Tuesday, November 16, 2021

'We are well prepared for any eventualities'

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu pays tribute to Veer Jawans
of the 5 Assam Rifles at the Chhetri War Memorial
near Tulung La pass at the India-Tibet border
 The first part of my interview with Pema Khandu, the Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh 'We are well prepared for any eventualities' appeared in Rediff.com

'Guarding the borders in extreme weather conditions is not easy and most people don't realise it is a very tough job.'

In April 2011, Dorjee Khandu, the chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, died in tragic circumstances in a helicopter crash.
Soon after, his elder son Pema succeeded him as the MLA of Mukto in Tawang district; he was then only 32 years old.
Five years later, on July 17, 2016, after a long period of confusion in the state, Pema Khandu took oath as the chief minister; soon after, he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
During the 2019 legislative assembly elections, Khandu won a landslide victory with 41 seats out of 60 for the BJP alone.
Under Khandu's leadership, the border state found badly needed stability which helped putting Arunachal Pradesh on fast track development, while preserving its own genius.
At a time when China social media is buzzing with threats of military action against Arunachal (with various verified or unverified handles releasing videos and photos of People's Liberation Army troops training close to the Indian border), Arunachal Pradesh's dynamic 42-year-old chief minister answers Claude Arpi's questions.
He speaks of the 'Philosophy of Arunachal', his visits to the troops posted at the LAC, but also of the development of the infrastructure, his vision for 'Low Volume High Value' (including spiritual) tourism and the importance of ecology for the entire Himalaya.
He concludes by putting on record that Arunachal Pradesh does not share any direct border with China, but only with Tibet; it is indeed the best answer to Beijing, who without any historical basis, continues to claim the entire Indian State.

The first of an exclusive two-part interview:

For decades the 'Philosophy of NEFA' has been the guiding policy for what is today Arunachal Pradesh (as well as the North-East in general).
It may have helped to preserve the tribal culture but it did not take care of the borders when India was attacked.
Do you have today a 'Philosophy of Arunachal'? If yes, can you elaborate?

The 'Philosophy of NEFA' propounded by Verrier Elwin included facilitating the local population to develop on their own genius, respecting tribal rights in land and forests and respecting the social and cultural institutions.
These contours are honoured even today.
But there is a significant change in the Government of India's approach to the northeast region, where earlier a Union government's minister coming even to Guwahati used to become news.
Today we have five ministers in the Union council of ministers from the northeast region, including a Cabinet minister from Arunachal Pradesh.
Every month we have visits from the Union government bringing in some important development scheme for the people.
This signifies a major shift in the mindset and the confidence of New India under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Developing our border areas and securing territorial integrity is the priority of our government both at the Centre and state.
The 'Philosophy of Arunachal Pradesh' is the same as the 'Philosophy of New India' which comes with the awareness of where we stand today and what we wish to achieve.
We care about the last person standing in the queue and our aspirations are not limited by our past.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu with Indian Army jawans on the occasion
of 22nd Kargil Vijay Diwas in Tawang

The media has lately reported your visits to forward posts and your interactions with jawans and officers.
Tell us about your motivations. And also about the importance of these visits. Should it be emulated by other CMs in other border states?

My father served in the Indian Army and having been born and lived most part of my life in the border region of Tawang district in India, I have seen the life of our security forces very closely.
Guarding the borders in extreme weather conditions is not easy and most people don't realise it is a very tough job.
By visiting our forces in the forward posts, I am only paying a humble tribute to them for the immense sacrifice they are making for our great nation.
I know many other leaders in our country who too visit border regions.
Visiting my uniformed brothers in forward posts is a very personal motivation and if other leaders and common people in other states too emulate it, would be a wonderful gesture.
I welcome fellow countrymen to come and visit forward posts of Arunachal Pradesh and understand the tough life of security forces and common citizens of the state.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu at Chuna with Indian Army soldiers.

Many in India believe that one should change the narrative of the 1962 War with China, in the sense that India did well in many areas (in the Walong sector for example). Do you plan to do something to change this 'defeat' narrative?

1962 is in the past, We have learned many things and is well prepared for any future eventualities.
I fully agree that the Walong sector triumph of our armed forces is under reported.
No matter what, the people of Arunachal Pradesh stand resolutely behind the armed forces.
Yes, We are developing the sites of the 1962 war as memorials in Tawang as well as the Walong area, it is an emotional feeling just to be present at those sites and experience the valour of the soldiers who fought then.
All these will tell the story, as it happened.

Chief Minister Pema Khandu with movie star Salman Khan.

China is building infrastructure on the other side of the border. For example, a new large airport is coming up in Lhuntse Dzong in Lhoka (Shannan); the train has reached Nyingchi, and the G219 (Aksai Chin road) to Tsari area and all along India's northern border?
What are you doing to counter this? What are Arunachal Pradesh's achievements in this field.

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji in the speech at the UN General Assembly had said, 'Democracy can deliver, Democracy has delivered.'
People of India and Arunachal Pradesh don't want to emulate any 'model of development' that tramples the liberty and culture of the local people.
Indian democracy isn't a 'one size fits all' model.
We are working towards providing amenities to the people in the border areas.
We are working aggressively to expand our road, rail and air network, improving communication networks and developing infrastructure to improve health and education status of our people.
The case in point is the Bogibheel bridge and the Dhola-Sadiya bridge which were pending for decades, it used to take hours to cross the Brahmaputra then.
Today because of the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the bridges got completed in record pace and can be crossed in minutes.
We will get our first airport in 2022 in Itanagar whose foundation was laid in 2019.
The Trans Arunachal Highway (about 1,600 km) is almost under completion and the Sela tunnel will make year-round travel to Tawang easy.
Eight new ALGs have become functional and around 1,000 new 4G towers are being installed in addition to the ongoing optical fibre projects to enhance digital connectivity.
All foothill areas will be connected with a rail network soon.
Surveys are being conducted to bring rail connectivity to Bame and high altitude areas like Tawang as well.
The list is long, yet our model of Compassionate Governance will have NO Match.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Chinese village in Arunachal: India must speak up!

My article Chinese village in Arunachal: India must speak up! appeared in Rediff.com

'China wants to change the status quo of India's Northern Border and proves that it can do whatever it wants in what it perceives as its own territory,' states Claude Arpi.

Here is the link...

On August 28, 1959, the Indian Ambassador in Beijing sent a strong note to China’s Foreign Ministry, to protest the fact that Chinese troops had violated Indian territory; after mentioning other trespassing in the Tawang and Ladakh sectors, the note says: “Another serious instance of violation of the Indian border and unlawful trespass into Indian territory by Chinese forces has just been brought to the notice of the Government of India. On the 25th August a strong Chinese detachment crossed into Indian territory south of Migyitun on the NEFA [North East Frontier Agency] border and fired without notice on an Indian forward picket [of the 9 Assam Rifles]. They arrested the entire picket which was twelve strong but eight Indian personnel somehow managed to escape. Thereafter the Chinese detachment outflanked the Indian outpost at Longju and opened fire on it from a distance of about 800 yards.”
For Delhi, the Indian outpost was “well within our territory, about two miles south of the international border.” The protest note affirmed: “There could be no doubt about the international frontier in this area and this is a case of deliberate aggression on Indian territory.”
Delhi concluded that it had taken very serious notice of the incident.
Three days later, the Indian public discovered with stupefaction that India and China had serious differences on the border; Prime Minister Nehru reported the incident in the Lok Sabha …and mentioned the construction of a Chinese road in the Aksai China area of Ladakh. India realized that large chunks of Indian territory, several thousand square kilometres in the Aksai Chin, were under Chinese control. It was the first time that the Government had made the legislators and the Indian public, privy to the situation on the border. 

