Published On: Thu, Aug 15th, 2019

Nehru’s Himalayan Blunder and China

Nehru is an important part of contemporary Indian history. After India gained Independence, he became Prime Minister (1947-64) and wielded immense power. Many people consider writing something adverse about Nehru a blasphemy. But, there is a need to critically evaluate his contribution to India, as many problems which have now surfaced and defy solution can be traced to his rule. Intellectually Nehru was a giant, as can be seen from his writings and books. But he had little grasp of power politics and roles of nations. In this connection his China policy needs evaluation.

Nehru, China and Tibet

His dealing with China and Tibet bordered on naivety. When India became free in 1947 the Chinese were embroiled in a civil war. This was a god-given time to consolidate Indian power in Tibet and the Northern borders. But he did nothing of the sort. In turn he showed his naivety, as he accepted Chinese suzerainty over Tibet in return for autonomy for Tibet. One fails to understand what prompted him to do this, as it became apparent later that China under Mao understood only the dictum ‘Power comes out of the barrel of a gun’.

This inaction of Nehru during the crucial years of 1947-50 showed his immature grasp of power politics and was a Himalayan blunder. China took advantage of this weakness of Nehru and attacked Tibet in 1950. After military victory China began consolidating their power in Tibet and the Dalai Lama, spiritual and temporal head of Tibet had to flee Lhasa.

Nehru’s China Policy

Nehru's Himalayan Blunder and China

Nehru turned a blind eye to the occupation of Tibet and the fruits of the Younghusbands expedition (1904) were frittered away. The philosopher in Nehru emerged and he talked of Hindi Chini bhai –bhai (brotherhood ). He showed his immature grasp of military operations and neglected beefing up the Northern borders or establishing any form of control in distant areas like Ladakh. In turn he talked of the Himalayas as a ‘natural barrier’ without realizing that modern armies recognize no such barriers.

The result of his policies was bitter, as the Chinese occupied almost the entire Eastern Ladakh (Aksai Chin) more by default than anything else. The fact remains, that in that entire area Nehru had not established any semblance of control. His other big failure was to allow the splendid Indian Army go to seed as a potent force. The result was that India lost 30,000 sq miles of Indian Territory in Ladakh to China. He failed to follow up the tripartite Simla convention of 1914 between Britain, China and Tibet as well.

Aksai Chin and the 1962 War

His naivety about the happenings in Aksai Chin emerged when he made the ill-fated remark that ‘not a blade grows in Aksai chin’, thus almost condoning the Chinese occupation of that area. He ordered the establishment of forward posts without realizing that this would antagonize the Chinese. Again he did not realize that military campaigns need planning and build up of war materials.

The result was as expected; only Nehru never saw it coming. The Chinese mounted an offensive on both the eastern and western borders of India. That was 1962 and the Indian General Staff led by General Thapar the COAS threw in the towel and stand condemned along with Nehru for ineptitude and inefficiency.

Last Word

The 1962 war was a telling defeat, more for Nehru than anything else. Nehru’s international image was shattered and he was a shadow of himself after that. Perhaps at the fag end of his career, he must have realized that he made the biggest blunder by dealing with China as a friend and forgetting that power politics centre on the gun and being aggressive. Nehru ‘s China policy is now like an anchor around the present-day Indian government, as he surrendered forever the right of India to be an equal power to China, by letting Tibet slip out his grasp as a buffer and losing vast territories to China. Time and tide wait for none. Nehru must stand in the dock of history to be judged for his actions.

About the Author

- I am an internet marketing expert with an experience of 8 years.My hobbies are SEO,Content services and reading ebooks.I am founder of SRJ News,Tech Preview and Daily Posts.

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