The Unknown Soldier of America Pays Tribute to the Unmourned Soldiers of Special Frontier Force
MONDAY, MAY 25, 2020 – THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER OF AMERICA PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE UNMOURNED FREEDOM FIGHTERS OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
MONDAY, MAY 25, 2020 – THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER OF AMERICA PAYS TRIBUTE TO THE UNMOURNED FREEDOM FIGHTERS OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE
On Monday, May 25, 2020, Memorial Day, I, the Unknown Soldier of America pay my tribute to the Unmourned Freedom Fighters of Special Frontier Force. I am the Living Host of ‘The Living Tibetan Spirits, the Tibetan Soldiers who gave their precious lives on the battlefield in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in 1971. The remote, inaccessible, Chittagong Hill Tracts is the kind of place where human skeletons might sink into the soil undisturbed and unmourned.
I serve in Special Frontier Force as the Unknown Soldier of America to fight a war in occupied Tibet to secure Freedom, Democracy, Peace, and Justice. The service in the military organization called Special Frontier Force qualifies me as ‘Unknown Soldier of America’ for its Secret Mission serves to defend America from Enemy opposed to American Values of Freedom, Democracy, Peace, and Justice. On this Memorial Day, I may not be a Soldier with a Gun, but I am a Soldier for Life.
While training for this secret US sponsored military mission, Freedom Fighters of Special Frontier Force gave their precious lives. Their mortal remains lie buried in unmarked graves in the Chittagong Hill Tracts with none to pay respects with flowers. Their deaths are Unmourned and I ask my readers to Remember and to Honor their Memory. Dying away from home, away from the soil of your birth and to do so unseen and unmourned is a profound horror.
On Sunday, March 08, 2020 I was at Whole Foods Ann Arbor. I learned about a new holiday tradition in the context of promoting the International Women’s Day on March 08.
The Grocery Team at Whole Foods, Ann Arbor initiated a new Holiday Celebration called ‘Happy Women’s Day’ on March 08.
The Grocery Team at Whole Foods, Ann Arbor has eight women Team Members. The Grocery Team Leader, the (Dry/Imperishable) Grocery, Dairy, Frozen and Bulk Department Buyers, and four other crew members (including two who work the overnight shift) are all women. All of them received $10.00 Whole Foods Market Gift Cards to have a Happy Women’s Day by enjoying a Treat of their choice.
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE AT BIKANER HOUSE ANNEXE SHAHJAHAN ROAD, NEW DELHI
My grievance application submitted to Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances had reached Shri. Basant Swaroop, Director & Grievance Officer, Cabinet Secretariat(SR), Bikaner House Annexe, Shahjahan Road, New Delhi on 26 May 2012. Director Basant Swaroop has not contacted my Unit(Special Frontier Force) to verify my Service Information and my Record of Service to ascertain my role during Bangladesh Ops of 1971. I request my readers to speak to Grievance Officer Swaroop(Phone Number. 23387030) and ask him to process my petition at an early date.
Brought to you by Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances
Government of India
Status as on 11 Jul 2015
Registration Number : CABST/E/2012/00154
Name Of Complainant : R.Rudra Narasimham
Date of Receipt : 26 May 2012
Received by : Cabinet Secretariat(SR)
Officer name : Mr Basant Swaroop
Officer Designation : Director & Grievance Officer
Contact Address : Bikaner House (Annexe), Shahjahan Road, New Delhi
Contact Number : 23387030
I served in the capacity of Medical Officer in the rank of Captain in Special Frontier Force from 22 September 1971 to 18 December 1974.
I was posted at Headquarters Establishment Number. 22 C/O 56 APO. Brigadier T S Oberoi was the Commandant at Hq Establishment No. 22.
Under the plans approved by the Prime Minister of India (PMO), Cabinet Secretariat, I was issued a Movement Order and was dispatched to serve in the South Column Unit under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel B K Narayan for the execution of Operation Eagle which during 1971 had initiated the Liberation of Bangladesh with military action conducted in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.
Lieutenant Colonel B K Narayan in a written communication dated 13 May, 1972 had stated that I have displayed a great sense of devotion to duty, maturity, physical toughness, and bravery beyond call of duty during Operation Eagle. The South Column Unit Commander had also stated that he had recommended my name for a gallantry award and had submitted a citation to the Director of Medical Services(Army) for his further action. In his written remarks, Lieutenant Colonel B K Narayan gave his appreciation and commended me and said:”A very conscientious and Tough MO who worked hard during the Bangladesh Ops. He did very well and showed Maturity, which was beyond the call of duty. I have recommended this Officer for a gallantry award for which he deserves eminently. He is physically Tough and cheerful. Is a fresh entrant with less than 2 years of Service and yet he displayed capability and confidence.”
These remarks were duly reviewed by Commandant Brigadier T S Oberoi and the Annual Confidential Report(Officers) for the year 197-72 was duly forwarded to Military Secretary’s Branch, MS Branch 4(CR) MoD(Army).
In a written testimonial given by Lieutenant General T S Oberoi, PVSM, Vrc, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Headquarters Southern Command Pune-411001, dated 14th February, 1983, he states that I deserve befitting recognition for the Service that I had rendered to the Nation during the time of a crisis. The Southern Army Commander had categorically stated that I was recommended for a gallantry award for display of gallant qualities in the face of the enemy.
It is not known as to why the Director of Medical Services (Army) had failed to take action to forward the citation for gallantry award to the MS Branch(Army), MoD in a timely manner. However, the DMS (Army) has no authority to reject the citation or to deny the grant of military award duly recommended by my Unit.
Justice and fairness demand that action must be completed to grant the gallantry award as recommended by my Unit Commander Lieutenant Colonel B K Narayan, Brigade Commander T S Oberoi and Major General Sujan Singh Uban, Inspector General Special Frontier Force who had commanded the task force that executed Operation Eagle during 1971-72.
As per the decision made by the Prime Minister of India, the Battle Plan of Operation Eagle includes the eligibility criteria for receiving Service Medals, Decorations, and Awards. The Prime Minister of India did not impose any restrictions or time limits and as such I am still entitled to receive the gallantry award that was duly recommended following the rules and procedures given to us after approval by the Prime Minister of India (PMO) and the Cabinet Secretariat.
On September 22, 1971, I was Taken on Strength (TOS) of Establishment No.22, Special Frontier Force, Vikas Regiment, a military organization created in response to ‘The Cold War in Asia.’
On Tuesday, September 22, 2020, I live in Ann Arbor, Michigan to welcome the first day of Fall Season. Today, I claim that my Quest for Freedom in Occupied Tibet transformed into an ordeal of Slavery in a nation which abolished Slavery with a presidential proclamation on September 22. On September 22, 1971, I had the freedom to reject my posting to Establishment No.22. I was given the choice to choose or decline rendering military service in support of Freedom in Occupied Tibet. The choice to serve in Establishment No.22 comes with risks for its military mission differs from the military mission of the Indian Army which I joined to defend India from attacks by foreign aggressors. It may appear that I am making my own choices in accepting calculated risks to my life. On September 22, 2020, I am still struggling to reconcile with the choices I made in the past. Now, I must reconcile with the reality of my Slavery while living in a country which sponsored my quest for Freedom in Occupied Tibet. On September 22, 2020, I have no hope that I may arrive at the final destination of my life. Chakrata in Uttarakhand, India represents the struggle ahead, a struggle waiting for me before I can arrive at the final destination of my life.