Xiaogang Village
Sixty-two years later, China has built one of its infamous ‘Xiaogang’ (‘well-off’) border villages, a few hundred meters from the place where the Longju incident took place in 1959.
Since 2015, Tibet is said to have built 965 Xiaogang villages and relocated 266,000 people, many on India’s border. Official Chinese statistics said that by the end of 2019, “Tibet had lifted 628,000 people out of poverty and delisted 74 county-level areas from the poverty list.” ‘’Lifting out of poverty’ is a euphemism for relocating thousands of Tibetans.
Longju now has one of such villages; it was reported by NDTV: China had built some 101 homes in the remote place of Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The TV channel acquired satellite imagery dated November 1, 2020; the images, analyzed by several experts, confirmed:“the construction, approximately 4.5 kms within Indian territory of the de facto border. [the McMahon Line]”
It is of huge concern to India, added the channel: “Though this area is Indian territory, according to official government maps, it has been in effective Chinese control since 1959 [which is not correct as we shall see]. However, earlier only a Chinese military post existed, but this time a full-fledged village that can house thousands has been built. The village, located on the banks of the River Tsari Chu, an area which has been long disputed by India and China.”
As we have seen, the new village is located near Longju, a highly symbolic place, which witnessed the first clash between India and China in 1959. Incidentally, it was five months after the arrival of the Dalai Lama in India and the attack on the Assam Rifles’ platoon seemed to have been a ‘punishment’ for granting asylum to the Dalai Lama.

Year 1956
The year of the Monkey-Fire was a special year; the young Dalai and Panchen Lamas were honoured guests of India on the occasion of the 2500th anniversary of the birthday of the Buddha, 1956 also witnessed another momentous event: the last Tsari Pilgrimage.
In the Tibetan psyche, Tsari has always been synonymous of ‘sacred place’. With the Mount Kailash and the Amye Machen in eastern Tibet, the pilgrimage around the Dakpa Sheri, the ‘Pure Crystal Mountain’ has, for centuries, been one of the holiest of the Roof of the World. The ‘Pure Crystal Mountain’ lies at 5,735 meters above the sea in the Tsari district, north of the McMahon Line.
Toni Huber, one of the foremost scholars on the subject, wrote a great deal about the site of the pilgrimage, between Tsari and today’s Upper Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh: “The large-scale, 12-yearly circumambulation of Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims around the mountain known as the Rongkor Chenmo, had the character of a state ritual for the Ganden Phodrang [Tibetan Government]. Pilgrims in this huge procession crossed the McMahon Line below the frontier village of Migyitun in Tsari district,” wrote Huber. After crossing the McMahon line, the procession would proceed southwards along the Tsari chu (‘river’) towards Longju and Maja, where an Indian Army post is today located and then turn westwards to follow the Subansiri, to finally cross back into Tibet to reach the first frontier village in Chame county.
The southern leg of the Rongkor procession crosses the tribal areas of Upper Subansiri. This was the territory of the Mara clan of the Tagin tribe who live downstream in the Tsari chu valley and around its confluence with the Subansiri at Gelensiniak.
It is most regrettable that this sacred place has today become the symbol of Chinese aggressive and hegemonic policies. The now-retired Gen Zhao Zhongqi, who headed the Western Theater Command till recently, probably made it a point to build this village on Indian territory, knowing that India would not know how to respond.

India continues to patrol
Let us return to history.
Throughout 1962, the Indian Assam Rifles continued to patrol the place. In a letter addressed by Nehru to his Chinese counterpart on December 1, 1962 (two weeks after the cease-fire), Nehru pointed out: “In Longju both Governments agreed that neither Chinese nor Indian personnel should occupy the village. However, it is known that Longju lies within the Indian side of the line of control, whereas Migyitun is on the Chinese side.”
A week later, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing gave its own version: “Longju is a village in the Migyitun area, and India itself has admitted that Migyitun is situated to the north of the illegal McMahon Line. This village was invaded and occupied by Indian troops in June 1959, but was recovered by China after the armed conflict instigated by Indian troops in August 1959. Following that, China not only restored its administrative control over Longju, but also maintained a post there for a period of time.”
Beijing added that the Indian allegation that both sides had agreed that neither Chinese nor Indian personnel should occupy the village, was ‘pure fabrication’.
On December 19, 1962, Delhi strongly objected to China ‘very boldly’ saying that the Indian stand was ‘pure fabrication’, it requested Beijing to read again Zhou Enlai’s latter of December 17, 1959 addressed to Nehru, in which the former had stated: "Pending the above-mentioned agreement, the Chinese Government, in a conciliatory spirit and out of the desire to move towards the withdrawal of armed forces along the entire border, is prepared to agree first to reach a partial solution by applying the proposal you have made in your letter for the non-stationing of the armed forces of both sides at Longju to the other disputed places on the border as well."
During the following years, China started slowly creeping in, eventually a small border post in the area. Delhi kept quiet.
Today, China wants to change the status quo of the Indian Northern Border and proves that it can do whatever it wants in what it perceives as its own territory. It has serious implications elsewhere on the border, particularly in the Aksai Chin area, where Beijing has started exploiting the largest zinc deposits in the Middle Kingdom. If India does not object now, it will be too late in Aksai Chin too.
If China was really interested by peace, as it pretends in every international fora, it should reopen the Rongkor pilgrimage for world peace around the Dakpa Sheri, instead of opening new fronts against India.


Wednesday, November 10, 2021

The Phantoms of Chittagong: The unsung Tibetan heroes of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war

My article The Phantoms of Chittagong: The unsung Tibetan heroes of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war appeared in Firstpost

Here is the link...

On 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh, we need to recall one of the best-kept secrets of the war: The role played by the Special Frontier Force, a highly trained Tibetan regiment based in today’s Uttarakhand, in the Chittagong Hills.

We are soon going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh from the clutches of the dictators of West Pakistan. One of the best-kept secrets is the participation of the Special Frontier Force (SFF), a highly trained Tibetan regiment based in today’s Uttarakhand.
The SFF played an important role along with the Mukti Bahini, the Bangladeshi freedom fighters, in the liberation war in the Chittagong Hills.

