Thursday, September 22, 2016

On China, when shall we learn the lessons?

My article On China, when shall we learn the lessons? appeared in the Edit Page of The Pioneer

Here is the link ...

In dealing with Beijing, New Delhi has since the 1950s been persuaded by the myth of Chinese warmth for India and Indian interests. The much-heralded Panchsheel was a disaster that few are willing to accept

Several years ago, during a conference in an Indian university, the chief guest, a senior Indian diplomat who had served in the UN, suddenly cited the Panchsheel Agreement between India and China: “It was the best thing that Nehru did as Prime Minister”, he said. Having worked on the subject, I was flabbergasted. How could an intelligent person who has seen the files and is supposed to understand geopolitics, say this? The agreement was independent India's worst sell-out.
India gave away its assets and rights in Tibet (military escorts, trade agencies, trade mats, dak bungalows, telegraph lines, Indian enclave, etc) while getting nothing in return. But in the mind of many romantic thinkers, the ‘Agreement on Trade and Intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India’, signed April 29, 1954, in Beijing, has remained glamorous for its preamble, containing the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence.
For TN Kaul, who was one of the Indian negotiators, India was just getting rid of her colonial past: “But, more important was the fact that they were vestiges of imperialist domination and violated the principle of equality, Jawaharlal Nehru’s policy was not a replica of British policy.” At that time, most Indian diplomats, having to imitate the voice of their master, sang the same tune, though Tibet, an independent nation for nearly 2,000 years, lost its freedom in the deal. Lhasa had not even been consulted.
For the Indian Prime Minister, it represented “an attempt, the first in post-World War II history, to put bilateral relations between the two big countries of Asia on a principled basis.” When Nehru presented the agreement in Parliament, he was in his revolutionary mood; he proclaimed: “Now we must realise that this revolution that came to China is the biggest thing that has taken place in the world at present, whether you like it or not.”
In the same speech, he  summed-up the Panchsheel Agreement thus: “No one should invade the other, no one should fight the other... this is the basic principle which we have put in our treaty.” Forgetting that China had just invaded Tibet, Nehru concluded, “In my opinion, we have done no better thing than this since we became independent… I think it is right for our country, for Asia and for the world.”
That a diplomat could repeat the same thing 50 years later, greatly surprised me; he had obviously failed to remember that eight years after the signature, Nehru was ‘betrayed’ by Zhou Enlai, when Communist China attacked India.
But was he really betrayed? I recently came across a fascinating document which shows that some diplomats were fully aware of China’s game. On March 18, 1954, five weeks before the signature, N Raghavan, the Indian Ambassador to China (who was negotiating the agreement in Beijing), sent a personal note to the Prime Minister: “It was drawn up on the basis of my own observations and experience as also of my study of Chinese relations with us since the advent of New China. I have tried to take as objective a view as possible”, he wrote.
The Ambassador told the Prime Minister, “The Chinese, unlike our warm-hearted people, are not emotional by nature, and while the Indian people often display an emotional approach towards China, the Chinese themselves have none such towards India… Any friendship [in China] is evaluated from the standpoint of its usefulness to China.”
Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai was entirely an Indian myth.
The Ambassador’s note shows that Nehru had been warned several years before the situation deteriorated on the border, culminating with a short war in October 1962.
Raghavan remarks: “After a careful examination and objective analysis of the various trends, expressed and implied I came to certain conclusions.” He saw two main periods during his tenure.
The first one was between November 1952 and December 1953, “the period of India’s active participation in the settlement of the Korean question, was not only an extremely trying time in Sino-Indian relations, but was, to some extent, a period of revelations”.
The Ambassador wrote to the Prime Minister that China remained “correct and friendly, without being warm and cordial”, but the communists “prepare the way for the cultivation of warm and cordial relations with the ‘People of India’, as distinct from the Government of India”.
Beijing waited the “for the emergence of a ‘People’s Government’ and to do what they can to advance and accelerate such emergence”, but until then, they “play down India and belittle the achievements of her present Government including its contribution to world peace and progress”, Raghavan noted.
The Chinese aim was to project India “as a capitalist country, suffering from all the economic and political ills of capitalism, colonialism and feudalism; …awaiting ultimate liberation by her people”.
Beijing made sure that “India does not increase her stature in the international fields so that China’s ultimate role as the leading Asian Power will in no manner be affected or threatened”. This sounds familiar to this day, ie thwarting India’s bid to join the NSG or have a seat in the Security Council.
Raghavan notes that China never gave credit to the Indian Government for its role in the Korean conflict because, “to the Chinese mind, no credit was due”. The Ambassador added: “It was thought that the Indian Government could not have pursued any policy other than one of utmost assistance to China as the Indian people would not have allowed anything else to be done.” During a Party’s secret session in Beijing in February 1953, it was stated: “Indian Government, as it is today, is a capitalist Government and to that extent, not reliable; India, as she is today, cannot be considered a friend, but is useful, as she is more or less certain to remain neutral in any conflict.”
Raghavan admitted, “It is true that for centuries China remained self-centered. No other country seemed to exist for China.” He added: “At times, one is led to wonder whether there exists a lurking feeling in some Chinese circles of rivalry — even of jealousy — a fear that India may be a threat to Chinese leadership of Asia.”
Later, when Beijing did not need Delhi anymore for the Korean conflict, India was completely ignored; Raghavan's conclusion was: “Perhaps it is felt that any publicity concerning Indian achievements would not be helpful to the new regime in China in its propaganda to establish Chinese superiority in all fields.”
Nehru did not listen to the warning. Has the situation changed today? Today, South Block is more busy tweeting than looking into the past. It is a real pity. What about the mindset in Beijing? Has that changed since 1954?
If it has, Beijing should demonstrate it by siding with India in the latter’s fight against terrorism.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The End of the Saga: from Toofanis to Rafale