On this day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issues a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which sets a date for the freedom of more than 3 million black slaves in the United States and recasts the Civil War as a fight against slavery. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, shortly after Lincoln’s inauguration as America’s 16th president, he maintained that the war was about restoring the Union and not about slavery. He avoided issuing an anti-slavery proclamation immediately, despite the urgings of abolitionists and radical Republicans, as well as his personal belief that slavery was morally repugnant. Instead, Lincoln chose to move cautiously until he could gain wide support from the public for such a measure. In July 1862, Lincoln informed his cabinet that he would issue an emancipation proclamation but that it would exempt the so-called border states, which had slaveholders but remained loyal to the Union. His cabinet persuaded him not to make the announcement until after a Union victory. Lincoln’s opportunity came following the Union win at the Battle of Antietam in September 1862. On September 22, the president announced that slaves in areas still in rebellion within 100 days would be free. On January 1, 1863, Lincoln issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebel states “are, and henceforward shall be free.” The proclamation also called for the recruitment and establishment of black military units among the Union forces. An estimated 180,000 African-Americans went on to serve in the army, while another 18,000 served in the navy. After the Emancipation Proclamation, backing the Confederacy was seen as favoring slavery. It became impossible for anti-slavery nations such as Great Britain and France, who had been friendly to the Confederacy, to get involved on behalf of the South.
The proclamation also unified and strengthened Lincoln’s party, the Republicans, helping them stay in power for the next two decades. The proclamation was a presidential order and not a law passed by Congress, so Lincoln then pushed for an antislavery amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ensure its permanence. With the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865, slavery was eliminated throughout America (although blacks would face another century of struggle before they truly began to gain equal rights). Lincoln’s handwritten draft of the final Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Chicago Fire of 1871. Today, the original official version of the document is housed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. 1862 Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation is announced Motivated by his growing concern for the inhumanity of slavery as well as practical political concerns, President Abraham Lincoln changes the course of the war and American history by issuing the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. Announced a week after the nominal Union victory at the Battle of Antietam, near Sharpsburg, Maryland.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2020. MY PASSION FOR FREEDOM IN TIBET WHICH BEGAN AT CHAKRATA DOES NOT RECONCILE WITH MY SLAVERY OF TODAY. THE SCENIC BEAUTY OF CHAKRATA PLAYED NO ROLE IN THE CHOICE I MADE ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1971.
Chakrata is not the final destination of my life. It is just the beginning of a struggle that remains ahead, both in terms of time and location.
In a news story released on September 18, 2020, the Voice of America for the very first time acknowledges my CIA Connection. In my analysis, covert military operations are not the right choice to serve the cause of Democracy.
Death of Tibetan Commando Offers Insight Into Little-Known Elite Indian Force
By Yang Ming September 18, 2020
The violent death of a Tibetan commando soldier who belonged to an Indian special forces unit near the China-India border has provided the public with rare insight into the operations of a little-known elite force.
Tibetan soldier Nyima Tenzin, 53, a company leader in the Special Frontier Force (SFF) under the Indian army, died in a land mine blast in late August, near the site of border tensions with Chinese troops. Another junior soldier was critically injured in the same explosion.
Few details are publicly known about the covert force that was set up soon after a war between India and China in 1962. The Indian government hasn’t published any official count of the size of the force, although some experts estimate its strength at around 5,000 to 10,000 men.
Tibetan historian Jianglin Li said the Special Frontier Force consists mostly of Tibetans, who were born and raised in high plateau climate.
“For India, an important lesson from the 1962 war with China is to find the right soldiers,” she told VOA.
According to Li, the Indian government then realized soldiers with special physical attributes and fitness were needed for any potential conflict at the Sino-Indian border, a high plateau area.
The government led by Jawaharlal Nehru subsequently formed a special force, recruiting mostly Tibetans in exile, who fled to India in 1959 with the 14th Dalai Lama after the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) invaded Tibet in 1950. These Tibetans have lived at high altitudes for generations; for them, walking on high land 5,000 meters above the sea level is like walking on the ground, experts say.
Considered an elite force in the India army, the SFF takes its orders directly from the Indian Prime Minister ( the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Secretariat). It is based in Chakrata, nearly 700 kilometres from Ladakh, a key friction point in the current India-China border conflict.
Tenzin Tsundue, a Tibetan writer and activist in Dharamshala, told VOA that the force was trained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1960s.
“At that time, the main purpose of the group was to fight the PLA across the border,” he said. The Tibetan troops obtained weapons and equipment as well as training from the CIA, he said.
The U.S. government pulled the CIA out of the training program following then-Republican President Richard M. Nixon’s visit to China in 1972. Yet the SFF kept receiving training from the Indian army to prepare for any potential conflict in the region. Over the years, the Indian government has deployed the SFF in various military operations.
SFF soldiers have successfully waged wars for India starting with the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh against Pakistan. During the Kargil War in 1999, SFF soldiers captured Tiger Hill from the rival Pakistani soldiers, leading to India’s victory.
The Reuters news agency quoted Amitabh Mathur, a former Indian government adviser on Tibetan affairs, as saying he wasn’t surprised the Indian government decided to deploy the SFF troops this time, as they were “crack troops, especially in the context of mountain climbing and high-altitude warfare.”
‘Ultimate dream of Tibetan soldiers’
Within the Tibetan community, grieving has begun over Nyima’s death. His coffin has been draped with Indian and Tibetan flags in a refugee colony in Choglamsar, a village in India’s Ladakh region. According to Tsundue, many of the soldiers mourning the loss of Nyima simply want to return to their remote Himalayan homeland.
“With the current border conflict, they might have a chance to fight against China and drive Chinese troops out of Tibet,” he explained. “This is the ultimate dream of Tibetan soldiers. They hope to fight the Chinese and play an important role in the fight for Tibet’s independence.”
VOA reached out to the Tibetan Government in Exile for comments. Karma Choeying, spokesperson for the Central Tibetan Administration, said the administration “does not comment on this matter.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday said she did not know whether Tibetans were fighting for India, but urged caution.
“We are firmly opposed to any country, including India, supporting the secession activities of Tibetan pro-independence forces or providing them with any assistance or physical space,” she said.
I was serving in Doom Dooma, Tinsukia District, Assam, India and a witness to the foreign policy initiative of the US President Richard M. Nixon in 1971-72 with which the Americans began to chase the illusion called ‘China Fantasy’. The American plan is doomed from its very inception for it involved the backstabbing of Tibet and overlooking the evil actions of the Communist regime in China.
China is our greatest foreign policy issue. But neither Trump nor Biden have it right.
Xi Jinping’s China is fundamentally different from the past. Neither Donald Trump’s nor Joe Biden’s approach fully responds to that new reality.
Robert Robb, Arizona Republic
The most important foreign policy issue for the next American president will undoubtedly be relations with China. Unfortunately, neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden have an approach grounded in reality, with a clear-eyed view of our national interests.
