The Cold War in Asia
THE NEHRU LEGACY – THE COLD WAR IN ASIA
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s foreign policy during the Cold War Era is often misunderstood as nations were forced to use secret diplomatic negotiations in the conduct of foreign policy. In my analysis, the Indian Prime Minister took appropriate action not only to defend India’s security interests but also to help Tibet to the extent possible.
I hold the People’s Republic of China completely responsible and accountable for her acts of military aggression during 1950 and later in 1962. I find no reason to blame either Indian Prime Minister or Tibet for China’s misconduct.
I ask my readers to give attention to Indian support to Nationalist China during the concluding years of World War II. Apart from delivering weapons and military supplies to Nationalist China, the US with Indian assistance supplied weapons to Tibet prior to the Communist takeover of the mainland China. This military intervention in Tibet provided an excuse to Communist China to invade Tibet in 1950. I do not find fault with either India or Tibet. Their combined military power is not adequate to maintain the Balance of Power in South Asia. There is nothing wrong if weaker nations use diplomatic negotiations to resolve problems with stronger and powerful nations. It is indeed a practical and rational approach and I would not ridicule such attempts as an appeasement policy.
I uphold the valid concerns shared by India’s former Deputy Prime Minister, but I would not use his concerns to find fault with Prime Minister Nehru’s Foreign Policy Legacy. India has not yet changed the course of the foreign policy direction set up by Nehru.
Opinion, Op Ed
The writer is based in South India for the past 40 years. He writes on India, China, Tibet, and Indo-French relations.
Patel-Nehru rift over Tibet & China was deep
Published Nov 8, 2018, 7:46 am IST
Updated Nov 8, 2018, 7:46 am IST
The most serious cause of discord was the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese “Liberation Army” in October 1950.
On October 31, the world’s tallest statue, the Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: @narendramodi/Twitter)
On October 31, the world’s tallest statue, the Statue of Unity dedicated to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The work on the 182-meter tall statue has been completed after round the clock work by 3,400 laborers and 250 engineers at Sadhu Bet island on Narmada river in Gujarat. Sadhu Bet, located some 3.5 km away from the Narmada Dam, is linked by a 250-meter-long long bridge.
Unfortunately, for several reasons, scarce scholarly research has been done on the internal history of the Congress; the main cause is probably that a section of the party would prefer to keep history under wraps. Take the acute differences of opinion between Sardar Patel, the deputy prime minister, and “Panditji”, as Nehru was then called by Congressmen. In the last weeks of Patel’s life (he passed away on December 15, 1950), there was a deep split between the two leaders, leading to unilateral decisions for the PM, for which India had to pay the heaviest price.
The most serious cause of discord was the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese “Liberation Army” in October 1950. In the course of recent researches in Indian archives, I discovered several new facts. Not only did several senior Congress leaders, led by Patel, violently oppose Nehru’s suicidal policy, but many senior bureaucrats too did not agree with the Prime Minister’s decisions and objected to his policy of appeasement with China, which led India to lose a peaceful border.
On November 11, 1950, the deputy prime minister of India addressed a meeting organized by the Central Aryan Association to commemorate the 67th death anniversary of Swami Dayanand Sarasvati. It was to be his last speech. What did he say? The Sardar spoke of the potential dangers arising from what was happening in Tibet and Nepal, and he exhorted his countrymen: “It was incumbent on the people to rise above party squabbles and unitedly defend their newly won freedom.” He cited the example of Gandhi and Swami Dayanand.
Sardar Patel then criticized the Chinese intervention in Tibet; he asserted that to use the “sword” against the traditionally peace-loving Tibetan people was unjustified: “No other country in the world was as peace-loving as Tibet. India did not believe, therefore, that the Chinese government would actually use force in settling the Tibetan question.” He observed that the Chinese government did not listen to India’s advice to settle the Tibetan issue peacefully: “They marched their armies into Tibet and explained this action by talking of foreign interests intriguing in Tibet against China.” The deputy prime minister added that this fear was unfounded; no outsider was interested in Tibet. The Sardar continued by saying that “nobody could say what the outcome of Chinese action would be. But the use of force ultimately created more fear and tension. It was possible that when a country got drunk with its own military strength and power, it did not think calmly over all issues.” He strongly asserted that the use of arms was wrong: “In the present state of the world, such events might easily touch off a new world war, which would mean disaster for mankind.”