According to PTI, Jean Yves Le Drian, French Defence Minister will land in Delhi on September 22.
He will be accompanied by the CEOs of Dassault Aviation, Thales and MBDA (and Safran?) to seal the 7.87 billion Euros deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets.
PTI says: “Defence sources said if all goes well, the Inter Governmental Agreement (IGA) will be signed on September 23.”
Apparently the cost, offsets and service details have been finalised and work is progressing on the IGA. A ‘working team’ from France is in Delhi "with their own translators are going through the contract, running into several thousand pages, with their Indian counterparts."
It is the end of a long saga which started in 2001. (Read my Rafale Saga on this blog).
On this occasion on the conclusion of The Deal, I published below a cable sent by H.S. Malik, the Indian Ambassador to France on October 26, 1953.
The cable is addressed to the Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and relates to the sales of Ouragans (Toofanis in India) aircrafts to India.
The planes were sold to India …by Dassault.

One should mention that at the time, the relations were then very tense between France and India over the French Settlements of Pondicherry, Yanaon, Mahe and Karikal.

Incidentally, Paris issued yesterday a statement on the terrorist attack in Uri: "France most firmly condemns the terrible terrorist attack perpetrated on 18 September against an Indian army camp in the region of Kashmir. It conveys its condolences to the families of the 17 Indian soldiers killed in this attack.
France remains at India’s side in the combat against terrorism. It calls on every State to fight effectively against terrorist groups operating on their territory or from their territory against other countries."

Here is Ambassador Malik’s message.