Ever since economic reforms were launched by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1980s, the bipartisan consensus was that the best approach to China was engagement. As China grew more prosperous and less insulated, the thinking went, economic liberalization could lead to political liberalization as well. Or, at a minimum, China could be a non-threatening participant in the world’s economy and affairs.
This was not as naive an expectation, or at least hope, as sometimes depicted today. There were examples of countries with authoritarian systems of state capitalism evolving into democracies with true market economies. South Korea is the most obvious example.
Indeed, a “peaceful rise” of China was one of Deng’s objectives. And that was the approach taken by his successors until current China strongman Xi Jinping.
Trump is using Biden’s support for China joining the World Trade Organization in 2001 against him. But, at the time, that was a prudent move and consistent with American interests as they were then perceived.
Xi’s China is different now
All this changed with Xi, who has jettisoned much of Deng’s approach to China’s development.
Deng believed in communal and rotating leadership. Xi has had himself appointed authoritarian-in-chief for life.
Xi is remaking China to return the Communist Party as the central focus of all life in the country. The government is to serve the party. And private businesses are to serve the government.
Markets are still used to allocate resources more efficiently than heavy-handed central planning. But there are no such things as truly private businesses in Xi’s China. Their ultimate purpose is to serve the interests of the party.
A “peaceful rise” has been abandoned. The purpose of trade is no longer principally to improve living standards. It is to increase the reach and leverage of the government and party. Militarily and diplomatically, China is seeking to dominate its region and intimidate other countries in the Asia-Pacific.
With Xi’s China, the expectations or hopes that underlay the engagement approach are a lost cause. External engagement isn’t going to change Xi’s China. Only domestic political upheaval that rejects Xi Thought will do that. And that doesn’t appear to be on the horizon.
The US should do 2 things differently
The reality of Xi’s China warrants an abandonment of the engagement approach. There should be two strategic objectives to a new approach to China.
►First, insulate the American economy from China to the maximum extent possible. Among foreign policy boffins, this is referred to as “decoupling.”
►Second, increase the military and diplomatic capacity of China’s neighbors, so every regional conflict involving China doesn’t automatically become a conflict with the United States. Our current role as the de facto security guarantor in the region isn’t in our best interests.
What Trump gets wrong on tariffs
Tariffs are one tool that could be used in decoupling. Trump has famously declared himself to be Tariff Man. And his administration currently has tariffs in place on roughly $370 billion worth of Chinese goods.
But decoupling isn’t the true strategic objective of Trump and his tariffs. Trump believes that the score between countries is kept by the balance of trade. The purpose of Trump’s tariffs is to serve as leverage to get China to purchase more American goods. Indeed, he reduced some tariffs and pulled the plug on others in exchange for a Chinese promise to do exactly that.
Biden gets engagement wrong
In an essay for Foreign Affairs magazine, Biden makes clear that he still believes in the engagement approach.
The principal problem with Trump’s approach, according to Biden, is that it is unilateral. Biden promises to create a coalition with allies to pressure China to change troublesome behavior in trade. But to continue cooperation with China on things where, as Biden puts it, “our interests converge.” He specifically mentions climate change, nonproliferation and global health security.
There is no such get-tough-on-China coalition to be had. There’s some spine in China’s neighbors. But none in the European Union, whose trade leverage would be necessary to get China’s full attention.
Trump’s instinct is to reduce the exposure of the U.S. to regional conflicts elsewhere. But he has no strategic vision about getting from here to there.
In his essay, Biden doubles down on the commitment to be the region’s security guarantor, a role whose risks vastly exceed the benefits to the United States.
Trump’s erraticism or Biden’s return to unproductive engagement. Sadly, that’s the choice.
Robert Robb is an editorial columnist for The Arizona Republic and azcentral.com, where this column originally appeared. Follow him on Twitter: @RJRobb
In my analysis, India-China Standoff across the Himalayan Frontier involves the territory of Tibet, an independent nation under military occupation. Any kind of dispute across the Himalayan Frontier involves Tibet as the Natural Force that created Tibet is still at work forcing the Indian Landmass to collide with the Asian Landmass. The reality of Tibet cannot be ignored as Mother Nature nurtures the Tibetan Identity.
India waving SFF and Tibet cards won’t scare China. Can’t pull levers you don’t have
Bending foreign policy to serve domestic politics is proving to be costly for India. Hyping the use of the Tibetan-majority SFF against China is one such example.
Shyam Saran, September 14, 2020.
The Tibet issue played a major role in precipitating the India-China war of 1962. There were localized skirmishes along the border, but these began to be seen in a more ominous light by China in the wake of the Tibetan revolt of 1959 followed by the exile of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to India. The setting up of Indian posts and increased patrolling on our borders were seen as part of a sinister Indian design to subvert Chinese rule in Tibet. The status of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan issue have remained a shadow over India-China relations even though New Delhi has recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet and has under-played official relations with the Dalai Lama.
The Tibet government-in-exile is allowed to function at Dharamsala but is not recognized by the Indian government. For China, Tibet is a “core issue” just as Taiwan and Xinjiang are.
A changing relationship
During the tenure of the Narendra Modi government, there have been instances of open courtship of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Its ‘Prime Minister’ Lobsang Sangay was an invitee to the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Modi in 2014. The Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Pema Khandu, declared that his state had a border with Tibet and not with China, in 2017.
But after the Modi-Xi Jinping summit in Wuhan in April 2018, there appeared a rethink on the Tibet issue with the Ministry of External Affairs reissuing instructions to government functionaries to avoid public association with the Dalai Lama and Tibetan representatives of the government-in-exile. An international Buddhist conference, which the Dalai Lama had been encouraged to convene, was cancelled. The Tibetans were advised that the 60th anniversary, in 2019, of the Dalai Lama’s entry into India, should be a low-key affair.
The second Modi-Xi summit in Mamallapuram in October 2019 reinforced this trend. The Modi government was signalling that it was prepared to put the Tibet issue in cold storage while advancing bilateral relations with China.
The wrong card
During the recent clashes between the Indian and Chinese armed forces on the border in eastern Ladakh, the Tibet issue has resurfaced and will add to mutual distrust and suspicion. A deliberately leaked report to the media revealed that the secretive Special Frontier Force (SFF), recruited mainly from the Tibetan community in India, was used in the operations in southern Pangong Tso. One of its soldiers, Tenzin Nyima, died in a mine blast and at his funeral, independent Tibet’s flags were displayed. BJP leader Ram Madhav attended the funeral and tweeted about it. He subsequently took it down, presumably at the behest of the Ministry of External Affairs.
Several commentators were quick to welcome the report on the SFF, no longer secret, as a reminder to China that India still held the “Tibet card” and would be ready to use it to bring it to heel. Like much of the bizarre fantasizing that seems to have taken hold in India, this, too, may only heighten mistrust and hostility in Beijing without inflicting any real pain. In any negotiations with an adversary, one should never provoke a confrontation over an issue where the other side has greater equity and stake than oneself. This is clearly the case here. It is also intriguing that this story was highlighted on the eve of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow. At the very least, it would have made his interaction more challenging.