Did he know that it was his last message? “Do not let cowardice cripple you. Do not run away from danger. The three-year-old freedom of the country has to be fully protected. India today is surrounded by all sorts of dangers and it is for the people today to remember the teachings of the two great saints and face fearlessly all dangers.”
The deputy prime minister concluded: “In this kalyug, we shall return ahimsa for ahimsa. But if anybody resorted to force against us, we shall meet it with force.” He ended his speech citing Swami Dayananda: “People should also remember that Swamiji did not get a foreign education. He was the product of Indian culture. Although it was true that they in India had to borrow whatever was good and useful from other countries, it was right and proper that Indian culture was accorded its due place.” Who is ready to listen to this, even today?
Days earlier, Patel had written a “prophetic” letter to Nehru, detailing the implications for India of Tibet’s invasion. In fact, Patel used a draft done by Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai, the secretary-general of the ministry of external affairs and Commonwealth relations. However, Nehru decided to ignore Patel’s letter.
Witnessing the nefarious influence of K.M. Panikkar, the Indian ambassador to China, who ceaselessly defended China’s interests, Bajpai, the most seasoned Indian diplomat, had lost his cool. On October 31, in an internal note, he detailed the sequence of events which followed Tibet’s invasion and the role of Panikkar, whose attitude was compared to Sir Neville Chamberlain’s towards Hitler.
Bajpai’s anger demonstrates the frustration of many senior officers; the account starts on July 15, when the governor of Assam informed Delhi that, according to the information received by the local intelligence bureau, Chinese troops, “in unknown strength, had been moving towards Tibet from three directions.” Not only was Panikkar unable to get any confirmation, but he virtually justified Beijing’s military action by writing: “In view of frustration in regard to Formosa, the Tibetan move was not unlikely.” During the next three months, the Indian ambassador would systematically take the Chinese side.
After receiving Bajpai’s note, Patel wrote back: “I need hardly say that I have read it with a great deal of interest and profit to myself and it has resulted in a much better understanding of the points at issue and general, though serious, nature of the problem. The Chinese advance into Tibet upsets all our security calculations. … I entirely agree with you that a reconsideration of our military position and a redisposition of our forces are inescapable.”
Some more details of the seriousness of the situation filter through Inside Story of Sardar Patel: The Diary of Maniben Patel, the daughter of the Sardar. In an entry on November 2, 1950, Maniben wrote: “Rajaji and Jawaharlal had a heated altercation about the Tibet policy. Rajaji does not at all appreciate this policy. Rajaji very unhappy — Bapu (Patel) did not speak at all.”
Later in the afternoon, “Munshi complained about Tibet policy. The question concerns the whole nation — said he had written a personal letter to Panditji on Tibet.”
Later, Patel told K.M. Munshi: “Rajaji, you (Munshi), I (Patel), Baldev Singh, (C.D.) Deshmukh, Jagjivan Ram, and even Sri Prakash are on one side, while Gopalaswamy, Rafi, Maulana (Azad) are on his side.” There was a vertical split in the Cabinet, and it was not only about Tibet. The situation would deteriorate further during the following weeks.
On December 12, Patel was divested on his portfolios. Nehru wrote: “In view of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s ill-health it is absolutely necessary that he should have complete rest and freedom from worry, so as to be able to recuperate as rapidly as possible. …no work should be sent to him and no references made to him in regard to the work of these ministries.”
Gopalaswami Ayyangar, from the “other side”, was allotted the ministry of states and Nehru kept the ministry of home. The Sardar was only informed after the changes were made. He was a dejected man. Three days later he passed away.
Tags: Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru
Copyright © 2015 – 2018 Deccan Chronicle.
TIBETAN RESISTANCE MOVEMENT IS NOT ABOUT SEPARATISM
On behalf of Living Tibetan Spirits, I declare that The Tibetan Resistance Movement is not about Separatism. For centuries, Chinese Emperors ruled over Tibet without physically occupying Tibet. In other words, Tibetans enjoyed full freedom during the centuries of rule by foreigners. Tibetans resist the physical occupation of their territories. The issue is not that of separating Tibet from China. The issue is that of evicting the Occupier from Tibetan Soil.