Creation of SFF
SFF was founded in November 1962, a week before China’s unilateral cease-fire. The idea was that the Tibetans would themselves ‘liberate’ Tibet!
Dapon Ratuk Ngawang, a senior Tibetan officer (who has now passed away), explained how the SSF became known as ‘Establishment 22’ or simply ‘Two-twos’: the first commandant of the force was a senior Indian Army officer, Brig (later Maj Gen) Sujan Singh Uban, an artillery officer, who had earlier served as Commander of the 22 Mountain Brigade.
The Phantoms of Chittagong The unsung Tibetan heroes of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war

SFF and the Bangladesh war

The Official History of the 1971 War published by the Ministry of Defence mentions all the victorious battles, but the Tibetan regiment is not even cited and today it is extremely difficult to find any document proving the Tibetan soldiers’ participation. This is mainly due to inter-services rivalry.
A few years ago, Dapon Ratuk (the rank of ‘dapon’ approximately corresponds to a Commanding Officer) explained in an interview: “The Tibetan regiment known as Special Frontier Forces (SFF) has never functioned under the control of the Indian Army. It was established in 1962, after the India-China war. The main objective of the regiment was to fight the Chinese Army (with the help of the Indian Army). At the time of the creation of the force, we thought that the operations could be based at Lhuntse Dzong in Tibet (near the Indian border). The plan was to engage the Chinese Army in a military conflict within five-six months of the force’s creation. But the India-China war came to an abrupt end on 22 November 1962, and due to international pressure to maintain peace, no further military engagements occurred with China. Therefore, the services of the Establishment 22 regiment were not used for what had been planned.”

However in 1971, the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi thought of using the Tibetan force to conduct guerrilla warfare within East Pakistan; she mentioned this to RN Kao, the then Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Chief.

Brig Uban wrote in his memoirs, The Phantoms of Chittagong: “Suspecting it to be a long drawn-out affair, the Government of India sent for me as an expert in unconventional guerilla warfare and asked me to study the situation by visiting the border areas and meeting people and to submit a report, which I did after a hurried visit to the affected border areas and meeting several Bangladesh youth leaders.”

He goes on to explain: “My personal visit confirmed what the map showed, that is Bangladesh was a paradise for guerilla warfare. Forests and hills, rivers, streams and lakes made many areas inaccessible. Yet there was fish and fowl in abundance to keep a guerilla force functioning independently.”
The Phantoms of Chittagong The unsung Tibetan heroes of the 1971 Bangladesh liberation war

He added an important aspect: “On top of that if you take on a disillusioned and angry population of 75 millions, one can visualise the Force needed by the martial law authority to maintain a semblance of order in any part of that country, a guerilla warfare I thought would suck Pakistan dry of troops and resources if it ever decided to retain this part under its possession.”

Uban proposed to conduct guerilla operations in the Chittagong Hills in order to cut the retreat route of the Pakistani troops. He recalled, “Apparently General Manekshaw (the then Army Chief) had been thinking on similar lines and one day sent for me to investigate this possibility. Our minds met and I set out to prepare this Special Force of Northern Hill Tribes (the Tibetans) for this new venture. Leaders and men of this force did not take much time to understand the full implication of joining this venture and they made a representation in writing that they [should] be allowed to participate and make some contribution if ever Pakistan forced this war on India.”

Uban had two fighting forces under his command: The SFF as a commando force and the Mujeeb Bahini, the elite Bangladeshi force.

SFF’s involvement
In early 1971, the Tibetan force heard that during a special meeting called by the Indian Army in New Delhi, Brig Uban had volunteered to lead the Establishment 22 in the Bangladesh liberation war: “It was SS Uban Singh and my colleague Dapon Jampa Kalden who voluntarily decided to take part in the War,” recalled Ratuk.

The narrative from the old Tibetan officer continued: “Later they told me about their plans. First, I refused to join them… I told them that the Establishment 22 had not been created to fight ‘for India’; rather it was established with the sole aim to fight the Chinese.”

Finally, after a directive came from the Department of Security of the Central Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala, Dapon Ratuk accepted. “The Department told us that there was no alternative but to go to war ‘for India’. Moreover, they told us that the Indian government was in a very critical situation at that time and our participation in the war could help save a lot of Indian lives,” he recalled.

Through Brig Uban, the force was in direct contact with RN Kao, responsible for the External Intelligence in the Cabinet Secretariat.

The old Dapon remembered: “Once the decision to participate in the operations was taken, Dapon Dhondup Gyatotsang (he lost his life during the 1971 Operations), Dapon Pekar Thinley and myself divided the regiment into three units. We decided that each one of us would lead one unit in the war. Due to his age and despite his military experience, Dapon Jampa Kalden couldn't take part in the operations; he remained the administrative link between the Indian government and Establishment 22.”

The fascinating story of the Establishment 22 continued: “After we captured Chittagong, Kao came to visit our regiment (in Uttarakhand) and gave awards and speeches in praise of the Tibetan unit's heroic battles” — a sort of acknowledgment of the sacrifice made by the Tibetans to liberate a country which was not theirs.

Before the operations
It is not surprising that the SFF was already present in East Pakistan several months before the official start of the operations.
Some years ago, Dapon Jampa Kalden gave us another perspective: “Initially there was some guerilla training given in places like Tamil Nadu, to the Bangladeshi guerrilla groups, the Mukti Bahini. The training was given by the Indian Army.”

In December 1970, a year before the beginning of the Army operations, the force was informed of the possibility of a war. In March 1971, it became obvious that India would have to go to war to liberate Bangladesh in order to solve the issue of millions of refugees in West Bengal. Jampa Kalden recalled that in February 1971, the SFF had already started infiltrating Bangladesh along with the Mukti Bahini. At first, it was probably for reconnaissance only, simply because “the operation was decided in March (1971) but we were already in Bangladesh in February. I was there two months before the operations were decided”, said the Tibetan officer.

He further explained: “The Mukti Bahini was very good at making guerrilla plans and at guerrilla tactics. Mukti Bahini was solely responsible; they would go on their own and fight. We were responsible to support the Mukti Bahini and provide some reinforcement to them. The real battle started in March.” This was after the massacre of the students on the campus in Dacca by Gen Tikka Khan on 25 March.

Asked why very few in Eastern Command headquarters in Fort William in Kolkata knew about the operations in the Chittagong Hills, he replied: “Our headquarters was independent. (We were under) Chittagong Hill Tract Area command and I was in charge with Brig SS Uban.”

This created some friction with the Army; many were not keen to acknowledge the role of the Establishment 22. Worse, the force was not even allowed to parade in Chittagong after the victory. This was just petty jealousy!

Incidentally, the force had only one helicopter. The pilot, Sqn Ldr Parvez Rustomji Jamasji, had to carry out all the duties, para-dropping over the battle sites, rations and ammunition dropping, rescue operations, etc — a feat in itself for which the young pilot was awarded Vir Chakra.

For their part, the Tibetans have never been officially rewarded or acknowledged.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dragon flaunts ‘firepower’ across LAC to ward off growing internal challenges

Bunkers near the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh
My article Dragon flaunts ‘firepower’ across LAC to ward off growing internal challenges published in Firstpost

Here is the link...