The SFF has been in existence for several years. Its efficacy lies in its rigorous training, high morale and professionalism. It should not have become yet another pawn in a political game to convince public opinion that India has more levers of influence than it actually has. In doing so, the potential efficacy of the SFF has been undermined and Chinese suspicions over India’s intentions regarding Tibet would have been aroused to a new intensity.
A crisis of credibility
The tactical use of the Tibetan issue and of the Dalai Lama is both cynical and counter-productive. Ever since his arrival in India, he has enjoyed respect and reverence across the Indian political spectrum as a religious leader. We have consistently maintained the position that he is our welcome guest as a high religious personage and that we do not endorse political activities engaged in by him or the Tibetan community. This has helped manage Tibet as an issue in India-China relations, reducing its salience as an irritant. Unfortunately, this consistent and longstanding position has been severely compromised.
In any India-China border settlement, an understanding over Tibet will need to be arrived at. The best-case scenario for India would be a reconciliation between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese regime, and this seemed possible during the first few years of Xi Jinping’s rule. In our informal conversations with Chinese counterparts, we have conveyed that their assumption of the Tibetan issue being permanently resolved once the Dalai Lama was no longer in the scene was misplaced. In fact, we pointed out, the situation may become even more fraught once the restraining hand of the Dalai Lama was no longer available. The Tibetan community in India, particularly the youth, could become more radicalized.
In Tibet, reconciliation between its people and the Chinese state would be more likely with the blessings of the Dalai Lama rather than in his absence. Both countries, we conveyed, need to have an early and quiet dialogue on this issue and not allow it to become a festering problem for the future. There was receptivity on the Chinese side to these views. However, this waving of the Tibet card, which serves only to irritate and annoy, puts paid to any such engagement on a sensitive issue, with serious implications for the future. It undermines the immense goodwill and gratitude that New Delhi has all along enjoyed with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community in India and abroad. The community is disturbed by the manner in which the Indian government plays hot and cold towards it and has become anxious about its future.
The bending of foreign policy issues to serve domestic political ends is proving to be costly for India. The most valuable asset a country and its political leadership possess is credibility with both friends and adversaries alike. When image-making gets unlatched from reality, credibility is the first casualty. And India indeed faces a crisis of credibility.
The author is a former Foreign Secretary, and a Senior Fellow at CPR.
Recent events in Tibet have intensified the dispute over its legal status. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims that Tibet is an integral part of China. The Tibetan government-in-exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under unlawful occupation.
India asks China to pull back troops, arms in Ladakh region
By ASHOK SHARMA, Associated Press
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s defense minister said Thursday the country faces challenges in its border dispute with China and urged Beijing to sincerely implement an understanding they reached previously to completely disengage forces from the Ladakh region.
Rajnath Singh told the upper house of Parliament that China has amassed troops and weapons in Ladakh in violation of agreements reached in the 1990s and is trying to alter the status quo in the region through aggressive actions.
He said that was not acceptable and that India is seeking a peaceful resolution through talks.
The two countries’ foreign ministers met in Moscow a week ago and agreed to deescalate tensions in Ladakh, but Singh’s words to Parliament suggested they have not significantly declined and that settling the impasse will be a long process.
He also said India has counter-deployed troops that have foiled “transgression attempts by China.”
“We should be confident that our armed forces will handle the situation successfully,” Singh said.
He said it was “apparent from Chinese activities that their words don’t match their actions.”
In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin again laid the onus on India to relieve the tensions and said Chinese border troops have “always strictly abide by the (agreements) between the two countries and are committed to safeguarding China’s territorial sovereignty and maintaining peace and tranquility in the border areas.”
“What is pressing now is that the Indian side should immediately correct its mistake, disengage on the ground as soon as possible and take concrete actions to ease the tension and lower the temperature along the border,” Wang said at a daily briefing.
Relations between the two countries have often been strained, partly due to their undemarcated border.
They fought a border war in 1962 that spilled into Ladakh and ended in an uneasy truce. Since then, troops have guarded the undefined border area, occasionally brawling. The standoff escalated to a deadly clash on a high ridge on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
Singh said India inflicted “heavy” casualties on Chinese forces, but did not provide any numbers. China has not given any details on its casualties.
After that clash, the two countries partially disengaged from the site in the Galwan Valley and at least two other places, but the crisis has continued in at least three other areas, including glacial Pangong Lake.
He said the impasse was due to differing perceptions of the fiercely contested Line of Actual Control that separates Chinese and Indian-held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Singh said India has doubled its budget on building roads, bridges and other infrastructure along the border to match the Chinese infrastructure to accelerate mobility of forces.
“We are fully prepared to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country,” he said, adding that China continued to occupy nearly 38,000 square kilometres (14,670 square miles) of Indian land in Ladakh.
AP Explains: What’s driving India-China military standoff
By AIJAZ HUSSAIN, Associated Press
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Tensions along the disputed India-China border seem to be getting worse, three months after their deadliest confrontation in decades.
The Asian giants accused each other this week of sending soldiers into the other’s territory and fired warning shots fired for the first time in 45 years, raising the specter of full-scale military conflict.
Their foreign ministers are expected to discuss the simmering dispute in Moscow on Thursday on the sidelines of a regional security and economic meeting.
The high-altitude standoff along the eastern section of what’s known as the Line of Actual Control — a loose demarcation — risks dramatically altering the already fraught relationship between the nuclear-armed neighbors.
The face-off began in early May with a fierce brawl before exploding into hand-to-hand combat with clubs, stones and fists on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead. China is believed to have taken casualties, but has given no numbers.
DECADES OF MISTRUST
India and China inherited their territorial disputes from the period of British colonial rule.
Three years after India’s independence in 1947 and a year after the communists came to power in China, the new government in Beijing began strongly asserting its claims and repudiating earlier treaties it says were signed under duress, but which India says are fixed.
Beijing’s approach has strengthened under Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader in decades who has sworn not to surrender even an inch of territory.
In the 1950s, China started building a strategic road on the uninhabited Aksai Chin Plateau to connect its restive regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. India objected and claimed Aksai Chin as part of Ladakh, itself belonging to the former principality of Kashmir now divided between India and Pakistan.
Relations were further strained after India allowed Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to establish a self-declared government-in-exile in the northern Indian town of Dharmsala after he fled his homeland in 1959 during an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.
The differences led to a bitter month-long war in 1962. Firefights broke out again in 1967 and 1975, leading to more deaths on both sides. They’ve since adopted protocols, including an agreement not to use firearms, but those protocols have fractured in this year’s clashes.
China, in the meantime, began cementing its relations with India’s arch-rival Pakistan and backing it on the issue of Kashmir.
THE LINE OF ACTUAL CONTROL
The fiercely contested LAC separates Chinese and Indian held territories from Ladakh in the west to India’s eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which China claims in its entirety. It is broken in parts where the Himalayan nations of Nepal and Bhutan border China.
According to India, the de facto border is 3,488 kilometres (2,167-mile) long, although China promotes a considerably shorter figure. As its name suggests, it divides the areas of physical control rather than territorial claims.
