After independence, India chose to be represented in Lhasa by a British ICS officer, Hugh Richardson; the Scot was Indian Mission-in-Charge from 1947 to 1950. On June 15, 1949, in a communication addressed to the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi, he suggested that India might consider occupying Chumbi Valley up to Phari ‘in an extreme emergency.’ The Chumbi Valley is the highly strategic ‘finger’ sandwiched between Bhutan and Sikkim.
Sixteen months later, Chinese troops invaded Eastern Tibet and Harishwar Dayal, who had replaced another Britisher as the Political Officer in Sikkim, made again the same suggestion: “[Richardon’s] suggestion was NOT favoured by Government of India at the time. It was however proposed as a purely defensive measure and with NO aggressive intention. An attack on Sikkim or Bhutan would call for defensive military operations by the Government of India,” he wrote to Nehru.
India, China, Tibet and the curious case of the missing Sikkim Papers (The Mail Today, DailyO and Daily Mail - UK)
The present standoff at the trijunction between Sikkim, Tibet and Bhutan, on the southern tip of the Chumbi, is a worrying development. While recently addressing the foreign diplomats in Delhi, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar rightly stated that China has been ‘unusually aggressive and articulate’.
Beijing seems to have only one argument, i.e. the 1890 Convention between the British and the Manchus, conveniently forgetting several other agreements, particularly the 1893 Trade Regulations (1890 twin accord) which allowed India to open a trade mart in Yatung in the Chumbi Valley.
The Truth from the Dragon's Mouth
Recently a book Spying Against India (Chinese Military Intelligence from 1962 to 2012) Volume 1, written by one Ben Keiler (probably a nom de plume) was published by Amazon Kindle.
It is difficult to verify the veracity of the content.
However it complements the above map that I posted a few weeks ago on this blog (China ties to alter the status quo in Bhutan).
One Chapter of the book is entitled: The Western Territories of Bhutan
It explains that the above map is a copy of Top Secret Chinese Intelligence map.
(it copy was probably published to hide the embarrassing information about the Indian and Bhutanese camps inside the area today claimed by China)
The book publishes the originals along the translation of the accompanying texts and provides its own comments.
Chinese propaganda: yesterday ...and today
I have often mentioned on this blog, The Three Warfares, more particularly the Propaganda/Information Warfare.
Today China believes that it has mastered the Art and that it has demonstrated it in brainwashing many Indian journalists in the wake of the Doka La confrontation, near the trijunction between Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim.
This may have been true during the first weeks in view of the of the paucity of information (and knowledge) from the Indian side.
Propaganda (or disinformation) has always taken an important place for the survival of a totalitarian regime. It continues today, whether it is with North Korea or China.
Does India need to be invaded by China to wake up? (Rediff.com)
Very few in India have heard of Taksing.
It is the last village on the Tibet (China)-Arunachal Pradesh border, and the first village likely to be invaded if Beijing retaliates.
Scarily, it takes jawans THREE days of walking to reach Taksing.
In all the noise surrounding the Doklam confrontation, Claude Arpi focuses on a crucial issue that has hardly been covered -- the construction of roads for the armed forces and the local population to reach the most remote border posts.
Very few incidents have triggered so many comments as the confrontation at the trijunction between Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim.
On June 16, 2017, Chinese troops entered a stretch of land at the southern tip of the Chumbi Valley to build a road …on Bhutanese territory.
They were stopped by the Indian Army.
The Great Game over Sikkim
The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been vociferously trying to convince the Indian correspondents in Beijing about the 1890 Convention (known as Convention of March 17, 1890 between Great Britain and China relating to Sikkim and Tibet).
However, Beijing forgot to mention about the two main stakeholders, Tibet and Sikkim, who were not even consulted by the 'Great Imperial Powers'.
It is interesting to have the views of Tsepon WD Shakabpa, the Tibetan politician and famous historian.
In his Tibet: a Political History, he explained : « In 1890 a convention was drawn up in Calcutta by Lord Lansdowne, the Governor-General of India and Sheng-t'ai, the Manchu Amban from Lhasa, without consulting the government of Tibet. The first article of the convention agreement defined the boundary between Tibet and Sikkim, and the second article recognized a British protectorate over Sikkim, which gave them exclusive control over the internal administration and the foreign relations of that country.
China promotes ...the Indian tribes: a dangerous move (The Pioneer)
The fact that China is promoting ‘Indian culture’ is dangerous. The Union Government has been ignorant about the issue. But for how long? India could lose a crucial battle on its borders… without a shot being fired
Watching Chairman Xi Jinping officiating during the mega parade at the Zhurihe Combined Tactics Training Base in Inner Mongolia on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), this writer was struck by the Chinese martial air of the Chinese President driving in an open jeep, dressed in combat fatigue.
He later ordered the PLA to be prepared for the battle and to defeat ‘all enemies that dare offend’ his country. Was India, who had dared to challenge the mighty PLA when Beijing tried to change the status quo at the tri-junction between Tibet, Bhutan and Sikkim, targeted? It’s difficult to say.
It was indeed a huge display of military power; Chinese state agencies reported that some 40 per cent of the weapons on show had never before been seen by the public. Xi, who is also the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, by far the most powerful organisation in the Middle Kingdom, inspected 12,000 combat troops.
When China refuses to talk about Bhutan and Sikkim boundaries.
Yesterday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Geng Shuang stated that the border in Sikkim was well demarcated, according to the 1890 Convention between Great Britain and China and Doka La, the area of contention ‘belongs to China’.
He added that Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru endorsed the 1890 Sino-British Treaty on Sikkim in a letter to Zhou Enlai in 1959.
Geng also said that successive Indian governments have also endorsed this.
This far from the truth.
China tries to alter the status quo in Bhutan
China has recently tried to change the status quo in the Doklam area of the Bhutan-Tibet border.
On June 29, the Royal Government of Bhutan, which had held 24 rounds of talks with China so far, had to officially clarify :
On 16th June 2017, the Chinese Army started constructing a motorable road from Dokola in the Doklam area towards the Bhutan Army camp at Zompelri. Boundary talks are ongoing between Bhutan and China and we have written agreements of 1988 and 1998 stating that the two sides agree to maintain peace and tranquility in their border areas pending a final settlement on the boundary question, and to maintain status quo on the boundary as before March 1959. The agreements also state that the two sides will refrain from taking unilateral action, or use of force, to change the status quo of the boundary.
A World War over some sheeps and a few yaks?
As I mentioned in my last post, ‘differences of perceptions’ on the Tibet-Sikkim-Bhutan and the Sikkim-Tibet borders are not new.
China used fully these differences during the Indo-Pakistan conflict of 1965, threatening to interfere in the War and opening a new front in Sikkim.
This has been well-documented in the Notes, Memoranda and Letters Exchanged between the Government of India and China (known as White Papers on China) published by the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi.
Today, I post an extract of White Paper No. XII (pertaining to January 1965 to February 1966). The Note relates to an incident which took place in Delhi on September 24, 1965.
An Indian politician (and later Prime Minister of India) took a herd of 800 goats to the Chinese Embassy in Delhi to send a message to Beijing: is it worth starting a war over some pastures in the Himalaya or because some herds had crossed an unmarked line?