My dear Panditji,
All of us in the Embassy who have been working on the implantation of the contract with the Defence Ministry here for the supply of Ouragan aircraft were greatly relieved and delighted when we got the news that our four pilots with the four Ouragans had reached Palam safely. This flight from France to India has involved a great deal of organizational work for which much credit is due to the team of the Indian Air Force Officers working here under Wing Commander Akut.
In this connection, I venture to being to your notice the wonderful cooperation that we have received both from the French officers of the Ministry of Defence, from the Cabinet Minister downwards, and from the French industry. We signed the contract only last June. Already four planes have reached India; another 35 are being sent on October the 30th on the aircraft carrier DIXMUDE, and the remainder, 32 aircraft, will be dispatched in January 1954. I think you will agree that this is indeed prompt execution of the agreement as embodied in the contract between us and the French. This agreement is being carried out both in the spirit and in the letter and there has been no instance of any attempt to delay or obstruct. Our pilots who came here to learn to fly this type of aircraft, which was new to them, won the admiration and respect of the French Air Force and, generally speaking, the other members of the Indian Air Force who have come to France for the requisite training to enable them to carry out the servicing of this aircraft in India have, in spite of the language handicap, applied themselves with energy and devotion to their task and have made friends and won the respect of the people among whom they have lived. I am personally very proud and full of admiration for the way in which Wing Commander Akut and his team of technical officers have done their job here and of the way in which our pilots and the other Indian Air Force personnel have done their job in France.
I have been thinking for some time whether it would not be possible to use the opportunity provided us by this cooperation and collaboration by the French to relive somewhat the existing unfortunate state of relations between India and France on account of the position which we naturally have had to take up vis-à-vis the stupidity and lack of imagination of the French over the question of the French Settlements in India as also over the question of the French North African Possessions. Yesterday, when I was lunching with the President at Rambouillet, an idea came to me after my conversation with Mme Paul Auriol, daughter-in-law of the President, who as you probably know is a most distinguished and famous Aviatrix, being one of the two women who have crossed the sound-barrier. Mme Paul was present at the luncheon and during our conversation which was over the subject of the supply by France, of the Ouragon aircraft to India, she said laughingly: “Wouldn’t be nice if we could all be at Bombay to be present on the arrival of the DIXMUDE with the 35 French Aircraft purchased by India, on board?” Incidentally, the President was most friendly at luncheon and, among other things, drank a toast to India coupling your name with it, and hoping that France and India would go ahead working together in the cause of peace.
Mme Paul Auriol’s remark revived in my mind what had already been simmering there on the subject of some gesture by us to show the French how much we appreciate their cooperation in this matter. I feel that it would be a nice gesture on our part if we could fly out by Air India and back, the French Air Minister and his wife, the principal officer of the Air Ministry with whom we have been dealing (Commdt. Serralta), the Head of OFFEMA who have been the intermediaries between us and the Defence Ministry, and the Head of the firm Marcel Dassault who assemble the aircraft. I would also include in the party, Mme Paul Auriol because of her extremely distinguished flying record which is the pride of France. Her inclusion would have a very good effect on French public opinion.
From our side, there would be myself and my wife (since the Air Minister's wife would be going, I think it would be proper if my wife also was in the party), our Military Attache Brig. Chopra who has been in general charge of the execution of the contract, and Wing Commander Akut who has been personally responsible for most of the work. My idea would be that the entire party should reach Bombay in time to be present when the DIXMUDE reaches Bombay (say, about the 20th November). They could then participate in any official ceremony that might be arranged for this occasion. They would then be flown to Delhi where the French members of the party would be the guests of the Government of India for 4 or 5 days during the course of which some sight-seeing and some social functions might be arranged for them. I believe that a gesture of this kind would help a lot in taking away some of the bitter taste that is at present attached to French Indian relations.
I realise that this proposal involves a good deal of expenditure on our part, but I believe it would be money well spent. In this connection it would perhaps be pertinent for me to tell you of an incident in connection with this contract which I believe is significant and representative of the spirit in which the French are implementing the contract. Although the contract did not provide for it, in the informal talks the subordinate French representatives had told our people that they would provide an aircraft carrier for the transport of these planes to India. Subsequently, it transpired that this particular aircraft carrier was not available as it had gone to sea for certain manoeuvres. The French then told our people that the aircraft would have to be shipped to India by ordinary merchant ships. Since under the contract we have to bear the expenses on the transport of the planes to India, this would have involved not only considerable delay but very heavy Charges both on account of freight and on account of dismantling, packing etc., of the aircraft before shipment. When I heard all this, I immediately got into touch with M. Pleven, the Defence Minister, and told him of this development and asked for his intercession. He assured me straightaway that he would look into the matter personally and see to it that we got satisfaction. Thereafter, another aircraft carrier was placed at our disposal as a result of the personal intercession of the Defence Minister himself. This has saved us not only great inconvenience and delay but something like Rs 5,50,000/-. The point is of course that the French were not bound to do this under the terms of the contract and did it as a gesture of goodwill towards us. I feel strongly that it would be well worthwhile to reciprocate this goodwill by the plan that I have ventured to put forward to you in this letter.
I have of course not mentioned this idea to any of the French officials, and will do so only if you approve. I have no doubt that a visit to India by the above party as the guests of the Government of India would be greatly welcomed by the French.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Panchesheel: it is right for our country, for Asia and for the world or Born in Sin?