In all, China claims some 90,000 square kilometres (35,000 square miles) of territory in India’s northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh with its mainly Buddhist population.
India says China occupies 38,000 square kilometres (15,000 square miles) of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau, which India considers part of Ladakh, where the current face-off is happening.
Despite more than three dozen rounds of talks over the years, and multiple meetings between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, they are nowhere near settling their dispute.
ECONOMIC AND STRATEGIC RIVALRY
Since the 1962 war, both economies have grown substantially, but China has far outpaced India while enjoying a large trade surplus with its neighbor.
The growing economic rivalry has added to territorial and geostrategic differences. India has tried to capitalize on China’s rising labor costs, and deteriorating ties with the United States and Europe, to become a new base for foreign manufacturers.
India grew concerned after China recently built a road through Pakistani-controlled Kashmir as part of Xi’s signature foreign policy push, the multi billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative, which India has vehemently opposed.
Meanwhile, India’s growing strategic alliance with the U.S. has ruffled feathers in Beijing, which sees the relationship as a counterweight against China’s rise. Indian fears of Chinese territorial expansion are bolstered by the growing presence of the Chinese navy in the Indian Ocean and Beijing’s efforts to strengthen ties with not only Pakistan but also Sri Lanka and Nepal.
India is jockeying for strategic parity with China, massively ramping up its military infrastructure along the LAC. China for its part has been building roads and defensive positions in the disputed Doklam region and in recent weeks has conducted high-altitude parachute drops and stationed strategic bombers in Tibet.
Adding to the tension, India unilaterally declared Ladakh a federal territory and separated it from disputed Kashmir in August 2019, ending its semi-autonomous status.
Shortly after, lawmakers in India’s ruling party began advocating taking control of some China-run areas, alarming Beijing.
FEARS OF WIDER CONFLICT
Border tensions have persisted despite talks at military, diplomatic and political levels. With strong nationalists leading both countries, the border has taken on a prominence not seen in years.
Having emerged relatively unscathed from the COVID-19 pandemic, China is also perceived regionally as ramping up military ambitions against its neighbors, particularly through the use of “salami slicing” tactics to incrementally gain territory.
While Chinese soldiers remain in what India says is its territory in Ladakh, India occupied at least one unmanned mountain top last week, leading Beijing to furiously demand that New Delhi vacate the area.
Experts warn that if military hostilities are not stopped, war could be next.
“If diplomacy fails, guns talk. That is the natural culmination of what we have been witnessing during last four months,” said Lt. Gen. D.S. Hooda, who was head of the Indian military’s Northern Command from 2014 to 2016. “Things are fast escalating out of control unless there is a breakthrough in talks.”
Wang Lian of Peking University’s international relations department considers the possibility of a wider conflict less likely, despite preparations being made on both sides.
“China has shown restraint in bilateral relations with India, and India may restrain itself from overdoing it in the future,” Wang said.
Special Frontier Force personnel were used by Indian Army to occupy these strategic peaks in the Southern banks of Pangong Tso. This took the Chinese army by surprise. The occupation of these heights has shown Indian resolve to take the fight to the Chinese side.
India thwarts another Chinese incursion in Ladakh
DECCAN CHRONICLE | PAWAN BALI
PublishedSep 1, 2020.
Pre-emptive move by Indian Army to secure another LAC position signals its intent to dig in for the winter.
The Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh on the banks of which India and China have been engaged in a standoff for four months. India claimed on Monday that it pre-empted a move by the Chinese army to occupy Indian territory at a new point in the region. (AP file photo)
New Delhi: The Indian army said on Monday that it “pre-empted” an attempt by Chinese troops to transgress and grab land on the southern banks of Pangong Tso on the intervening night of 29-30 August 2020.
This was an attempt by the Chinese to open a new front in the Ladakh sector. India and China were until now in a standoff in the “Finger area” on the northern banks of the Pangong Tso. But now they are also looking to infiltrate in the Chushul sector.
In a statement issued on Monday, the Indian Army said PLA troops carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo on the night of 29-30 August 2020. “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the Southern Bank of Pangong Tso Lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground,” it said.
The statement added that the Indian Army is committed to maintaining peace and tranquility through dialogue, but is also equally determined to protect India’s territorial integrity.
A brigade commander level flag meeting was held at Chushul to resolve the issue.
As per initial reports, the Army had received information that the Chinese started building up forces to occupy Indian territory on the southern banks of Pangong Tso. The Indian Army physically occupied the area as soon as the PLA tried its transgression. There was no physical clash between the troops.
The Indian Army’s “pre-emptive” move comes days after Chief of Defense staff (CDS) Gen. Bipin Rawat warned that India has “military options” to deal with Chinese transgression in Ladakh if talks between the countries at the military and diplomatic level don’t yield any result.
The Chinese army’s Western Theater Command accused India of crossing the Line of Actual Control and deliberately launching provocations. “China strongly opposes the acts and urges India to immediately withdraw the troops that have illegally crossed the LAC,” it said.
It said that Chinese troops are taking necessary measures in response to Indian troops provocations and will closely follow the situation and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, peace and stability at the border area.
The military standoff between India and China in Ladakh will complete four months this week. The two armies are involved in a standoff in Pangong Tso, Hot Springs area and Despang-DBO sector in Ladakh.
A series of military and diplomatic talks between India and China have failed to persuade China to disengage. Instead China has used this time of negotiations with India to bring in more forces at the LAC, position heavy weaponry, construct helipads, build air defense systems, and deploy missiles at new positions.
In the Northern Bank of Pangong Tso, China has illegally occupied 8 km of Indian territory between finger 4 and 8. Despite a series of diplomatic and military dialogues China has refused to vacate the area between finger 5 and 8 which it had illegally occupied in May 2020. China has built up bunkers, gun positions and brought heavy artillery in the finger area.
The Chinese attempt to occupy new areas comes despite a series of engagements at the diplomatic and military level to disengage and deescalate the situation in the Ladakh sector. The latest confrontation means that the situation is unlikely to deescalate any time soon and will continue in the winter too. India has already started preparations for winter and is stocking up supplies required for thousands of new troops deployed in the area.
Special Frontier Force personnel were used by Indian Army to occupy these strategic peaks in the Southern banks of Pangong Tso. This took the Chinese army by surprise. The occupation of these heights has shown Indian resolve to take the fight to the Chinese side.
September 05 – Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Birthday – Reflections on my Mylapore, Madras, Chennai Family Connections
September 05, Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s birthday is celebrated as Teacher’s Day in India. On Saturday, September 05, 2020, I want to share my reflections on my Mylapore, Madras, Chennai Family Connections. This relationship connects several important events of my life’s journey. For I believe in the doctrine of predestination, I can trace my life’s journey as a series of predetermined events.
In my analysis, time and the place are of equal importance in the formulation of predetermined events. I shall discuss the role of time and place in the context of three issues; 1. Birth Place, 2. Relationships, for example, Radhakrishnan worked in Presidency College, Madras where my father studied and worked, and 3. Final Destination.
Mylapore, Madras, Chennai, my birthplace predetermined my connection to Radhakrishnan as well as my connection to my wife who is also born on the fifth day of September.