CHINA LEADER CALLS FOR ‘ANTI-SEPARATISM EFFORTS’ IN TIBET
The Associated Press
FILE – In this Sept. 17, 2014, file photo, an Exile Tibetan woman wears a mask during a protest to highlight Chinese control over Tibet, coinciding with the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in New Delhi, India. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue, File)
A top Chinese leader has called for “advancing anti-separatism efforts” in Tibet, in a sign of continued high-pressure tactics in the Himalayan region.
Wang Yang, the ruling Communist Party’s No. 4 ranking official, was quoted Monday in state media as stressing the importance of tight control over Tibet’s Buddhist institutions, urging “preparedness and precautions for danger in times of safety.”
Religious figures must “be courageous to battle all separatist elements” in the name of preserving national unity and social stability, Wang was quoted as saying in Tibet’s regional capital of Lhasa during a visit there on Sunday.
Beijing’s forces occupied Tibet shortly after the 1949 communist revolution and security there has been ratcheted up significantly in the decade since anti-government protests spread through Tibetan areas in 2008.
The tactics in Tibet are largely aimed at reducing the influence of the region’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, who lives in exile in India. China claims Tibet has been part of its territory for more than seven centuries and regards the Dalai Lama as a dangerous separatist.
Many Tibetans insist they were essentially independent for much of that time.
Wang has broad responsibility for religious policy as head of the government’s top political advisory body. In his comments Sunday, he also echoed Beijing’s calls for the Sinicization of religion, shorthand for adherence to the dictates of the officially atheist party.
Among recent tightening security measures in Tibet, students were required to sign agreements to “not take part in any form of religious activity” during the summer school holidays.
Young Tibetan monks have also reportedly been forced to leave one of the biggest monasteries in a Tibetan region of western China as part of a drive to replace monastic life with secular education.
Recent months have also seen sweeping crackdowns on traditional Muslim culture among the Uighur ethnic minority group in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and among Christians in eastern China.
TIBET AWARENESS – LIVING TIBETAN SPIRITS WELCOME RECIPROCAL ACCESS TO TIBET ACT
To promote Tibet Awareness, Living Tibetan Spirits welcome The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act. Transparency and Public Accountability are important to re-establish Tibet Equilibrium.
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US HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES RECIPROCAL ACCESS TO TIBET ACT – TIBET POST INTERNATIONAL
US House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte delivering his statement in Washington DC, USA, on July 25, 2018. Markup of H.R. 1872, the “Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017”. Photo: Youtube Screenshot
Washington, D.C. — The Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act took a big step forward when the House Judiciary Committee approved the bill unanimously. The next step is for the act to move to the floor of the House of Representatives.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) Wednesday delivered the following statement during the Committee’s markup of the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017 (H.R. 1872). The Committee approved this bill by voice vote”.
Chairman Goodlatte in his statement said, “H.R. 1872, the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act of 2017, addresses an issue of longstanding and increasing concern regarding China’s treatment of Tibetans living in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas controlled by China.”
“In 1950, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army went into Tibet [Central Tibet] in order to establish control over the region. In the years since then, as noted by the U.S. Department of State, the Chinese Government “has imposed severe restrictions on Tibetans’ ability to exercise their human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the Committee said in a press release issued on July 25, 2018.
“Such restrictions occur with regard to religious practices, freedom to travel, freedom to practice cultural and language preferences, and other aspects of life,” Goodlatte said.
“In addition, the Chinese government routinely engages in human rights abuses, such as extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests,” Goodlatte added by saying: “In fact, the Chinese government’s actions are so severe that in recent years, over 150 Tibetans have self-immolated in a last ditch effort to get the rest of the world to focus on the problem.”
“In order to prevent documentation of the religious freedom restrictions and other human rights abuses to the outside world, the Government of China has severely limited access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions,” Goodlatte added to the statement.
“Such limitations prevent access to U.S. officials seeking diplomatic and consular access, journalists, human rights workers, and even tourists. When rare access is granted, activities are closely monitored by the PRC and information dissemination is restricted,” Goodlatte further said.
The statement quoted the US-based advocacy group for Tibet, ICT President Matteo Mecacci, who noted in a recent report that the Chinese government is trying to restrict access to Tibet to a degree that exceeds even North Korea, where at least some foreign media are based. By contrast, international journalists, diplomats and civilians are almost always denied access to Tibet, a historically independent nation that China has occupied for nearly 70 years and rules with an iron fist.