President Xi Jinping has not left China for almost two years; it is not difficult to understand why if one looks at the domestic problems he has on his plate

What is going on in China? One thing is sure that the Middle Kingdom is going through turbulent times, to say the least. One just needs to look at the 13th round of the India-China Corps Commander level meeting, held at Chushul-Moldo post in Ladakh on 10 October. We are now told that the process of disengagement failed to move forward.

India said that it was necessary for the Chinese “to take appropriate steps in the remaining areas so as to restore peace and tranquility along the LAC in the Western Sector”. The Indian side, therefore, “made constructive suggestions for resolving the remaining areas, but the Chinese side was not agreeable and also could not provide any forward-looking proposals. The meeting thus did not result in resolution of the remaining areas”.

While the Indian negotiators regretted that “the atmosphere has changed suddenly”, China had been quicker to move… and blame India. Most commentators could not explain why the negotiations failed.

A quick look at the two press releases (the Indian one quoted above and the one provided by Col Long Shaohua, the spokesperson of the Western Theatre Command based in Chengdu-Sichuan), helps us to understand. Nowhere are mentioned the names of the commanders who met for nearly nine hours. Why?

From the Indian side, like for the previous rounds, the talks were led by the General-Officer-Commanding (GOC) of the 14 Corps based in Leh, a post presently held by Lt Gen P G K Menon (earlier, Menon’s predecessor, Lt Gen Harinder Singh conducted the first rounds).

What is strange is that nobody seems to know who led the Chinese side. It is usually the commander of the South Xinjiang Military District (SXMD), a post held till recently by Maj Gen Liu Lin. A few weeks ago, Liu Lin was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and transferred to Urumqi (Xinjiang) as commander of the Xinjiang Military District (XMD) overlooking the SXMD (and the Ladakh front).

Liu Lin’s promotion meant that the Central Military Commission or CMC (read Xi Jinping, its Chairman) was happy about the way that he dealt with India. Since then, the SXMD, China’s most strategic and ‘hot’ front, has had no commander.

Can you believe it?

This is why both sides agreed to leave a blank on the names of those who conducted the talks (it is rumoured that an officer posted in Urumqi, without a real mandate, was nominated as a stop-gap to replace Gen Liu Lin). What does this mean?

It shows that in India, a democracy, the passing over between commanders at all levels is a smooth affair, announced well in advance in the media; it is not the case in totalitarian China, unable to ‘replace’ its commanders in time, resulting in confusion and an inability to “provide forward-looking proposals”. Some Chinese social media have suggested that it was due to the high rate of “mountain sickness” among the officers and soldiers.

It probably means that President Xi Jinping, also CMC Chairman, is unable to find adequate officers who can fit the bill of professionalism, knowledge of the terrain and, critically, are faithful to the Party, i e the Emperor; the latter being the most important criteria.

As a result, the two armies will probably face each other during the forthcoming harsh winter. India will have no choice but to be prepared; this was stated by Gen M M Naravane, the Chief of Army Staff.

Knowing that the talks were bound to fail in the absence of someone mandated to discuss with India, China was quick to move. The Western Theatre Command headquarters immediately released a communiqué: “Instead of misjudging the situation, the Indian side should cherish the hard-won situation in China-India border areas,” commented Senior Colonel Long Shaohua, the spokesperson, who said that the Chinese side had made great efforts “to promote the easing and cooling of the border situation and fully demonstrated China’s sincerity of maintaining overall interests of bilateral military relations. However, the Indian side still persisted in its unreasonable and unrealistic demands, which added difficulties to the negotiations”.

It pointed out that China was firm in its resolve to safeguard national sovereignty: “The Indian side should avoid misjudging the situation and cherish the hard-won situation in the China-India border areas. The Indian side should abide by the relevant agreements and consensus reached between the two countries and two militaries, show sincerity and take concrete actions to jointly safeguard peace and stability in the border areas with China.”

China, it is well known, has great expertise to point a finger at others for mischiefs that it has itself committed.

A few hours later, The Global Times followed the same track and accused India, warning: “PLA border troops maintain high alert, prepared for upcoming confrontations… The harshly worded statement issued by the Chinese government on China and India failing to reach an agreement during their latest round of corps commander-level talks, showed China's subtle change of attitude toward India, and the country's staunch determination to protect its territorial and sovereign integrity.”

In other words, China was now fed-up with India (for the PLA having entered India’s territory); to prove its points, the Communist mouthpiece quoted different ‘analysts’.

These ‘experts’ brought up in the process a couple of incidents created by the PLA in Barahoti in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand, where over 100 soldiers and 55 horses transgressed over five km into the Indian territory by walking south of the watershed — the Tunjun-la pass. A few days later, a large number of Chinese soldiers entered into India at Yangtze in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh; the Indian Army and Intelligence Bureau later confirmed the reports of border transgression which lasted for three hours on 9 October.

The Chinese scholars conveniently said: “India has been triggering new incidents along the eastern section of the border recently.” They argued that China should not only refuse “to give in to India's arrogant demands at the negotiating table, but also be prepared to defend against new Indian military aggression.”

But there is more than the local situation. The Sixth Plenum of the Communist Party of China is soon coming up (probably mid-November) and Xi Jinping is under great pressure from many quarters and in these circumstances, he could not afford to ‘give away’ anything in Ladakh.

The forthcoming Plenum explains the PLA’s latest aggression on India’s northern borders, but also near Taiwan where hundreds of Chinese planes have recently trespassed into Taipei’s airspace.

The same Global Times published an editorial stating that mainland China will have a showdown with Taiwan if the Taiwanese authorities continue to make trouble colluding with the United States and Japan. It suggested that the PLA fighter planes could fly over the island of ‘rebel’ Taiwan: “This is a step we must take… It will be a clear and unmistakable declaration of China’s sovereignty over Taiwan, and will create unprecedented conditions for us to further implement this sovereignty.”

Xi has several other problems on his plate, whether it is in Xinjiang, with the continuous unrest of the Uyghur population; in Hong Kong, which is slowly being assimilated to the mainland; with the endless power-cuts affecting the industries and individuals; the quick collapse of Evergrande Group and the real estate market; the purge of more and more senior Party officials (on October 2, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said that Fu Zhenghua, the former minister of justice, was being investigated), and many more issues.

In the circumstances, one understands that Xi does not have the time to find a replacement for Gen Liu Lin and can’t afford to withdraw from more disputed areas of Ladakh. The media onslaught on India has simply been to divert the attention of the Chinese public, from far more serious issues. Incidentally, President Xi has not left China for almost two years; it is not difficult to understand why

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Great Han Chauvism once again

Wang Junzheng, new TAR party Secretary
In 2004, I had mentioned one of the cancers of Communist China: The Great Han Chauvinism (see post below).

