' to the Chinese counsellor in Indian had the temerity to say that "they would not like to believe that unilateral action has been taken by the Government of People's Republic of China with whom their relations are of the friendliest, to enforce alleged territorial claims in the region."

The Government of India woke up to the Chinese hostile intentions and aggressive occupation of Indian territory in Laddakh only when the Chinese arrested an Indian patrol party on normal routine duty in the northern part of Aksai Chin and detained and ill-treated it for five weeks in September 1958.

The protest notes sent by the Indian Foreign Secretary to the Chinese counterpart on Octot.er 18 and November 3 were countered by China with the assertion that Aksai Chin area belonged to China and that Indian soldiers had intruded into Chinese territory.

China followed up the occupation of Aksai Chin by aggressive patrollings and encroachments into the region of Western Pangong lake in Laddakh where she arrested six Indian policemen and also established a camp at Spanggur in inspite of repeated Indian protests.

On October 20, 1959 a Chinese military force advanced forty miles into Indian territory in the Chang C hempo valley of southern Laddakh and opened fire on an Indian patrol near the Kong-Ka-Pass in which nine Indian Police man were killed and ten others were taken prisoners and subjected to very harsh and inhuman treatment.

This created an explosive situation. Press and public opinion in India reacted to this outrage by the Chinese very sharply. It forced the Indian Prime Minister, Pt. Nehru, who had been systematically trying to minimize the gravity of the situation by first concealing the fact of Chinese intrusions from the Indian public and Parliament and then belittling the importance of the territory occupied by China by describing it as barren and desolate "where not a blade of grass grows", to pay heed to the popular sentiment. He made a belated effort in his letter of November 18, 1959 to persuade his friend, Chou-en-Lai to ease the situation by withdrawing as an interim measure, the Chinese troops beyond the traditional boundary alignment shown on Indian maps while he on his part undertook to withdraw Indian troops to the line which China claimed as her boundary. This offer amounted to a clear surrender to the aggressor in so far as her claim that Laddakh-Tibet boundary was undefined was accepted and a 'no man's land' was sought to be created on the Indian soil itself.

But even this offer was rejected by Chou-en-Lai who in his reply of December 16, 1959 to Pt. Nehru, bluntly asserted: "This area has long been under Chinese jurisdiction and is of great importance to China. Since the Ching dynasty, this area has been the traffic artery linking up the vast regions of Sinkiang and Western Tibet. As far back as the latter half of 1950, it was along the traditional route in this area that units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army entered the Ari area of Tibet from Sinkiang to guard the frontiers. In the nine years since then, they have been making regular and busy use of this route to bring supplies. For up to eight or nine years since the peaceful liberation of Sinkiang and Iibet when the units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army began to be stationed in and patrol this area until September 1958 when intrusion of the area by the armed Indian personnel occurred, so many activities were carried out by the Chinese side in this area under its jurisdiction and yet the Indian side was utterly unaware of them."

Mr. Chou-en-Lai's visit to New Delhi and his direct talks with Pt. Nehru in April, 1960, failed to improve matters. Both Premiers, however, agreed to appoint teams of officials to jointly examine all relevant documents in support of the stands of the two Governments and submit a report within six months. The Government of India published the report of the officials of the two sides in February 1960. The report made it clear on the basis of vast and indisputable evidence that the traditional boundary between lndia and Tibet was that shown by India and that China had made unwarrantec claim to about 50,000 sq. miles of Indian territory and was in unlawful occupation of about 12,000 sq. miles of this territory in Laddakh.

The GoYernment of China for long did not even acknowledge the existence of the report. Finally in May 1962, they published a garbled and truncated version of the Chinese section of this report. Simultaneously, Chinese intrusions into various sectors of the Indian frontier were stepped up. New check-posts and roads to link them with rear bases were constructed and the Chinese troops began advance partolling from the posts.

As time passed, the Chinese action and the tone of their replies to Indian protest notes, which were sent in abundance, became more and more curt and threatening. On April 30, 1962, the Government of China announced that they had ordered patrolling in the whole sector from the Karakoram Pass to the Kong-Ka-Pass and demanded that India withdraw two of her posts which were situated well within the Indian territory and threatened that if the Government of India failed to comply with the demands, the Government of China would resume patrolling along the entire boundary.