“In fact, travel by Chinese nationals, including those with direct and substantial involvement in the formulation of policies to restrict access to Tibet, is routinely allowed by governments all over the world, including the United States,” the Committee Chairman stressed.
According to the US House Judiciary Committee Chairman, “During FY 2017, for instance, nearly 1.5 million tourist visas were issued by the United States to Chinese nationals. And those visas are valid for ten years – during which the Chinese nationals can visit the U.S. multiple times. During that same period, the United States issued nearly 4,500 diplomatic visas to Chinese officials.”
H.R. 1872 prohibits an individual who is “substantially involved in the formulation or execution of policies related to access for foreigners to Tibetan areas” from being granted a U.S. visa if the Secretary determines that;
1) the requirement for specific official permission for foreigners to enter the Tibetan Autonomous Region remains in effect; or
2) such requirement has been replaced by a regulation that has a similar effect and requires foreign travelers to gain a level of permission to enter the Tibet Autonomous Region that is not required for travel to other provinces in China; and
3) restrictions on travel by officials, journalists, and citizens of the United States to areas designated as ‘Tibetan Autonomous’ in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, Yunnan, and Gansu of China are greater than any restrictions on travel by such officials and citizens to areas in such provinces that are not so designated.
“Any visa currently held by such individuals will be revoked under the bill,” the Committee said, adding: “The bill then requires the State Department to report annually to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on the number of actions taken regarding visas pursuant to the legislation.”
The Chairman also quoted the State Department as saying, “in recent years there have been very small inroads made with regard to access to the Tibetan areas. And while some have expressed the concern that moving this bill could make the Chinese Government roll back some of those inroads, moving this bill is the right thing to do. It is time that Congress take a stand with regard to access by foreign nationals to the Tibetan regions.”
“I want to thank Congressman McGovern for his work on this issue and I urge my colleagues to support the bill. I yield back the balance of my time,” says Chairman Goodlatte.
One by one, other committee members spoke up at this morning’s hearing in support of the bipartisan legislation, which seeks to ensure that Americans are given the same access to Tibet that Chinese citizens have to the United States.
Under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, Chinese officials responsible for discriminating against Americans who try to enter Tibet would be banned from entering the United States.
“If Chinese officials, journalists and other citizens are able to travel freely in this country, it’s only fair that their American counterparts are able to do the same,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the Committee, said that the bill is important because it can help expose human rights violations taking place in Tibet.
“For Tibetans, restricted access to the region leaves them in virtual isolation from the rest of the world,” Nadler said, “while also precluding international witnesses to the Chinese government’s continuous violations of the Tibetans’ human rights,” which include arbitrary arrests, torture, heightened surveillance and severe restrictions on religious freedom.
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) warned that “China is seeking to undermine the rules-based international order virtually every day.” Although China tries to keep the rest of the world out of Tibet, the Chinese government is sending a growing number of state delegations to Western countries and creating new state-controlled media outlets in capitals around the globe, including Washington D.C.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D.-Calif.) said the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act would help make sure China’s relationship with the U.S. is fair and reciprocal.
The bill, which was introduced by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.), now has more than 50 co-sponsors in the House. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rubio (R. – Fl.) and Sen. Baldwin (D. Wis.), and now has 8 co-sponsors.
In addition, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recently expressed support for reciprocal access to Tibet for Americans in his statements to the House and Senate Foreign Affairs Committees.
The totalitarian regime in Communist China began their invasion of Tibet in 1949, reaching complete occupation of the country in 1959. Since that time, more than 1.2 million people, 20% of the nation’s population of six million, have died as a direct result of China’s invasion and occupation. In addition, over 99% of Tibet’s six thousand religious monasteries, temples, and shrines, have been looted or decimated resulting in the destruction of hundreds of thousands of sacred Buddhist scriptures.
FBI Director’s threat assessment demands US–Tibet Direct Dialogue
In FBI Director Christopher Wray’s evaluation, China is ‘most significant’ threat to US. In my analysis, the threat posed by Communist China requires an immediate response. On behalf of Living Tibetan Spirits, I recommend US-Tibet Direct Dialogue to confront threats arising from spread of Communism to mainland China. It must be said, Tibetans understand China’s deception better than any other people in our world.