The situation seems to be getting worst, particularly in Tibet or Xinjiang.
The Chinese media just announced  that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) had decided to nominate Wang Junzheng of Han nationality as Secretary of the Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR); he become de facto a member of the TAR Standing Committee.
A Chinese website explained: "On October 19, the Tibet Autonomous Region held a meeting of leading cadres, at which Comrade Zeng Yichun, vice minister of the Central Organization Department, announced the decision of the Central Government; Zeng said that the adjustment was made by the Central Government [Beijing] in the light of the overall situation, according to the work needs and the actual construction of the leadership team of the Tibet Autonomous Region, after thorough consideration and careful study."
So far, not a single Tibetan or non-Han has made it to Party Secretary's seat, can you believe it?
The situation is similar in Xinjiang with the Uyghur minority being second-class citizens.
Seventy years after having 'liberated' the Tibetans, the latter are still slaves of the Han majority.
It is ironical that during the forthcoming Sixth Plenum of the Communist Party (November 8 to 11), President Xi Jinping will boast about the achievements during the 100-year rule of the Communists in China (and 70 years in Tibet).
But, he will certainly not mention the fate of the Tibetans or Uyghurs and why they are not given the top responsibility.

The Communist Party of China is in fact a racist Party, not giving any place to the minorities.
Can you imagine such situation in India: if West Bengal or Tamil Nadu never had a Bengali or Tamil Chief Minister since Independence?
This is the situation in Tibet, Xinjiang or Inner Mongolia.
Simply shameful.

Wang widely Sanctioned
According to The South China Morning Post, Wang is China’s highest ranking official "to be widely sanctioned over accusations of human rights violations in March, during his tenure as Xinjiang’s deputy party secretary and security chief. His boss, Xinjiang party chief Chen Quanguo, appeared only on the Donald Trump administration’s sanctions list announced last year."
The Hong Kong newspaper added: "Wang’s promotion underlines Beijing’s snub of the West’s response to its policies in Xinjiang, as well as its growing interest in the pool of officials who have been held up as examples of competence in areas with large ethnic minority populations. He served as Xinjiang’s security chief from 2019 before starting his most recent role last year as political commissar of the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, while retaining his post as deputy party chief."
The years to come are going to be tough for the Tibetans.
No question, of course, to negotiate anything with Dharamsala.

Wu's farewell speech
While leaving Wu Yingjie said: "I have lived on the Tibetan plateau for more than 60 years, worked for 47 years, traveled through the mountains and waters of Tibet, personally witnessed the human miracle of Tibet under the leadership of the Party in just a few decades, spanning thousands of years. Tibet is my home and the Tibetan people will always be my relatives. I feel extremely happy to be able to live here, work here and grow here, feel proud to be able to dedicate the most precious youthful years of my life here, and feel extremely honored to be able to plow, struggle and harvest together with my comrades here. Looking back on the work and life in Tibet, looking back on the unforgettable years with all of us together, remembering the instructions, thanksgiving and progress, many scenes are real, many past events are vividly remembered, all of them make me deeply moved, infinite fondness."
Interestingly, Wang has never been posted in Tibet. It is definitively a change of policy from the rulers in Beijing.

About Wang Junzheng
He is born in May 1963, in Linyi, Shandong Province; he has a postgraduate degree and a doctorate in management. He is currently an alternate member of the 19th Central Committee.

Chinese name: Wang Junzheng
Nationality: China
Ethnicity: Han Chinese
Place of origin: Linyi, Shandong
Birth date: May 1963
Graduated from Shandong University

  • 1981.09-1985.07 Shandong University, Department of Scientific Socialism, majoring in Scientific Socialism
  • 1985.07-1988.08 Master's degree in Scientific Socialism, Marxist-Leninist Institute, Renmin University of China
  • 1988.08-1993.10 Section officer and deputy chief section officer of the General Office of the Ministry of Labour, chief section officer and deputy divisional secretary of the Minister's Office
  • 1993.10-1994.09 Deputy Divisional Secretary and Full Divisional Secretary, General Office of Yunnan Provincial Party Committee
  • 1994.09-1995.06 Deputy Secretary, Guandu District, Kunming City, Yunnan Province (at divisional level)
  • 1995.06-1998.12 Secretary of Guandu District Committee of Kunming City, Yunnan Province
  • 1998.12-2000.11 Standing Committee Member and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of Kunming City, Yunnan Province
  • 2000.11-2003.10 Standing Committee Member and Director of the Organization Department of Kunming Municipal Committee, Yunnan Province
  • 2003.10-2003.11 Deputy Secretary of the Kunming Municipal Committee and Director of the Organization Department, Kunming City, Yunnan Province
  • 2003.11-2005.01 Deputy Secretary of Kunming Municipal Party Committee and Minister of Propaganda Department, Kunming City, Yunnan Province
  • 2005.01-2007.05 Vice-President of Yunnan Provincial High People's Court
  • (1998.09-2006.07 Postgraduate studies in Business Administration, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, PhD in Management)
  • 2007.05-2007.06 Deputy Secretary of Lijiang Municipal Party Committee, Yunnan Province
  • 2007.06-2007.11 Deputy Secretary and Acting Mayor of Lijiang City, Yunnan Province
  • 2007.11-2009.12 Deputy Secretary and Mayor of Lijiang City, Yunnan Province
  • 2009.12-2012.09 Secretary of Lijiang Municipal Party Committee, Yunnan Province
  • 2012.09-2013.05 Vice Governor of Hubei Province
  • 2013.05-2013.06 Vice-Governor of Hubei Province, Secretary of Xiangyang Municipal Party Committee
  • 2013.06-2013.09 Standing Committee Member of Hubei Provincial Party Committee, Secretary of Xiangyang Municipal Party Committee
  •  2013.09-2016.01 Member of the Standing Committee of Hubei Provincial Committee, Secretary of Xiangyang Municipal Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Municipal People's Congress
  •  2016.01-2019.01 Member of the Standing Committee of the Jilin Provincial Committee and Secretary of the Changchun Municipal Committee
  • 2019.01-2019.02 Standing Committee of the Party Committee of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
  • 2019.02-2020.04 Standing Committee of the Party Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region
  • 2020.04-2020.05 Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Secretary of the Party Committee of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, at full ministerial level 
  • 2020.05-2020.09- Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee and Secretary of the Political and Legal Committee of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Secretary of the Party Committee and Political Commissar of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, Chairman of the Board of Directors of China New Construction Group Corporation, at full ministerial level
  • 2020.09- Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Secretary of the Party Committee and Political Commissar of Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, Chairman of the Board of Directors of China Xinjiang Group Corporation, full ministerial level 
  • 2021.10- Secretary of the Party Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region. 
The Great Han Chauvinism still in full bloom in the Middle Kingdom.
Here is my 2004 article

A A few years back, I wrote an article, Flag and nationalities on the issue.

The recent unrest in Tibet has generated a healthy debate in India. Some sections of the Indian society like the Kashmiri Pandits now view their plight through the Tibetan prism (the bad luck of the Pandits is that they never had a charismatic leader like the Dalai Lama, though India’s ruling family belong to their community and they have remained a divided lot).
Some others say that we should give time to China to change and progressively evolve into a decent democratic system. They are probably not aware that the ‘time’ is also clocking against India’s interests. Last year alone 3.8 millions of Chinese ‘visited’ Tibet using the railway line to Lhasa; a few lakhs of them settled on the Roof of the World. Like in the Nepal case, when we will realize that the situation is irreversible, it will be too late. And it is India which will have to suffer.
More than twenty years ago, I had asked the Dalai Lama how will Tibet regain its independence (or autonomy). He had answer: “It does not depend on us Tibetans, changes will come from within China”.
It seems also clear that he was not expecting the United States or India to offer him on a platter the most cherished dream of his people. This statement may be disappointing to those who believe that he is only banking on the Great White Chief in Washington.
He repeatedly said that the people of China will bring about changes in their own country which will give a chance to the people of Tibet to fulfill their aspirations. 