While Indo-Chinese relations were thus getting strained to a breaking point, Pakistan also stepped up its anti- Indian campaign. The main reason for this was the growing internal discontent against the Martial Law regime in Pakistan particularly in its Eastern wing, and the consequent weakening of the position of General Ayub. He too, therefore, thought it convenient to divert his people's attention from internal difficulties by whipping up their frenzy about Kashmir by jingoistic talk and adoption of new pressure tactics. They included strengthening of the so-called Azad Kashmir Government, which began to claim an independent status and started hurling threats of armed invasion of Kashmir unshackled by the international commitments of Pakistan and launching of a virulent campaign against India and the USA in the Pakistan press. The USA was made a special target of attack for her continued economic aid to India which was getting aid from the USSR as well.

At the same time, possibilities of closer relations with com munist China whose anti-India tirade was finding quite a sympathetic echo in Pakistan's press, began to be explored so that India could be harrassed on both fronts. The possibility of such an eventuality had been hinted by the Chinese Ambassador. In India in his note of May 16, 1959 to the Foreign Secretary of India in which he had said that it would not be possible for India to fight on two fronts - China and Pakistan - and therefore she must make up with C.hina. In the background of earlier Sino- Pak confabulations this veiled hint could not have gone unnoticed in Pakistan.

The process of Pakistan and China drawing nearer to each other that thus began culminated in the announcement of May 31, 1962, about the agreement between the two Governments to enter into negotiations to locate and align the border between Sinkiang on the one hand and Baltistan and Gilgit regions of Jammu & Kashmir State which had been illegally occupied by Pakistan, on the other. This was a clear indication that China and Pakistan were getting together to achieve their respective territorial ambition at the cost of India.

The Indian policy makers who, in spite of the pronounced hostility and naked agression of Communist China, were still not prepared to concede that their policy toward China had failed, were flabbergasted by this volte face of China. As in the case of the McMahon Line, they had been banking on the verbal assurance of Chou-en-Lai to the Indian Ambassador in Peking in 1956 and to R.K. Nehru, the Secretary General of the Indian External Affairs Ministry in 1961 that China considered Kashmir to be a part of India. But they ignored the fact that Communist China unlike Communist Russia had never publicly supported India's stand regarding Kashmir. They were in fact living in a fool's paradise which was completely shattered by the Chinese Foreign Minister in his note to India dated May 31, 1962 which bluntly asked: "can you cite any document to show that we have ever said that Kashmir is a part of India"? lt was a major victory for Pakistan. She had got the reward for hobnobbing with Communist China over the head of the USA which had been arming her on the understanding and in the hope that she would stand up against Communist Chinese and Russian expansion whenever required.

Pakistan's attitude toward India and China when the mass invasion of Communist China both in Laddakh and NEFA sectors of India's northern frontier began on September 8, 1962, could therefore be well anticipated. Pakistan's press systematically justified the Chinese stand and ridiculed India. Pakistan in fact was the only country of the non-Communist world which openly supported China and in that it went a step further than Albania, North Vietnam and North Korea. The attitude and conduct of the Muslims in Tezpur and elsewhere in the affected regions of India clearly pointed to a tacit understanding between China and Pakistan regarding the invasion and the attitude to be adopted by the Pro- Pakistan Muslims of India about it.

As the Chinese offensive mounted and India's unpreparedness became woefully exposed, the government of India was forced to request the USA, the UK and other friendly countries for help to meet the Communist advance. Realizing the magnitude of the threat and its dangerous implications for the entire free world, the USA and the UK responded magnificently. Pakistan too should have come to the help of India both because the Chinese Comrnunist expansion was as much a threat to her as to India and also because she had been given arms aid by the USA on the specific understanding that she would use it against Communist expansion and aggression whether it came from the USSR or from China. But Pal;istan not only did not make any friendly gesture to India but what was worse, she vehemently protested to the USA and the UK for having extended military aid to India.

This attitude of Pakistan must have come as a shock and an eye-opener to the USA. It only confirmed the Indian view that Pakistan had obtained military aid from the USA only for use against India and not for assisting the free world in containing Communist expansion.

