China and India have been in relations since ancient times. China and India are two of the world’s oldest civilizations and have coexisted in peace for millennia. Trade relations via the Silk Road acted as economic contact between the two regions. However, since the early 1950s, their relationship has been characterized by border disputes.
From the very beginning India adopted a policy of friendship towards China. The congress had been sympathetic to China’s struggle against imperialism and had sent a medical mission to china in the 1930s as well as given a call for boycott of Japanese goods in protest against Japanese occupation of China. India was the first one to recognize the new People’s Republic of China on 1 January 1950. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru had great hopes that the two countries with their common experience of suffering at the hands of colonial powers and common problems of poverty & underdevelopment would join hands to give Asia its due place in the world.
In 1950, when China occupied Tibet, India was unhappy that it had not been taken into confidence, but did not question China’s right over Tibet since at many times in Chinese history Tibet had been subjugated by China. In 1954, India and China signed a treaty in which India recognized China’s right over Tibet and the two countries agreed to be governed in their mutual relations by the principles of Panchsheel.
In 1959, there was a big revolt in Tibet and the Dalai Lama fled Tibet along with thousands of refugees. He was given asylum in India. Out of a fit of rage, in October 1959, the Chinese opened fire on an Indian patrol near the Kongka pass in Ladakh killing five Indian policemen and capturing a dozen others. The shock was unbearable to India, because the bloody assault was launched by the neighbor country for whom India had done more than any other country during the past decade and whose Premier Chou-En-Lai had often embraced our Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru with simulated affection. Letters were exchanged between the two governments but a common ground did not emerge. This was the beginning of Indo-China becoming a theatre of the holy crusade against Communism.
On 8th September 1962, Chinese forces attacked the Thagla ridge and dislodged Indian troops. A week later, the Chinese army launched a massive attack and overran Indian posts in the eastern sector in NEFA or what is known as Arunachal Pradesh. The Indian army commander in NEFA fled without any effort at resistance leaving the doors wide open for China to walk in. In the western sector, on 20 October, thirteen forward posts were captured by the Chinese in the Galwan valley, and the Chushul airstrip threatened. There was a great outcry in the country and a feeling of panic about Chinese intentions. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru wrote two letters to president Kennedy on 9 November, describing the situation as ‘really desperate’ and asking for wide-ranging military help. He also sought Britain’s help. 24 hours later, the China declared a unilateral withdrawal and, as unpredictable as it had appeared, the Chinese dragon disappeared from sight, leaving behind a heartbroken friend and a confused and disoriented people.
With the passage of time, China seems to have revised her attitude and changed her colors. Both countries have in recent years successfully attempted to reignite diplomatic and economic ties, and consequently, the two countries' relations have become closer. Today, China is India's largest trading partner, and has recently reverted its stance on India's bid for a UNSC seat. After Chinese assistant Foreign Minister Kong Quan formally declared that China will back India's UNSC bid. Today, in spite of its own growing domestic needs, India is a main seller of Iron ore to China, and fills the desperate need of natural resources for the nation
Though China has made gestures of friendliness by inviting delegations, yet India should count ten before falling into the trap of the Chinese deception. There have been occasional interchanges of cultural, sports and educational delegations. China also participated in Pin Pong Tournament in India followed up by the visit of Chinese top-brass in India. Nevertheless, the general air that prevails is that of suspended hostilities.
The heart of our nation is sound. Only a strong, determined, courageous and dedicated leadership is needed. If that is forth-coming, then, under God, with hope and faith, the nation will match undaunted, and avenge our reverses, and will go on march¬ing not only to victory in war, but also to a victorious peace.
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