 This is a far more plausible alternative than any other, including a dead-locked dialogue between Dharamsala and Beijing. In this context, three letters addressed to President Hu Jintao by the veteran Tibetan Communist leader Phuntsok Wangyal, who had led the Chinese troops into Lhasa in September 1951, could trigger a larger debate in China once the Olympics are behind us.
Wangyal (known as Phunwang by the Tibetans) told Hu several interesting things: the Dalai Lama’s demise would only radicalize young Tibetan hardliners frustrated with his ‘middle way’ approach; he reminded the Chinese President about his own objective to establish a harmonious society; and if Hu would strive for the return of hundreds of thousands of exiled Tibetans, he could turn ‘confrontation into harmony’.
The present debate veers around the place and status of the nationalities within the People’s Republic of China.
A historical incident about the Tibetan flag gives an indication of the direction in which the question could go.
In the 80’s, I had interviewed Phuntso Tashi Takla, the Dalai Lama’s brother-in-law who was in charge of the Tibetan leader’s security when the latter visited China in 1954-55. Takla recalled: “At that time [in 1954] because the Chinese occupation of Tibet was not complete, the Chinese extended full courtesy and cooperation to the Dalai Lama. On some occasions Mao Zedong came himself to the Dalai Lama’s residence [in Beijing]. During one of the several discussions that the Dalai Lama and Mao Zedong had, they were talking on some subject, when Mao [suddenly] said: “Don’t you have a flag of your own, if you have one, you can hoist it here [on the Guest House]”.
Takla was surprised to hear Mao Zedong speaking thus.
Personally I did not immediately realize the importance of Mao’s point, but when I later read Phunwang’s biography, I understood better the incalculable implications of the Chairman’s statement.
It is worth quoting Phunwang: “One day, Mao unexpectedly came to visit the Dalai Lama at his residence… During their conversation, Mao suddenly said, "I heard that you have a national flag, do you? They do not want you to carry it, isn't that right?"
Phunwang further recalled: “Since Mao asked this with no warning that the topic was to be discussed, the Dalai Lama just replied, "We have an army flag." I thought that was a shrewd answer because it didn't say whether Tibet had a national flag. Mao perceived that the Dalai Lama was concerned by his question and immediately told him, "That is no problem. You may keep your national flag." Mao definitely said ‘national’ flag [tib. rgyal dar].
The Chairman added that in the future the Communist Party could also let Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia have their own flag. He then asked the Dalai Lama if it would it be fine for him to host the national flag of the People's Republic of China in addition to the Tibetan flag. Phunwang says that the young Lama nodded his head and said ‘yes’: “This was the most important thing that Mao told the Dalai Lama, and I was amazed to hear it” later wrote Phunwang.
His mind immediately started racing. He was not sure if Mao had discussed this with other leaders in the Politburo or if it was his own idea: “As I had always paid great attention to the Soviet Union's nationality model, I was excited because I took Mao's comment that Tibet could use its own flag to mean that China was contemplating adopting the Soviet Union's ‘Republic’ model, at least for these three large minority nationalities.”
Phunwang realized that the innocuous remark of the Great Helmsman had far reaching consequences for the future of China and particularly for the Tibetans.
Unfortunately Phuwang was arrested in April 1958; he ‘needed to cleanse his thinking'. He spent the following 18 years in solitary confinement. This gave him time to ponder about Mao’s remarks on the flag and the ‘nationalities’ issue and their place in the People’s Republic of China. His studies of Marxism led him to believe that the relationship between nationalities in a multiethnic state should be one of complete equality.
He wrote: “In socialist states, the majority nationality does not (or should not) oppress the minority nationalities. All should be equal, and there should be complete unity and cooperation among nationalities.”
The Great Han Chauvinism
Most of the problems facing China today are due to the Great Han Chauvinism. The State (or Central Government) had to guarantee the equality amongst nationalities (by not imposing Chinese language over a ‘nationality language’ such as Tibetan for example).
Phunwang was finally rehabilitated at the end of the seventies.
In the early 80’s, Phunwang managed to send a 25,000 character memo to senior Party leaders such as Deng Xiaoping, Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang. He stressed that the outcome of a debate on the question of nationality would have a huge impact on future work in ‘minority nationality areas’ such Tibet.
After Hu Yaobang and Deng Xiaoping instructed the officials not to remove him as a member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, his stand seems vindicated.
In May 1980, a delegation headed by Hu Yaobang, then General Secretary of the Communist Party of China visited Lhasa. Hu Yaobang was shocked to see the level of poverty in Tibet. During a meeting with the Party cadres, he asked “whether all the money Beijing had poured into Tibet over the previous years had been thrown into the Yarlung Tsangpo [Brahmaputra] river”. He said the situation reminded him of colonialism. Soon hundreds of Chinese Han cadres were transferred back to China and Tibetan language rehabilitated. Tibet witnessed a few years of glasnost.
The debate started by Mao’s remark more than fifty years ago and reignited by Phunwang twenty years later, is still on. Will Hu Jintao and his colleagues listen to Phunwang’s point on the issue of nationalities or will the Great Han Chauvinism prevail once again?
The fate of Tibet depends on which side the wind will blow in Beijing not on CIA operations?
In the meantime, it is not advisable to go around Lhasa with a national Tibetan flag: Mao’s Thought has not percolated that much in China.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Stop China from erasing ‘the heart of the world’

My article Stop China from erasing ‘the heart of the world’ appeared in The Asian Age and The Deccan Chronicle

Unfortunately, we can’t expect an atheist regime in Beijing to understand the meaning of the word 'sacred'

Here is the link...

Have you heard of the “Hidden Land of Pemako”?

It is the area where China is planning to build mega hydropower stations in the Great Bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) during its forthcoming 14th Five Year Plan.
This project, three times the size of the Three Gorges dam, which is extremely hazardous for downstream nations such as India, has another dimension -- the disappearance of one of the world’s most sacred places.

Unfortunately, we can’t expect an atheist regime in Beijing to understand the meaning of the word “sacred”.

In pursuit of Xi Jinping’s theory, “to govern the nation, govern the borders; to govern the borders, strengthen the development of border regions”, China has given a concrete shape to the new Great Helmsman’s slogan by building some 600 “model” villages, many in sacred areas on the Tibetan side of the Indian border.