Radhakrishnan studied in Madras Christian College and later worked in Presidency College, Madras. My wife talks about Madras Christian College for her father, and four of her brothers studied there. In February 1973, just after I got married, I visited Madras Christian College along with my wife to meet her younger brother who was studying there for his Master of Science degree.
My father studied in Presidency College, Madras and later worked there during my early childhood years spent in Mylapore. Apart from Radhakrishnan, his son, Sarvepalli Gopal also worked in Presidency College
In October 1962, my connection to Radhakrishnan was shaped by Communist China’s attack on India across the Himalayan Frontier. On one hand the Spirit of Nationalism inspired me to serve in the Indian Army, and on the other hand, it profoundly influenced my thinking about choosing a life partner. At the same time, the 1962 India-China War prepared a very special place to render my military service while I am still a college student. In September 1969, I was granted the Short Service Regular Commission to serve in the Indian Army Medical Corps. My educational career prepared me for this role as well as giving me the opportunity to find a partner who accepted my passion to serve in the Olive-Green military uniform. I got married in January 1973 while I was serving at Doom Dooma, Tinsukia District, Assam in SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE – ESTABLISHMENT NO. 22, a special military organization founded in 1962.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: “AHIMSA PARAMO DHARMAH; DHARMA HIMSA TATHIVA CHA.” Both India and Tibet recognize Non-Violence or Ahimsa as the highest principle. The military organization, Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22 represents the second part of the statement; Violence or Himsa is equally the highest principle when it is necessary to defend the righteous.
The military organization is known as Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22 came into its existence during the presidency of Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the second President of the Republic of India, 13 May 1962 to 13 May 1967. While Special Frontier Force is a product of Cold War Era secret diplomacy, I would like to share my personal story, the events from early childhood, that shaped the rest of my life and has formulated my bonding with this Organization and my desire to accomplish its military mission.
Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (05 September 1888 to 17 April 1975), the second President of the Republic of India is known to me from my early childhood. His daughter (Rukmini) was married to my maternal grandfather’s younger brother who had also lived in Mylapore.
My maternal grandfather, Dr Kasturi. Narayana Murthy, M.D., who worked as Professor of Medicine in Madras Medical College lived at 2/37 Kutchery Road, Mylapore. I was born at my grandfather’s residence. While I lived in Mylapore and later during my summer vacations spent in Madras City, I used to visit Radhakrishnan’s daughter’s residence daily. At that time, Radhakrishnan served as the first Vice President of India (1952-1962). I clearly remember the celebration of 2500th Birth Anniversary of Gautama Buddha on May 24, 1956. In India’s Capital City of New Delhi, the celebration was attended by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama Rinpoche. The Institution of the Dalai Lama is the central focus of Tibetan Cultural Identity and Tibetan national character.
Since 1962, India instituted Radhakrishnan’s birthday (05 September) as Teacher’s Day. Since that time, every year that I spent as a student, I had a special reason to remember my family connection with his daughter and my father who belonged to the teaching profession. Radhakrishnan correctly predicted the need for military action to fight injustice. In 1962, during his Presidency, India bravely resisted the Chinese aggression and thousands of Indian Army soldiers gave their precious lives to defend India. It inspired me to serve in Indian Armed Forces to continue the task of opposing and resisting the threat posed by Communist China.
INDIA – TIBET RELATIONS FROM 1950 to 1962:
The Celebration of 2500th Anniversary of the birth of Gautama Buddha (Buddha Jayanti) in New Delhi on May 24, 1956 displays the historical connection between India, and Tibet. Prime Minister Nehru, President Rajendra Prasad, the 14th Dalai Lama, and the 10th Panchen Lama, Rinpoche are seen in this photo image.
Because of Gautama Buddha, India, and Tibet are natural allies. But, the complex, political, and military relationship developed as a reaction to the People’s Republic of China’s invasion of Tibet in 1950.
The President of India, Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad with the visiting His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, and Panchen Lama Rinpoche.
The military occupation of Tibet by Communist China makes a great impact upon the historical, cultural, religious relationship between India, and Tibet. It commenced an entirely new era in which both India and Tibet are driven by the same kind of security concerns. Prime Minister Chou En-Lai represents the face of that danger that forced Prime Minister Nehru to know and appreciate the nature of Tibetan Nation as represented by the 14th Dalai Lama and the 10th Panchen Lama Rinpoche.
India achieved its full independence from the British rule on August 15, 1947. India became the Republic of India on January 26, 1950. Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad became the first President of the Republic of India. The first general elections were held in 1952, and Radhakrishnan, who was at that time-serving as India’s Ambassador to the Soviet Union, was elected as the first Vice President. He served a second term as the Vice President from 1957 to 1962.
India witnessed a major military threat to its Himalayan frontier when the People’s Republic of China sent its army during October 1950 to occupy Tibet while Tibetans had no ability to resist such a massive, military invasion of their territory. Tibet tried to resolve the issue using diplomacy. Tibet requested India to bring the issue to the attention of the United Nations to adopt a resolution against the Communist invasion. At that time Tibet was still following the policy of political isolationism, and neutralism and was not recognized by the United Nations as a member nation. The United States was fighting the Korean War to contain the spread of Communism in Asia. However, Tibet did not obtain direct, US military intervention. India did not have the necessary military force of its own to intervene inside Tibet. At the same time, India also actively pursued its own policy of political neutralism that is known as the Nonaligned Movement to reduce the political tensions caused by the Cold War. India thought that the crisis in Tibet could be resolved by directly negotiating with China without involving the United Nations. During 1951, Communist China imposed a 17-Point Agreement on Tibet while Tibetans had no capacity to defend their rights; the Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on 23rd May 1951 to take measures for the “Peaceful Liberation of Tibet.” China started quoting this agreement to justify its illegal and unjust military occupation of Tibet.
It must be clearly understood that the Great Fifth Dalai Lama founded the “Ganden Phodrang” Government of Tibet in 1642. The successive Dalai Lamas have headed the Tibetan State for nearly four centuries. Towards the end of the Qing Dynasty or Ch’ing Dynasty, the Great 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibet’s full Independence from Manchu China. From 1911 to 1950 – 49-Years, Tibet was an independent Nation before the founding of this political entity called The People’s Republic of China.
The photo image of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Peking meeting with Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.
Tibet tried its very best to appease the Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-Tung until 1954-1955. China took full political, and military advantage of Tibet’s isolationism and took every possible measure to deny the freedom that Tibetans had enjoyed for several centuries despite sporadic foreign invasions by the Mongols, and later by the Manchus. In the past, the foreign rulers of Tibet did not intervene in Tibet’s internal affairs. Tibetans retained their traditional style of governance through the Institution of the Dalai Lama or the “Ganden Phodrang” Government which ruled Tibet for four centuries.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with India’s President and Vice President.
Both India and Tibet strongly desired to resolve the conflict with communist China using diplomacy. The existence of autonomous Tibetan nation serves the best interests of Indian national security.
A banquet held in Ashoka Hotel, New Delhi in 1956 to honor the visiting Head of State, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet who is seen seated between Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his daughter Ms Indira Gandhi.