The ‘Agreement on Trade and Intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India’ was signed April 29, 1954 in Beijing.
It has remained (in)famous for its preamble, containing the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence; the Agreement became known as the Panchsheel Treaty (from Pali, panch: five, sheel: virtues)
Soon after the signature one could hear the refrain: “The Government of India found its old advantages in Tibet (military escorts, trade agencies, trade mats, dak bungalows, telegraph lines, etc..) of little use and in any case the Chinese exercised full control in Tibet.”
For P.N. Kaul, who was one of the Indian negotiators, India was just getting rid of her colonial past: “But, more important was the fact that they were vestiges of imperialist domination and violated the principle of equality, Nehru's policy was not a replica of British policy and he did not want any irritants of no practical value.”
Tibet had been an independent nation for nearly 2000 years; in one stroke India was given away the Land of Snows’ independence under the pretext that India’s presence in Tibet was an imperialist remnant.
However for Nehru, it represented for “an attempt, the first in post-World War II history, to put bilateral relations between the two big countries of Asia on a principled basis. Its success would depend on the intentions and motives, the national aspirations and interests, the leadership and implementing machinery on each side.”
When the Prime Minister presented the ‘Agreement’ in the Parliament he was in his revolutionary mood; he proclaimed: “Now we must realise that this revolution that came to China is the biggest thing that has taken place in the world at present, whether you like it or not.”
In the same speech Nehru spoke described the content of the Agreement Panchsheel: “Live and let live, no one should invade the other, no one should fight the other... this is the basic principle which we have put in our treaty.”
He had forgotten that China had invaded Tibet three years earlier.
He later summed up the Parliamentary debate by saying: “in my opinion, we have done no better thing than this since we became independent. I have no doubt about this... I think it is right for our country, for Asia and for the world.”
A few years later, he felt ‘betrayed’ by Zhou Enlai and Communist China.
But was he really betrayed?
I recently came across an interesting document which shows that Nehru had been warned about China, even before signing the Agreement.
On March 18, 1954, five weeks before the signature, N. Raghavan, the Indian Ambassador to China, wrote a personal note to the Prime Minister: “It was drawn up on the basis of my own observations and experience as also of my study of Chinese relations with us since the advent of New China. I have tried to take as objective a view as possible.”
The Ambassador tells the Prime Minister: “The Chinese unlike our warm-hearted people, are not emotional by nature, and while the Indian people often display an emotional approach towards China, the Chinese themselves have none such towards India. …Any friendship [in China] is evaluated from the standpoint of its usefulness to China.”
Raghavan explains: “For security reasons, I have not dealt with this aspect in my Annual Report for 1953.”
I am posting here the Ambassador’s ‘Top Secret’ Note to the Prime Minister.
It is worth reading this note as it shows that Nehru had been warned several years before the situation on the border became tense, which eventually ended up in a short War in October 1962.
The Panchsheel Agreement had lapsed 6 months earlier.
by N. Raghavan
What is the attitude of the Government of New China towards India? This is a vital question, the answer to which it is the duty of India's accredited representative at Peking to find out if possible. After a careful examination and objective analysis of the various trends, express and implied, observed for about 18 months, one cannot but help coming to certain conclusions. That there is a definite policy towards India is certain. Whether it is a settled one or subject to changes, it is yet difficult to say. The period, November 1952 to December 1953, the period of India's active participation in the settlement of the Korean question, was not only an extremely trying time in Sino-Indian relations, but was, to some extent, a period of revelations. China's attitude towards India was occasionally discernible without the usual trimmings or diplomatic window-dressings. However, in the examination of Chinese policy as such towards India and her Government, one has to discount statements and expressions of opinion made by Chinese Government spokesman and official journals in the heat of controversy due to dissatisfaction.
As far as observations go, the answer to the question as to what really is the attitude of the Chinese Government towards India is briefly as follows:
  1. To remain correct and friendly, without being warm and cordial, in their relations with the Government of India.
  2. To prepare the way for the cultivation of warm and cordial relations with the 'People of India', as distinct from the Government of India. (The publicity line is such as to lead one to think that the Chinese Government enjoy the confidence and admiration of the Indian people to a greater extent than even the Indian Government!)
  3. To wait for the emergence (in which the Chinese are Led to believe) of a "People's Government" of India and to do what they can to advance and accelerate such emergence.
  4. Until then, to 'play down' India and belittle the achievements of her present Government (including their contribution to world peace and progress) or at least to keep the Chinese nation in ignorance of them.
  5. To the extent possible, without offending India or her Embassy at Peking, to project India as a capitalist country, suffering from all the economic and political ills of capitalism, colonialism and feudalism; and as such, still not free, but awaiting ultimate liberation by her people (meaning the Communist Party).
  6. To make use of India and her independent role in international affairs, but to see as far as possible that by doing so, India does not increase her stature in the international fields so that China's ultimate role as the leading Asian Power will in no manner be affected or threatened.
New India is considered an anachronism, a half-way house at best, in the transition from capitalism and semi-colonialism to Communism and "Popular Democracy".
As a corollary to the Chinese attitude it was observed that China gave publicly no credit to the Indian Government for its impartial assistance in the solution of the Korean problem because, to the Chinese mind, no credit was due. It was thought that the Indian Government could not have pursued any policy other than one of utmost assistance to China as the Indian people would not have allowed anything else to be done. While the Chinese let no occasion pass without singing peans of praise of the Soviets and their contribution to Peace, and while no opportunity was missed to acknowledge the deep gratitude of the Chinese people and Government to the fraternal Soviet people and Government, not a line was publicly uttered or published in praise of India and no word of acknowledgement or thanks has so far appeared in the Chinese Press for the great and universally acclaimed contributions of India and her Government t o a Korean Armistice. India had more than her fair share of blame, criticism and condemnation in the Press and at Party meetings whenever she did not adopt the Chinese line, but little or no approbation or appreciation even when India did something palatable to the Chinese.
The only public reference to India's great role in the Korean Armistice negotiations was a reference by Prime Minister Chou En-lai at a reception to a team of visiting Indian Artists in July, 1953, when he acknowledged with thanks the assistance given by the Indian Ambassador at Peking; but even this was blacked out from the Press Reports of the speech. Since the friendly policy of the Indian Government is not placed to its credit but is ascribed to public pressure which it cannot possibly withstand, it is not surprising that the Chinese Government did not - as even President Eisenhower did - send any formal letter of appreciation on the work of the Indian Custodian Force or of the Indian Chairman of the NNRC, to the Government of India.