Whether it is with the hydropower plants or the new villages, the hallowedness and pristine purity of these areas are being lost forever.
Ian Baker, a Buddhist scholar and author of The Heart of the World: A Journey to the Last Secret Place, extensively wrote on Guru Padmasambhava, “the king of all hidden lands”, visiting Pemako in the eighth century.
Baker explained: “The very eastern end of the Himalayan range is [Pemako], where the [Yarlung] Tsangpo Brahmaputra river makes this great bend, a hairpin bend, around the peak of Namcha Barwa, at the very terminus of the Himalayan range … just hearing about the great and blissful land of Pemako …that is the path to enlightenment.”
Baker visited Pemako several times: “I tried to follow what is called the sequence of the outer and inner circles into Pemako, leading into a kind of a paradisiacal round at the very heart of the circumambulation.”
That mythical place will soon be destroyed by Chinese engineers.

Baker writes: “Shambhala was represented as the mandala, with different ways leading into it from the peripheries. …As one enters the mandala, it is a transforming as well as a transformed space and condition. In Pemako, people describe the body of Dorjee Phagmo, a particular tantric Buddhist goddess called Vajravarahi in Sanskrit.”
What will happen to this paradise on earth after the tunnel-digging machines arrive? The Chinese propaganda nevertheless speaks of creating a beautiful place by preservation of “ecology and [providing] livability, health, charm, and happiness”. Is this compatible with a hydel plant three times the size of the Three Gorges Dam? Where will the goddess take refuge? Moreover, will she agree to these “human” plans?
Another travesty: Drolkar, an unknown Tibetan woman from a remote hamlet in southern Tibet, suddenly came into pre-eminence in China when, this year, she was awarded the “July 1 Medal”, the most prestigious recognition by President Xi Jinping on the occasion of the Communist Party of China’s completion of 100 years. Why?
In October 2017, Mr Xi had sent a letter to two young Tibetan herders, Drolkar and her sister, who had introduced their village, Yume, north of the Indian border, to him.
President Xi thanked them “for the loyalty and contributions they have made in the border area. Without peace in the territory, there will be no peaceful lives for the millions of families”.
The girls’ village, Yume, located a few kilometers north of the McMahon Line, not far from the remote Indian village of Takshing, suddenly became the model village for the next 600.
Yume was one of the most sacred places in Tibet and the terminus for the holy Tsari pilgrimage. China Tibet Online, a Chinese website, praised the area thus: "Hailed as Tibet’s Shambhala, Tsari township boasts its lush vegetation, moderate weather, still lake, running brook, vast forest, holy mountains as well as a variety of herbs.”
While still one of the most sacred pilgrimages in Tibet along with the Kailash Yatra, Tsari was incidentally the site of the first clash between the Chinese and Indian troops in Longju in August 1959.

One of the unique characteristics of this pilgrimage was that it ran right across the Indo-Tibetan border (McMahon Line), one half being in Tibet, the other in the North East Frontier Agency (India).
Yume played an important spiritual role in the Yatra. Toni Huber, the author of The Cult of Pure Crystal Mountain: Popular Pilgrimage and Visionary Landscape in Southeast Tibet, wrote: “During the second week of the third Tibetan month, the initial rituals for ‘mountain opening’ began in the village of Yume in the western part of Tsari. At that time the protective deities of the mountain were worshiped. This annual, week-long period of ceremony and festival was called Chöle Chenmo or ‘The Great Religious Work’, and it was primarily a ritual performed by local villagers [of Yume].” Today the villagers worship the red flag of CPC and paint the rocks around the village in red colour.
 Huber speaks of “a knowledgeable local man who had taken over the role of annually opening the mountain from two hereditary lamas …As their names suggest, they used certain magical powers generated by way of ritual formulae to facilitate the clearing of a path through the often deep spring snows encountered on the mountain, and to avert avalanches that might sweep down on the pilgrims”. These were Drolkar’s ancestors.
The inhabitants of Yume and the Tsari valley were the “servants’ or ‘keepers” of the Yatra’s tradition; they had “an active role in staging village-based festivals of worship for the gods and goddesses of the mountain”. According to Huber: “Yume was the original centre of development for tantric retreats at Tsari …It is said that the original meaning of Chöle Chenmo was to mark the end of the winter meditation retreat by yogins in the Yume area and to worship the tantric sky-goers.”
All this ended with the invasion of Tibet in 1951.

While totalitarian China has almost completely erased the sacred tradition, it is certainly something that democratic India could promote; New Delhi should develop all the sacred places near the borders with Tibet (in Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Himachal, Sikkim or Arunachal Pradesh), particularly all the places which have been blessed by Padmasambhava, Guru Nanak, the lamas or local saints.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Nothing new in Dragon’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy; it actually started when India was ‘nice’ to China

1971: China enters the UN Security Council

My article Nothing new in Dragon’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy; it actually started when India was ‘nice’ to China appeared on Firstpost.

India has to fight her own battles alone, and should not expect any ‘friend’ to come to her rescue, especially when facing China

Nothing new in Dragon’s ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomacy; it actually started when India was ‘nice’ to China

Here is the link...

In a couple of months, India will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the liberation of Bangladesh from the tyranny of the Pakistani generals. It is perhaps an occasion to take a look back at some of the events which marked those momentous months of 1971. It is interesting to look at the attitude of China, which at that time had just been admitted to the United Nations.

But let us first go back to October 1949. Soon after Mao Zedong declared from the rostrum of Tiananmen Square that ‘China has risen’, the then Indian prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, decided to recognise the Communist regime in Beijing. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel could not understand the hurry. On 6 December 1949, he wrote to Nehru: “It seems your intention is to recognise China soon after the UN session ends, even if it means that others are not ready by then or prepared to do so. My own feeling is that we do not stand to gain anything by giving a lead.”

Nehru immediately replied: “Our advisors [read VK Krishna Menon] are of the opinion that it would be definitely harmful to recognise… after the Commonwealth have done so. It would mean that we have no policy of our own, but follow the dictates of other countries.”

Nehru won the battle. On 31 December 1949, India was the first nation, with Burma, to recognise the Communist regime.

A few months later, the US State Department offered to sponsor India for a seat in the Security Council; Nehru refused.

On 30 August 1950, he wrote to his sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, then the Indian Ambassador in the United States: “You mention that the State Department is trying to unseat China as a Permanent Member of the Security Council and to put India in her place. So far as we are concerned, we are not going to countenance it. That would be bad from every point of view. It would be a clear affront to China and it would mean some kind of a break between us and China.”

Again in 1955, when the Soviet Union offered to sponsor India’s case for a permanent seat, Delhi refused. In his three-volume biography of Nehru, Sarvepalli Gopal wrote: “He [Nehru] rejected the Soviet offer to propose India as the sixth permanent member of the Security Council and insisted that priority be given to China’s admission to the United Nations.”

For China, the great day finally arrived at the end of 1971, when the People’s Republic of China took the seat occupied by Formosa (Taiwan) and made a formal entry into the UN.

Had China by then become a ‘normal’ state? No, though the Cultural Revolution had just ended, the power struggle continued. In September 1971, Lin Biao, defence minister and heir-apparent of Mao, died in a mysterious aircraft crash while he was fleeing to Mongolia. Officially, he was preparing a coup against Mao.