FBI Director Chris Wray says China is ‘most significant’ threat to US – Business Insider
FBI Director Christopher Wray at the Aspen Security Forum. Screenshot/Aspen Security Forum
Amid rampant discussion about Russian election interference and espionage, FBI Director Christopher Wray has deemed China the largest, most concerning threat to the US.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum on Wednesday, Wray was asked whether he saw China as an adversary and, if so, to what level.
“I think China, from a counterintelligence perspective, in many ways represents the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country,” Wray answered.
“And I say that because for them it is a whole of state effort. It is economic espionage as well as traditional espionage; it is nontraditional collectors as well as traditional intelligence operatives; it’s human sources as well as cyber means.
“We have economic-espionage investigations in every state, all 50 states, that trace back to China. It covers everything from corn seeds in Iowa to wind turbines in Massachusetts and everything in between. So the volume of it, the pervasiveness of it, the significance of it, is something I think this country cannot underestimate.”
The comments follow a 2017 report by the US trade representative that accused China of “trade secret theft, rampant online piracy and counterfeiting, and high levels of physical pirated and counterfeit exports.” The report found intellectual-property theft by China was costing the US up to $600 billion annually.
It seems a far more strategic and wide-ranging effort than Russia’s ongoing interference efforts, which dominated headlines in the US this week amid President Donald Trump’s widely panned summit with President Vladimir Putin.
Wray said Russia needed to be dealt with “aggressively,” but he seemed far more concerned with what he called China’s efforts to position itself as “the sole dominant superpower, the sole dominant economic power.”
“They’re trying to replace the US in that role, and so theirs is a long-term game that’s focused on just about every industry, every quarter of society in many ways,” Wray said. “It involves academia, it involves research and development, it involves everything from agriculture to high-tech. And so theirs is a more pervasive, broader approach but in many ways more of a long-term threat to the country.”
This isn’t the first time China’s patience and willingness to play the long game have been described as reasons its interference campaigns are more successful than those of Russia.
John Garnaut. Screenshot
Earlier this year, John Garnaut, who led a secret government inquiry into China’s political influence in Australia, told the US House Armed Services Committee that Russia preferred “focused, sharp strikes,” while Beijing’s actions were more incremental.
“Unlike Russia, which seems to be as much for a good time rather than a long time, the Chinese are strategic, patient, and they set down foundations of organizations and very consistent narratives over a long period of time,” Garnaut told the committee.
Garnaut’s report found China had attempted to influence politics at all levels in Australia. The Australian government has since introduced new foreign-interference laws— much to Beijing’s ire — and the issue is frequently discussed and debated in the public sphere.
It’s this widespread shift toward a consensus on China’s influence and interference attempts that Wray described as “one of the bright spots” since he became FBI director just over 10 months ago.
“It’s one of the few things I’ve seen that, in a country where it feels like some people can’t even agree on what day of the week it is, on this I think people are starting to come together,” Wray said.
“I see it in the interagency, I see it up on the Hill when I’m talking to the intelligence committees across the spectrum. I think people are starting to wake up and rub the cobwebs, or sleep, out of their eyes. And my hope is we’re in a moment where we can pivot and start to take this much more seriously.”
TIBET’S PROBLEMS RESULT OF SPREAD OF COMMUNISM TO MAINLAND CHINA
In my analysis, Tibet’s problems result of spread of Communism to mainland China in 1949. I view Tibet’s problems as mere symptoms of The Cold War in Asia. Most unfortunately, the US efforts to contain spread of Communism to mainland China failed. This setback does not mean that the world can ignore Tibet’s problems.
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TIBET’S PROBLEMS RESULT OF OLD CAUSES: DALAI LAMA
Dalai Lama (PHOTO: AFP)
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Monday said Tibetans believed in the law of causality and the Tibetan problem was a consequence of old causes that had ripened.
Talking to Australian audience in Sydney through video conferencing, Dalai Lama said according to Chinese history book, in 7th, 8th and 9th century, there were three major empires: the Chinese, Mongol and the Tibetan empire.
In the 9th century, due to some quarrel among the Tibetan emperor, Tibet disintegrated. The problem started during that century. After that I think Tibetans paid attention to their own small circle, including the lamas, locals and landlords in different parts of Tibet, resulting in disintegration, he said.
“History had produced that way. Old causes have already there, so there will be consequences. Nobody can change that,” Dalai Lama said.