Both India and Tibet desired friendly and peaceful relations with China. Prime Minister Chou En-Lai is seen here with the 14th Dalai Lama, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and his daughter Ms Indira Gandhi. These efforts towards peaceful co-existence with Communist China had utterly failed during 1957-58.
India and Tibet tried to cultivate a friendly relationship with China and its failure was caused by China’s policy of Expansionism.
India desired to promote international peace and tried to avoid armed conflicts. The burden imposed by China’s military occupation of Tibet was viewed with concern, but India tried the use of diplomacy and avoid war. A ceremony to honor Prime Minister Chou En-Lai, and the 14th Dalai Lama during their visit to New Delhi in 1956.
This photo image of Prime Minister Chou En-Lai, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and the 14th Dalai Lama demonstrates the desire of India to promote peaceful co-existence. Establishment No. 22 represents the failure of India’s peace initiative. The military occupation of Tibet is not a friendly posture and China could not be trusted as a friend.
While Tibet tried its very best to please the Communist leaders of China, India had also pursued a similar policy to befriend China to address the problem of the military threat posed by the military occupation of Tibet. The “Panchsheel” Agreement of 1954 between India and People’s Republic of China had recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet, and India had agreed to withdraw its very small, military presence in Tibet. India believed that China would grant full autonomy to Tibet and preserve the political, and cultural institutions of Tibet. It must be noted that Tibet had not recognized or endorsed the agreement made by India and China.
Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai visited New Delhi, India in June 1954 after his initiative called the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (PANCHSHEEL). The first President of India, Dr Rajendra Prasad (first right), Vice President Radhakrishnan third right, and India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is at the far left.
Indian Vice President Dr Radhakrishnan made an unsuccessful attempt to resolve the problem of the military occupation of Tibet. He had visited Peking during September 1957 and met with various Communist Party leaders including Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, and President Liu Shao-Chi(Liu Shaoqi), and Party General Secretary Teng Hsiao-Ping(Deng Xiaoping).
Indian Vice President Radhakrishnan visited Peking during September/October 1957 and could not get any concessions from the Communist leaders. China had determined to pursue a policy of Expansionism and had tripled the size of its country using its superior military power.
THE ORIGIN OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE – ESTABLISHMENT NO. 22:
The need for the use of military force became inevitable after China made it abundantly clear that it would not negotiate its military occupation of Tibet and would not allow the traditional form of Tibetan Government as represented by the Institution of the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Resistance Movement began with a very modest attempt to train some Tibetan nationals to fight the Chinese People’s Liberation Army that occupied Tibet.
The history of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: 1957 was a turning point. India recognized that its foreign policy of political neutralism was of no use and started depending upon the United States to address the military threat posed by China’s occupation of Tibet. But, the effort was too modest and both India and the United States had grossly underestimated the strength of the People’s Liberation Army. Camp Hale at Colorado represents one aspect of CIA operation called ST CIRCUS.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22 can be traced back to 1957-58 when the CIA launched Operation ST CIRCUS. This Commemoration on September 10, 2010, was the first time that US had officially acknowledge the CIA operation with the Tibetans and it includes the Mustang (Nepal) Operation.
During 1957 it became very clear that Communist China would not relax its military grip over Tibet, and the hopes for limited Tibetan autonomy evaporated. Both India, and Tibet had agreed to seek American military intervention, and it must be believed that India had only wanted a covert, military operation to build and establish a Tibetan Resistance Movement to challenge and overthrow the Chinese military regime in Tibet. The climax of this Tibetan Resistance was during March 1959, and China using its vastly superior military power had easily crushed this Tibetan Uprising. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama had no choice; he and his close followers fled Tibet to seek political asylum in India.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: The arrival of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in India to seek political asylum represents the failure of CIA’s covert operation inside Tibet. CIA had grossly underestimated the intelligence capabilities of Communist China.
The history of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: The Journey of a political refugee. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama arrived in India on 31 March 1959 and was presented a Guard of Honor by the Assam Rifles in the Tawang Sector of the North East Frontier Agency which is renamed as Arunachal Pradesh.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: Indian President Dr Babu Rajendra Prasad received His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama with due dignity reflecting India’s belief that the Dalai Lama is the traditional Head of Tibet, an autonomous nation.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: The military tyranny imposed by Communist China’s occupation forced Tibet to break-free from its traditional policy of political isolationism and it is not a big surprise to find India as its natural ally. Vice President Radhakrishnan is seen with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
THE 1962 INDIA – CHINA WAR:
I must admit that the Chinese brutal attacks across the Himalayan frontier during October 1962 came as a shocking surprise to me and to most people all over India. To some extent, India, Tibet, and the United States had lacked the intelligence capabilities to know the intentions and the capabilities of their enemy. The costs of this 1962 War would be known if China takes courage and openly admits the numbers of its soldiers wounded or killed in action. China paid a heavy price and utterly failed to obtain legitimacy for its military occupation of Tibet.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: The 1962 War between India and China paved the way towards a better understanding of India’s security concerns and the need for military alliance/pact with a friendly power like the United States to meet the challenge posed by Communist China. I appreciate Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for his idealistic views and aspiration to be known as a peacemaker. He finally recognized the need for a strong, well-equipped Army.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: Prior to the 1962 India-China War, the Tibetan Resistance Movement had no permanent base in India. The War had forced India to strengthen the Tibetan Resistance Movement and provide it with a permanent base within Indian territory. Indian Armed Forces played a major role in training the members of Special Frontier Force with financial, and technical assistance provided by the United States.
The 1962 War of Aggression launched by Communist China had a decisive influence on my personal life. I was a college student, and I was in the first year of my 3-year Bachelor of Science degree course. I felt a strong urge to join India’s Armed Forces to specifically address the military threat posed by China. The 1962 War was a conflict imposed by China to teach India a lesson. Later, official documents released by China describe that Chairman Mao Tse-Tung took punitive action to teach a lesson to India when it launched a massive war of retribution attacking Indian Army positions across the entire Himalayan frontier in October 1962. Chairman Mao Tse-Tung was angered by the support extended by India to Tibet to counter the military occupation. Chairman Mao had resented India’s role in helping the covert operation of the Central Intelligence Agency and had called it an “Imperialist” conspiracy or plot against China. China had utterly failed to achieve its objectives and the War ended when China declared a unilateral ceasefire on November 21, 1962, and withdrew from the captured Himalayan territory. It should be noted that India did not request China to declare this ceasefire. India did not promise that it will withhold the support that it extends to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The Secret White House Recordings of the US President John F Kennedy reveal that Kennedy had threatened to nuke China in 1962 and I must say that the threat achieved its purpose and had forced China to stop its military aggression and withdraw unilaterally without demanding any concessions from India, or Tibet.