Huang Hua, first Chinese representative to the UN
But nine years after the 1962 war with China, India probably thought that it could engage with China; Delhi was happy that Beijing was finally admitted to the Security Council.

On 27 October 1971, prime minister Indira Gandhi wrote to her Chinese counterpart, Zhou Enlai, conveying: “[India’s] felicitations on the restoration of the legitimate right of representation of China by your government in the United Nations. This will make the United Nations more representative in character and will give greater weight to Asia’s participation in the deliberations for any decisions of this organisation.”

It was six weeks before the Bangladesh war began. On 15 November 1971, in a speech to the world body, the Indian Permanent Representative to the UN, Samar Sen, spoke of a “perverse mistake” to not have admitted China earlier. At the time, Delhi thought that Beijing would appreciate its gesture.

But hardly three weeks later, Huang Hua, China’s representative in the UN Security Council, made a scathing attack against India: “The Indian government has openly sent troops to invade East Pakistan... The question of East Pakistan is purely the internal affair of Pakistan, in which no one has any right to interfere.” He proceeded to say: “The Indian government asserts that it has sent troops to East Pakistan for the purpose of ‘self-defence’. This is sheer gangster logic. The facts show that it is India which has committed aggression against Pakistan, and not Pakistan which has 'menaced' the security of India.”

What about the 10 million Bangladeshi refugees? Was this also India’s fault?

The next day, on 5 December 1971, Huang Hua presented a draft resolution to the Security Council for consideration; Beijing asked for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Indian troops from Bangladesh (East Pakistan for China).

Two days later, Chiao Kuan-hua, another Chinese representative at the UN, made another statement pointing out that the Indian government was an outright aggressor. He linked the issue with the presence of the Dalai Lama and several of his countrymen being refugees in India, saying that “this is indeed absurd to the extreme”, that Delhi had no alternative but to send troops to Bangladesh. Was China apprehensive that one day India could try to liberate Tibet?

Speaking of the Tibetan refugees, China said: “The Indian ruling circles had also some time ago forcibly coerced several tens of thousands of the inhabitants of China's Tibet into going to India and set up a so-called government in exile headed by the Chinese traitor—Dalai Lama. To agree that the Indian government is justified to use the so-called refugee question as a pretext for invading Pakistan is tantamount to agreeing that the Indian government will be justified to use the question of the so-called ‘Tibetan refugees’ as a pretext for invading China.” He told the UN General Assembly that it was “utterly ridiculous”.

In the meantime, the duo Richard Nixon-Henry Kissinger was trying to convince Mao and Zhou to intervene and send troops into the Chumbi Valley to attack India.

Pakistan's General Niazi was told to hold out for help from “Yellows from the North and Whites from the South”—the Chinese and the Americans. The aircraft carrier Enterprise was indeed on the way; but the ‘yellows’ never came.

Kissinger had planned a scheme to intimidate Indira Gandhi: “The United States would illegally allow Iran and Jordan to send squadrons of US aircraft to Pakistan, [then] secretly ask China to mass its troops on the Indian border, and [we will] deploy a US aircraft carrier group to the Bay of Bengal to threaten India. Urging Nixon to stun India with all three moves simultaneously, Kissinger observed: “I’m sure all hell will break loose here.”

All that to show that, like in the past, India has to fight her own battles alone, and should not expect any ‘friend’ to come to her rescue, especially when facing China.

And when ‘experts’ speak about a new phenomenon, i.e. the appearance of the ‘Wolf’s Warriors’ (the ‘barking’ Chinese diplomats), they should read history. It started long ago, even when India was ‘nice’ to China; ‘niceties’ have never influenced the Communist regime.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Liu Lin sent up to Urumqi

Lt Gen Liu Lin, commander XMD
According to Caixin, Maj Gen Liu Lin, formerly commander of South Xinjiang Military Region/District (SXMD) has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and to the grade of deputy commander of a Theater Command.

Caixin noted: “A military cadre by training, he has served in the Xinjiang Military Region/District (XMD) for a long time and participated in two major military parades.”

Liu Lin is known in India for having been the interlocutor of the 14 Corps Commander in Moldo/Chushul in Ladakh during the 12 rounds of talks following the Chinese incursions in several places in Ladakh; Liu Lin headed the Chinese delegation.

Liu Lin’s promotion means that the Central Military Commission (read Xi Jinping, its Chairman) is happy with the way that he dealt with India.
Xinhua added: “Long-serving Xinjiang Military Region commander Liu Lin has recently been promoted to the grade of deputy of the Theater Commander (‘War Zone’) and to the rank of lieutenant general (two-star).

According to Xinjiang News and Xinjiang Daily, the autonomous region (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or XUAR) held a ‘work meeting’ on September 18 to implement the spirit of the 8th National Conference on Counterpart Support to Xinjiang.
Liu Lin attended the meeting, along with two 19th Central Committee alternate members, Wang Junzheng, deputy secretary of the Xinjiang Party Committee and party secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Ayrken Tuniyaz, member of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Party Committee and vice chairman of the XUAR.

Liu Lin himself is not part of the Central Committee …as yet.
He may soon be nominated to the XUAR's Standing Committee too.

Footage from Xinjiang News Network showed Liu Lin wearing a lieutenant leneral's uniform and a six-row, one-star seniority badge, indicating that he has been promoted to the rank of deputy ‘War Zone’ (Theater Command).

Gen Wang Haijiang (before his promotion)

“Gen Liu Lin previously served as commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region (SXMD) and has held several military commander-level talks with the Indian side since the Sino-Indian border conflict in 2020”, noted Xinhua.
The Indian negotiators in Ladakh (the 14 Corps commander) will now face a new commander during the 13th round of talks in Moldo/Chushul.

An artillery man, Lt Gen Liu participated in Zurihe military parade on 2017 as leader of the self-propelled artillery team.

Importantly for India, both Lt Gen Liu Lin, the new XMD commander and Gen Wang Haijiang, who is the commander of the Western Theater Command (based in Chengdu), looking after the Tibet and Xinjiang borders, have an in-depth knowledge of the Indian frontiers and the Indian forces opposite the People’s Liberation Army in these areas.

Gen Wang Haijiang who was recently promoted to full general (three-star) by Xi Jinping, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, was posted in Tibet (TMD) in 2016 as deputy commander, then as commander, before being transferred on April 1, 2021 to Urumqi as XMD commander (a post now occupied by Liu Lin) and in August he was promoted to the rank of general to take charge of the WTC.

Gen Liu Lin Resume

Liulin (Lieutenant General)
Commander of the Xinjiang Military Region of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
Term of office: September 2021-present

Personal Information
Gender: Male
Born: 1964
Nationality: People's Republic of China
Political Party: Communist Party of China Communist Party of China
Military rank: Lieutenant General of the Chinese People's Liberation Army

Lieutenant General Liu Lin served in the Xinjiang Military Region for a long time, serving successively as commander of the 8th Division of the Xinjiang Military Region, chief of staff of the South Xinjiang Military Region, deputy commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region and commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region
He now been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General

Gen Wang Haijiang's promotion last month (behind Xi)