He said Tibet remained as one entity because of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. “300 volumes of Buddhist texts translated from India and the language that covered the whole Tibetan area was what kept Tibetans as one entity. Otherwise in the political matter, for several centuries, we really neglected” he further stated.
Talking about global conflicts and lack of moral consciousness in societies, the Nobel laureate pressed for the need for a more complete education system that caters to the overall well being of a human being.
“Every 7 billion human being have every right to be a happy human being. Now the concern is the existing modern education. It is very much oriented towards material value.
Therefore the generation who receive that kind of education eventually goes on to create materialist life and materialistic culture. When they are faced with mental level problems, they are helpless,” he said.
Talking about mistakes in his life, he said ‘I think in political matter I feel there have been no major mistakes. At the age 16, I took the responsibility.
Then Tibet’s situation was very difficult and delicate so the Regent asked me to take the responsibility. The previous Dalai Lama took the responsibility at the age of 18. I told him that 16 was too early but the circumstances forced me to take the responsibility.
So I lost my own freedom.
At 24, I lost my country, then there were a lot of problems. But I think, now looking back, during those difficult periods, no major mistakes. I think all my major decisions eventually seem very correct, he added.
His Holiness mentioned an old Tibetan official who remained skeptical of His Holiness’ decision to flee Lhasa in 1959, but after the events of the Cultural Revolution, he concluded that the decision was correct.
LIVING TIBETAN SPIRITS – THE COLD WAR IN ASIA
Living Tibetan Spirits initiated Tibetan Resistance Movement during late 1950s with hope for defeating military occupation of Tibet using Infantry Weapons of Warfare. Indeed, there was such possibility of seriously degrading Enemy’s war machine during Vietnam War. Unfortunately, due to Nixon-Kissinger treason, Vietnam War remains unfinished. From military point of view, due to change in circumstances, ‘The Cold War in Asia’ may not be determined by tactics used in Infantry Warfare due to Enemy’s use of enhanced military capabilities.
In my analysis, the outcome in any war is not always determined by relative military power and military tactics used by parties engaged in conflict. The Cold War in Asia will come to its natural conclusion when Nature exercises Force/Power to influence human behavior and actions.
CHINA’S MILITARY IS WAGING A COLD WAR IN TIBET – THE NATIONAL INTEREST BLOG
In 2011, Beijing shelled out some 1.5 billion yuan (US$236 million) for the construction of an airport to serve the frigid wilderness of the Tibetan Plateau, saying it wanted to boost the local tourism industry.
Completed in 2013, Yading Airport has since handled no more than 150,000 passengers a year, equivalent to three or four daily flights carrying 400 travelers brave enough to enter the remote backwater. Little wonder: at elevation of 4,411 meters, the airport in southwestern Sichuan’s Daocheng county is the world’s highest, almost one kilometer above the gateway to Tibetan capital Lhasa.
With the air supply about 30% less than you would expect at sea level, it is said that oxygenators are one of the most vital pieces of equipment for airport ground staff to avoid medical complications such as acute mountain sickness. Aircraft flying into the rarefied air must also be equipped with oxygenators before each flight.
Yet this inhospitable airport’s location next to the Tibetan Autonomous Region does appeal to another group of travelers. The People’s Liberation Army has found a number of important roles for the facility, ranging from the testing of a new generation of jet-fighters to fending off missile threats from the Indian Ocean.
It is an open secret that Yading Airport was one of several testing grounds used for the locally built J-20 stealth fighter when it was plying the air route between Yading and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, where the jets were manufactured.
Analysts say the alpine climate, steep terrain and high elevation of the airport and its surroundings are ideal for reliability tests on the J-20 and similar warplanes. This is the same reason that the F-22 Raptor, the spearhead of the US Air Force, was tested in Alaska.
But Yading Airport’s significance also lies in the tactical advantages offered by its location at the roof of the world. The Chinese military can observe every movement at Indian installations in the Bay of Bengal, 1,000 kilometers to the southwest, as there is no mountain range blocking the view from Yunnan province across Myanmar.
Hong Kong-based military commentator Leung Kwok-leung noted that the PLA must have installed long-range early warning radars at the airport and it could also host an anti-missile shield at an elevation that would be the envy of other military services.