THE BIRTH OF SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE-ESTABLISHMENT No. 22:
President John F. Kennedy had immediately responded to the Chinese attack on India. Apart from delivery of arms and ammunition, and other military supplies, American aircraft carried out photo missions over the Indo-Tibetan border. In a meeting held on November 19, 1962 at the White House, President Kennedy, Dean David Rusk(Secretary of State), Averell Harriman(Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs), Robert McNamara(Secretary of Defense), General Paul Adams(Chief of the US Strike Command), John Kenneth Galbraith(US Ambassador to India), John A McCone(Director of Central Intelligence Agency), Desmond Fitzgerald(the Far Eastern CIA Chief), James Critchfield(the Near East CIA Chief), John Kenneth Knaus(CIA’s Tibet Task Force), and David Blee(CIA Station Chief in New Delhi) decided upon a military aid package in support of the newly created military organization in India which was initially named as Establishment No. 22 and later the name Special Frontier Force was added to describe the location of its headquarters in New Delhi.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: In the Cold War Era of Silence and Secrecy, India was fortunate to find the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs, Averell Harriman who played a crucial role in developing the military response to the 1962 War.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: John Kenneth Galbraith, the US Ambassador to India played a very helpful role to bring India, and the United States to come together on mutual security concerns and to build a personal relationship between the leaders. This photo image is from 1961 taken during Prime Minister Nehru’s visit to Washington D.C.
The History of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: The People’s Republic of China could not alter the course of India’s foreign policy. The 1962 War launched by China ended very abruptly when China declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew from the captured territory on November 21, 1962. President Kennedy played a decisive role by threatening to “NUKE” China.
The 1962 India-China War, a military conflict that was initiated by China had accomplished the exact opposite of what China had planned to accomplish.
1. India became more firmly aligned with the United States discarding its original policy of political neutralism.
2. The level of cooperation between the Central Intelligence Agency and India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW-The Intelligence Bureau of India) became greatly enhanced.
3. India started increasing its own defence-preparedness and strengthened its military capabilities to fight a future war with China.
4. India was not deterred by the Chinese attack and decided to substantially increase its involvement with the Tibetan Resistance Movement. India made the commitment to provide a permanent base to the Tibetan Resistance Movement apart from hosting the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
5. India, Tibet, and the United States joined together in a military alliance/pact leading to the creation of the military organization called the Establishment No. 22 which has come to be known as the Special Frontier Force with its official Headquarters in New Delhi.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: President Radhakrishnan visiting Indian Army units during the 1962 India-China War. India withstood the attack by Communist China and it soon recovered from its wounds and regained its full confidence to engage China on the battlefield.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: President Radhakrishnan with Officers of Indian Army during the 1962 India-China War. India understood the need for better preparedness to fight future wars and had decided to maintain its support to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, the Head of Tibetan nation who was granted political asylum in India.
The History of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: President Radhakrishnan is seen speaking to news reporters during the 1962 War. India was not deterred by Chinese aggression and had boldly continued the support it extended to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
PRESIDENT RADHAKRISHNAN’S HISTORIC VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES ON JUNE 03/04, 1963:
After the conclusion of the 1962 War with China, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s personal health demanded a serious attention and President Radhakrishnan performed the historical journey to the United States on June 03/04 to meet the US President John F. Kennedy to express India’s solidarity with the United States in promoting Peace and Democracy, and the visit displays the trust, and confidence placed by India in the future of their mutual military assistance, and cooperation. I am happy to share several photo images of that visit.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: June 03/04, 1963. The historic visit by President Radhakrishnan to affirm India’s friendly relationship with the United States in their policy towards China.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: June 03/04, 1963. President Radhakrishnan’s visit affirms the appreciation for American support during the 1962 India-China War.
The history of Special Frontier Force, Establishment No. 22: June 03, 1963, Indian President Radhakrishnan by his visit acknowledges the India-Tibet-US military alliance/pact to oppose the military threat posed by China.
The history of Special Frontier Force, Establishment No. 22 is linked to the presidency of John F. Kennedy and Radhakrishnan.
I met Radhakrishnan at his Mylapore residence after his retirement in May 1967. At that time, both of us were not aware that the very first posting of my career in Indian Armed Forces would take me to Special Frontier Force, Establishment No. 22 that was created during his presidency.
In India, Radhakrishnan is recognized as a teacher, philosopher, and a statesman. He is never described as the Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces. I was granted Commission to serve in the Indian Army at the pleasure of the President of India, and my posting order to serve as a Medical Officer in Establishment No. 22, Special Frontier Force was issued under the authority of the Ministry of Defence which functions under the powers sanctioned by the President of India.
The history of Special Frontier Force-Establishment No. 22: This photo image shows Vice President Radhakrishnan at his New Delhi residence during 1960. The events from 1957 to 1962 had shaped Indian foreign policy and it paved the way for alignment with the United States to oppose the military threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. I met President Radhakrishnan at his Mylapore, Madras (Chennai) residence after completion of his term of presidency in 1967. He prefers to read while relaxing in his bed. This is the image, I still carry in my memory.
The history of Special Frontier Force – Establishment No. 22: This is a photo image taken at Sarasawa airfield that proudly displays the National Flag of Tibet. Special Frontier Force is a living military organization that is facing its future with hope and encouragement from the United States, India, and Tibet.
Special Frontier Force personnel were used by Indian Army to occupy these strategic peaks in the Southern banks of Pangong Tso. This took the Chinese army by surprise. The occupation of these heights has shown Indian resolve to take the fight to the Chinese side.
India says troops hold Himalayan hilltops after face-off with Chinese forces
By Devjyot Ghoshal
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A senior Indian official said on Tuesday Indian troops had deployed on four strategic hilltops after what New Delhi called an attempted Chinese incursion along the disputed Himalayan border, underlining simmering tensions between the Asian giants.
China denied that it had moved first, with an embassy spokeswoman in New Delhi accusing Indian troops of trespassing across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border – and conducting “flagrant provocations”.
Indian and Chinese troops have been locked in a high-altitude border confrontation for months in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh. The two sides have disputed the course of the frontier for more than half a century.
The Indian official, who was briefed on the latest incident, said the Indian troop move responded to an attempt by a large number of Chinese infantry to push through a key mountain pass late on Saturday.
“We mobilized and occupied the four heights,” the official said, adding all four hilltops were on India’s side of the LAC.
The Indian official said the Chinese soldiers were backed up by military vehicles and drew close enough to engage Indian troops in verbal arguments, but there were no clashes.
He said the incident occurred on the southern bank of Pangong Tso, a picturesque lake in the snow desert region where Indian and Chinese troops have been facing off since April.
The Indian official said the Chinese had also been consolidating positions on the northern bank of the lake with what appeared to be new defensive positions.
But Ji Rong, a spokeswoman for the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, said Indian troops had violated the LAC at Pangong Tso’s southern bank and near another mountain pass.
“What India has done runs counter to the efforts made by both sides for a period of time to ease and cool down the situation on the ground, and China is resolutely opposed to this,” she said.
“India … said it pre-empted Chinese military activity,” China’s state-backed Global Times said in an editorial. “The word ‘pre-empt’ shows it was Indian troops that first took destructive action, and the Indian troops initiated the stand-off this time.”
In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan area, the most serious clash between the two countries in 50 years.
Both sides then agreed to pull back with military chiefs in the region holding five rounds of talks. But the Indian military said this week Beijing had reneged on the deal by carrying out “provocative military movements to change the status quo”.
(Reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani and Mark Heinrich)