By behaving as she did, Pakistan lost an excellent opportunity of reversing the trend of Indo-Pak relations since 1947. Had Pakistan openly and unreservedly come to the aid of India in her time of need, there might have been created the necessary fund of goodwill and proper atmosphere for the settlement of all Indo-Pak disputes including the one regarding Kashmir in a friendly spirit of give and take. But in view of later developments, there are reasons to believe that Pakistan stood committed to China not to go to India's help and that some secret deal about the distribution of Assam territory had been arrived at between the two before China started the invasion. That explains the refusal of Muslims in Assam to evacuate Tezpur when evacuation of its civil population was ordered by the authorities.

It also explains the assertion that there was an agreement between China and Pakistan that the territory to the north of the Brahmaputra would be annexed by China and that lying to its south would be annexed by Pakistan. The fact that most of the Communist workers who were active in Assam also happened to be ex-Muslim Leaguers well known for their pro-Pakistan activities, lent further support to this assumption.

The position of the USA in this situation was really difficult. She had armed Pakistan to the teeth at a huge cost. Now she was rushing pressing military supplies to India. Her aim in both cases was to checkmate Communist expansion. How could her public opinion reconcile to the fact that the aid she had already given to Pakistan was nct being used for the purpose for which it had been given and that there was possibility of the arms supplied by the USA to Pakistan and India being used against each other instead of being used against Communist China. It therefore became an obsession with the American governrnent to bring India and Pakistan together somehow so that India may at least be able to shift a part of its forces deployed for defense against Pakistan for fighting against China. The British Government also shared this viewpoint which began to influence the Indian opinion as well.

Therefore, while the Chinese were fast advancing into Arunachal and Laddakh, the American and British political and military missions led by Mr. Averell Harriman, US Assistant Secretary of State, and Mr. Duncan Sandys, British Commonwealth Secretary, who had specially come to India to assess the situation and the aid needed by India immediately prevailed upon Pt. Nehru and President Ayub to affix their signatures to a joint com munique which was issued simultaneously in New Delhi and Rawalpindi on November 30, 1962. The Communique said:

"The President of Pakistan and the Prime Minister of India have agreed that a renewed effolt should be made to resolve the outstanding differences between their two countries on Kashmir and other re1ated matters so as to enable India and Pakistan to live side by side in peace and friendship.

In consequence they have decided to start discussions at an early date with the object of reaching an honorable and equitable settlement.

These will be conducted initially at the ministerial level. At the appropriate stage direct talks will be held between Mr. Nehru and President Ayub."

This agreement to have direct talks between Pakistan flnd India on ministerial level to discuss Indo-Pak disputes particularly the one regarding Kashmir, placed India in an awkward situation. In effect it amounted to India agreeing to let Pakistan retain her fruits of aggression and have something more in the bargain. The circumstanees leading to the agreement and the time chosen for talks made their success doubtful even before they began. They could lead to the desired result only if there was equal realization on both sides of the gravity of the situation and indivisibility of Indo-Pak defence against a threat like the one posed by Communist China. But there was no evidence that there was any such realization in Pakistan. Leading newspapers of Pakistan continued their tirade and denuciation of the USA for coming to the rescue of India. They acclaimed China as a friend and openly declared that there was no question of Pakistan going to the help of India against China even af ter getting Kashmir which they insisted must be handed over to Pakistan immediately.

On the other hand Pt. Nehru, even though he had signed the joint communique under the stress of circumstances, had his own reservations and doubts which were betrayec in the several statements he made before and after the signing of the communique. Apart from his personal attachment to Kashmir, the fear of national reaction to any further surrender to Pakistan and the pressure of his Communist and pro-Communist friends inside and outside the Government, who were interested in sabotaging the Western aid and maintaining the pro- Russian bias of India's foreign policy in the name of non- alignment, kept him wavering about the advisability of holding any talks and the limit to which India could go once such talks got going.

The prospects of the success of the talks were further dimmed by the unilateral cease-fire ordered by the Chinese Government on November 21, 1962. The motives of the Chinese in ordering a cease-fire in their hour of victory will remain a matter of conjecture. But surely one of them was to sabotage the possibility of closer collaboration between India and the West. They also wanted to save the Communist Party, their political vanguard in India, and also its friends and patrons inside the Indian Government from isolation and annihilation.

