Sino-Indian relations

Print edition : October 10, 1998

This refers to your timely article "Sino-Indian relations: What lies ahead?" (September 25). Thoughtless actions by the BJP-led Government have nullified the patient efforts made over years by earlier Governments to build bridges with our formidable neighbour, China. Mutual suspicion between India and China is a reality we have to live with, but high-level and other contacts between the Governments and the peoples of the two countries had generated some understanding and appreciation of each other's concerns.

Unfortunately, Defence Minister George Fernandes soured the relations by his loud criticism of China. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee is responsible for widening the rift. Apart from the deteriorated relations with Pakistan, India now has to contend with the problem of China. By all accounts, the present Government's single biggest blunder is that it spoiled the relations with the two neighbours and increased tensions all around.

It is time for restraint. Controversial statements must be avoided and quiet diplomacy begun. There must be confidence building measures to clear the misunderstandings. More cultural exchanges and sports meets must take place. Tourist traffic between the countries must be given a boost in order to improve mutual understanding and appreciation. The Prime Minister himself must take the initiative rather than leave it to a Minister or a special emissary. The country needs a full-time Cabinet Minister for External Affairs.

D.B.N. Murthy Bangalore

You deserve admiration for the courage shown in projecting a correct picture of India's relationship with China. That the Prime Minister was untruthful in his letter to the U.S. President is a matter of disgrace. We have to face the fact of Jawaharlal Nehru's betrayal when he ordered his Defence Minister to "drive out the Chinese". The President was out of the country and so was the Defence Minister. Nehru himself left for Colombo as soon as he issued the verbal order at the Delhi airport. Not many people are aware that the 1962 war was probably the only war in history in which one side did not take a single prisoner - China took 3,968 and India nil. This fact alone proves that we went into their house. At least, well-read persons should understand the truth and should not label China an aggressor.

The Congress did not allow anyone to criticise Nehru. Lata Mangeshkar was made to sing falsehood - "Dus dus ko ek ne mara" (each one killed ten) although Indian soldiers hardly killed any Chinese. It is sad that a country whose motto is "Satyameva jayate" should indulge in downright lies.

I have visited China five times and I have loved talking to the intelligentsia there. They are extremely cordial and wish us, but most of them are disturbed by the fact that India always calls China aggressor. It is a national tragedy that a political party can consider itself as being above the country and indulge in falsehood. Unfortunately, our habit of self-congratulation does not allow us to face facts. We have not yet tabled the "Brooks Henderson Report" because we wish to continue to hide the truth.

When will politicians realise that only truth, hard work and discipline can make a country great?

R. Singh New Delhi

Circumstances forced China to conduct nuclear tests in 1964. That situation cannot be compared with the circumstances of the Pokhran explosions. It would have been better had the BJP-led coalition Government concentrated on the problems of growing population, unemployment and poverty, rather than conducting nuclear tests. Even if India is recognised as a "nuclear state", what will we achieve? Will this give bread to our people? The Government should send some "wise people", as suggested by Ma Jiali, to China to repair the relationship that was damaged by Pokhran-II. Thank you for bringing covert issues to light.

S. Thamizhselvan Vedaranyam, Tamil Nadu

Frontline has provided lucid coverage of the Sino-Indian relationship before and after Pokhran-II. But there is a distinct bias. Nobody expects favourable comments from China or Pakistan on our nuclear tests. The Indian Government might have erred in singling out China publicly but the Chinese position that it is not a potential threat to India does not hold water. China alone is responsible for arming Pakistan with lethal weapons. If China wants India's good why does it not ask Pakistan to keep away from Kashmir? Why does China remain sore with India even as it faces a near-similar situation in Tibet? The tone of the Chinese scholars in the Cover Story was not friendly. It would have been more interesting if the views of Indian scholars and China experts were incorporated.

V.K. Mathur top@RDCISRAN.XEEIXR.xeemail.com NAM summit

India's overwrought reaction to South African President Nelson Mandela's reference to Kashmir at the 12th NAM summit in Durban was unwarranted ("New momentum for NAM", September 25). Courtesy Pokhran II, India is to blame for the internationalisation of the Kashmir issue. Can India ensure that the sensitive issue of Kashmir will not be raised at other summits?

As for the damage already done, India should tell the world that Pakistan has occupied major parts of Kashmir in breach of the United Nations resolution and the Shimla agreement. India should muster support from across the globe and solve this contentious issue.

Ashish Kumar Ambasta Dumka, Bihar Poison brew

With reference to "Hooch tragedy in Tamil Nadu" (September 25), it is rather difficult to eliminate illicit distillation and trade as long as Tamil Nadu observes a "partial prohibition policy". Either total prohibition must be enforced or comprehensive licensing of the trade, including the sale of arrack and toddy, should be introduced.

K. Ramadoss Chennai

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