Chinese observers are undoubtedly monitoring movements by US nuclear submarines in and around the Bay of Bengal, and New Delhi’s construction of a nuclear submarine base there. As a result, Beijing is getting antsy about threats lurking on its southwestern front.
Yading could be the location for the world’s highest mid-range anti-ballistic missile defense system: using the elevation and low latitude, interceptors launched from the plateau could “hitch a ride” on the centrifugal force of the Earth’s rotation.
Leung said this would mean that the PLA could use anti-ballistic missiles launched from Yading to put down Indian or US missiles fired either from bases onshore or from vessels in the Bay of Bengal area while they were still ascending, in a “blocked shot manner”.
This article originally appeared on Asia Times.
RED CHINA – AGGRESSOR
In my analysis, Communist China, Red China is aggressor, hegemonist, imperialist, Expansionist,Neocolonialist, and Evil One occupying Tibet using military force. I do not consider the actions of Tibet, or of India to explain as to why Tibet lost Freedom in 1950.
HOW TIBET LOST ITS INDEPENDENCE AND INDIA ITS GENTLE NEIGHBOR
It relates to the sequence of events and the role of KM Panikkar, the Indian Ambassador in China, during the weeks after the invasion of Tibet.
Dekyi Linka, the Indian Mission in Lhasa till 1952 (thereafter the Indian Consulate-General).
Claude Arpi, holding the Field Marshal KM Cariappa Chair of Excellence from the United Service Institution of India (USI), for his research on the Indian Presence in Tibet 1947-1962 (in 4 volumes), has extensively worked in the National Archives of India and well the Nehru Library (on the Nehru Papers) on the history of Tibet, the Indian frontiers and particularly the Indian Frontier Administrative Service.
The Last Months of a Free Nation — India Tibet Relations (1947-1962) is the first volume of the series, using never-accessed-before Indian archival material. Though Tibet’s system of governance had serious lacunae, the Land of Snows was a free and independent nation till October 1950, when Mao decided to “liberate”it. But “liberate” from what, was the question on many diplomats’ and politicians’ lips in India; they realised that it would soon be a tragedy for India too; Delhi would have to live with a new neighbor, whose ideology was the opposite of Tibet’s Buddhist values; the border would not be safe anymore.
The narrative starts soon after Independence and ends with the signing, under duress, of the 17-Point Agreement in Beijing in May 1951, whose first article says: “The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist aggressive forces from Tibet; the Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the Motherland-the People’s Republic of China.” Tibet had lost its Independence …and India, a gentle neighbour.
Reproduced below are extracts from a chapter The View from the South Block.
It relates to the sequence of events and the role of KM Panikkar, the Indian Ambassador in China, during the weeks after the invasion of Tibet.
It is usually assumed that Sardar Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister wrote his “prophetic” letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister, detailing the grave implications for India of Tibet’s invasion. In fact, he used a draft sent to him by Sir Girija Shankar Bajpai, the Secretary General of the Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth.
On November 7, 1950, just a month after the entry of the People’s Liberation Army in Tibet, Patel sent Bajpai’s note to Nehru under his own signature Bajpai, the top-most Indian diplomat, was deeply upset by the turn of events; he also shared his note with President Rajendra Prasad, C. Rajagopalachari and others. Nehru ignored Patel’s letter and the views of his colleagues.
It is usually assumed that Sardar Patel, the Deputy Prime Minister of India wrote the “prophetic” letter to Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister, detailing the grave implications for India of Tibet’s invasion. In fact, he used a draft sent to him by Sir Girija Shankar Bajpai, the Secretary General of the Ministry of External Affairs and Commonwealth. On November 7, 1950, a month after the entry of the People’s Liberation Army in Tibet, Patel sent Bajpai’s note under his own signature, to Nehru, who ignored Patel’s letter.
Bajpai, deeply upset by the turn of events, had also sent his note to President Rajendra Prasad and C Rajagopalachari.