While China was keen to prevent an understanding between India and Pakistan for her own reasons, the ruling circles of Pakistan were keen to take advantage of the situation and put maximurn pressure on India and the USA to secure their pound of flesh in the form of Kashmir. Announcement was made of the decision of Pakistan to sign a border pact with China just on the eve of the first round of talks which opened at Rawalpindi on January 30, 1963, and the signing of the Indo-Pak pact at Peking by Z.A. Bhutto, the Pakistan Foreign Minister and Chief Delegate at the Indo-Pak Talks, and Marshal Chen- Yi, the Foreign Minister of China. On March 3, l963 just a week before the opening ol the fourth round of the talks at Calcutta was a calculated move to that end. These pressure tactics coupled with her fantastic demand for the whole of the State except just three thousand sq. miles of South Eastern tip of Jammu region made the eventual failure of these talks.

This failure of the direct talks in spite of intense behind the scene activity by the British and the American diplomats at New Delhi and Rawalpindi added to the already existing bittlerness between the two countries. But they helped in clearing the air and removing some of the prevailing misconceptions about the attitudes and bona-fides of two countries regarding the basic question of Indo-Pak relations in general and Kashmir issue in particular. For instance, it now became quite evident that Pakistan was interested more in extorting fresh commitments and scoring diplomatic points over India for future use against her than in finding an honorable and equitable settlement of the dispute as such.

Rather, her glee at the Chinese aggress;on against India and her growing fraternization with Communist China and the timing of the Sino-Pak border pact, for which her Foreign Minister specially went to Peking, pointed to the inescapable conclusion that she was more interested in a rapprochement with Communist China than with democratic India.

The refusal of Pakistan to make any commitment about joint action with India to fight out the Chinese menace and her persistent rejection of the Indian offer of a "no war Pact", which was repeated during the talks as well, made it further clear that there was little hope of actual disengagement of their forces in the State even if India surrendered the Kashmir valley to her. This attitude of Pakistan provided the basis for the fear expressed by a number of responsible Indian leaders about the existence of certain secret Articles in the Sino-Pak pact providing for collaboration between Pakistan and Communist China to achieve their respective territorial and political objectives at the cost of India.

The developments narrated above confirmed the view that Pakistan so long as it exists would continue to be hostile to India. Her very existence depends on keeping the anti-Hindu and anti Indian frenzy among her Muslim population at a very high pitch. She will pick up some other apple of discord to keep this frenzy on, even if Kashmir issue is settled to her satisfaction. It is this need to keep up the tension which impels Pakistan to follow a foreign policy opposite to that of India. When India was drifting toward the Communist block, Pakistan joined the Western bloc to secure its diplomatic, moral and material support against India. When Communist China's unprovoked aggression forced India, to make a re-appraisal of her foreign poliey and draw closer to the Western countires which came to her help in the hour of her need, Pakistan began moving toward Communist China.

The one man who felt most disconcerted by these developments was Pt. Nehru, the sole arehitect of Indian policy in regard to Jammu and Kashmir. Chinese invasion had come as a rude shock to him. He had built his foreign policy particularly in regard to China and Tibet on the assumption that no socialist country could commit aggression and that there could be no danger to India from China. His dream was shattered. As he himself admitted, he had been living in an artificial world of his own imagination. China's attack and humiliating defeat of India literally broke him.

During his last troubled months, two things weighed heavily on his heart. He wanted to clear the decks for succession of his daughter Indira Gandhi, to his "Gaddi." He also wanted to make peace with Sh. Abdullah and find a peaceful solution of Kashmir problem aceeptable to him.

He achieved the first objective through the so called Kamraj plan. Senior leaders like Morarji Desai who could legitimately stake their claim for leadership of the Congress Parliamentary Party, after this death, were removed from the cabinet under this plan.

It also helped him to get rid of Bakshi Gulam Mohammed who had been instrumental in the ouster of Sh. Abdullah in 1953, and had been in power in Kashmir ever since. His removal was necessary to withdraw the conspiracy case against Sh. Abdullah which had been going on since 1958. The case was withdrawn and Sh. Abdullah released in April 1964. It was followed up by Pt. Nehru with a new- initiative to solve the Kashmir problem through direct talks with President Ayub of Pakistan. But it failed to take off.

Kashmir: The Storm Center of the World

 

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