Girija Shankar Bajpai’s Note of October 31
Bajpai first noted that on July 15, 1950, the Governor of Assam had informed Delhi that, according to information received by the local Intelligence Bureau, Chinese troops, “in unknown strength, had been moving towards Tibet from three directions, namely the north, north-east and south-east.” The same day, the Indian Embassy in China reported that rumours in Beijing had been widely “prevalent during the last two days that military action against Tibet has already begun.” Though Panikkar was unable to get any confirmation, he virtually justified Beijing’s military action by writing: “in view of frustration in regard to Formosa, Tibetan move was not unlikely.” A few days later], Bajpai remarked that the Ambassador [Panikkar] had answered [Delhi] that he did not consider the time suitable for making a representation to the Chinese Foreign Office. Bajpai is more and more frustrated with Panikkar’s surrender to Chinese interests and perhaps also by the support that the ambassador gets from the Prime Minister. The Secretary General is clearly in a difficult position. Already on July 20, Panikkar’s attention had been drawn by South Block to the fact that Beijing’s argument that the “Tibetans had been stalling the talks,” was wrong. Panikkar had been informed by Delhi that the Tibetan Delegation should not be blamed for something they are not responsible for…
Panikkar brings in philosophical issues
India [Panikkar] attempted to change the Communist regime’s decision to “liberate” Tibet, by bringing a philosophical angle to the issue: “In the present dangerous world situation, a military move can only bring a world nearer [to a conflict], and any Government making such a move incurs the risk of accelerating the drift towards that catastrophe.”
Mao was not in the least bothered about such niceties.
Delhi again repeats its “philosophical” position: it would be bad for Beijing to invade Tibet: “The Government of India would desire to point out that a military action at the present time against Tibet will give those countries in the world which are unfriendly to China a handle for anti-Chinese propaganda at a crucial and delicate juncture in inter-national affairs.” Delhi is convinced that “the position of China will be weakened” by a (Chinese) military solution.
The Chinese plans are clear
The objective of Mao and the Southwestern Bureau in Chengdu is to occupy Chamdo, it is therefore clear that the PLA is preparing to enter “Tibet proper”. …The objective remains the fall of Chamdo before the winter, ambassador or no ambassador, negotiation or no negotiations.
As Tibet is invaded, Sir Girija’s narrative continues:
On October 17, the Indian Ambassador receives the full details of the Chinese invasion of Tibet. South Block confirms that Tibet has been invaded, it was “brought to our notice at the request of the Tibetan Government in a message sent through our Mission in Lhasa,” says a cable from Delhi. The next day, Panikkar continues to argue against the invasion having happened; he says that out of the incidents to which Lhasa has drawn Delhi’s attention, only one appears to be new.
Bajpai more upset
Sir Girija Bajpai is further upset when Panikkar argues: “Further I should like to emphasise that the Chinese firmly hold that Tibet is purely an internal problem and that while they are prepared in deference to our wishes to settle question peacefully they are NOT prepared to postpone matters indefinitely.”
This is written by the Ambassador of India.
(On October 22], Nehru cables the Ambassador in Beijing: “I confess I am completely unable to understand urgency behind Chinese desire to ‘liberate’ when delay CANNOT possibly change situation to her disadvantage.”
Finally on October 24, the Ambassador presents an aide-memoire to the Chinese Foreign Office. Bajpai notes “The contrast between the tone and content of the instructions sent to the Ambassador, and his feeble and apologetic ‘note’ deserves notice.” This raises a question, how could the ambassador present an aide-memoire without its content being vetted by South Block? It is a mystery.
Bajpai could only conclude that “from the foregoing narrative which I have been at some pains to document, that ever since the middle of July, at least, Peking’s objective has been to settle the problem of its relations by force.” From Mao’s cables, [one can see that] the invasion (or “liberation” for the Chinese side) did not at all depend on “negotiations” or “talks” with Tibetans. The army action had been decided since months.
Though Bajpai says that he is not interested to find “scapegoats”, he finally blames his ambassador to China: “The search for scapegoats is neither pleasant nor fruitful, and I have no desire to indulge in any such pastime. …however, I feel it my duty to observe that, in handling the Tibetan issue with the Chinese Government, our Ambassador has allowed himself to be influenced more by the Chinese point of view, by Chinese claims, by Chinese maps and by regard for Chinese susceptibilities than by his instructions or by India’s interests.” This is a strong, though late indictment of Panikkar.
Patel replies to Bajpai
…When on October 31, Sardar Patel wrote back to Bajpai: “The Chinese advance into Tibet upsets all our security calculations. …I entirely agree with you that a reconsideration of our military position and disposition of our forces are inescapable.” A few days later, Bajpai would write a note for Patel who sent it to Nehru, who did not even acknowledge it… Patel passed away five weeks later.
The rest is history.