Even during the days of 'the illegal Indian Resolution' as well as the 'illegal handing over of the Prisoners to the detaining sides' the Chinese line was to show that the objectionable steps taken by India were against Indian opinion.
The view of the Chinese Government that while the Government of India endeavours to remain neutral, it is not a free Government but is subjected to direct influences of Britain, and indirectly of U.S., is also occasionally visible. It was significant that according to a report that reached the Embassy of a speech delivered by one of the leading Chinese statesmen at a Secret Session of the Government Council in February 1953, the Chinese view was, more or less, as follows:-
Indian Government, as it is today, is a capitalist Government and to that extent, not reliable; India, as she is today, cannot be considered a friend, but is useful, as she is more or less certain to remain neutral in any conflict. As such, friendly relations are to be carefully maintained.
If China has a policy or programme of immediate or long-term friendship with India, one would naturally expect to see some signs of it. At least the people of the country would have been prepared. The tendrils of the gigantic Publicity Octopus of the Government of China would have tried to reach all parts of the country in a programme of kindling friendly interest in India and her people.
It is true that for centuries China remained self-centered. No other country seemed to exist for China. The same tradition might, to some extent, be persisting even today. But people are taught about Soviet Russia and Sino-Soviet relations with meticulous finesse, day in and day out.
For all the protestations of Asian patriotism by Chinese leaders in private conversations, there is absolutely nothing done to stimulate the interest of the Chinese people in other countries of Asia or to educate them on China's affinity, or at least friendliness towards them. India is no exception. At best, she might be occupying a special position in Chinese policy - neither friend, nor foe.
At times, one is led to wonder whether there exists a lurking feeling in some Chinese circles or rivalry - even of jealousy - a fear that India may be a threat to Chinese leadership of Asia, a role which China aspires one day to play. It is curious to observe that even references to ancient connections between India and China or to India's past contributions to Chinese culture are studiously avoided (except in unreported speeches at banquets to visiting Indian delegations).
Not only nothing is done to popularise India, but anything that might enhance her prestige is not very happily received. The anniversary of India's Republic Day usually passes unnoticed. No news paper or other journal ever mentions names like Gandhi or Tagore.
No Indian happening appears to be of the slightest interest, unless it be a C.P.I. Congress or election victory, a Lucknow students strike or a 'Peace' Committee Resolution. India, apart from pro-Chinese extracts from Indian newspapers and especially from the Communist journals, remains practically blacked out in the Press of this country.
None of the thousands of bookshops in China sells any book on India - whether cultural, political or economic. While delegations of a particular colour are invited from India, invitations by the Government of India or public bodies for Conferences held in India are not welcomed or accepted. Uninvited Indian tourists do not appear to be welcome. Exchanges of students and scholars between the two countries are discouraged. Indian film publicity (Indian Information Service documentaries) has never been in demand as in other friendly countries.
Though there was little or no adverse publicity against India for the last year or so, except in so far as India had failed to toe the Chinese line concerning Korea, no information was vouchsafed to the public concerning the great strides that the Indian people under the leadership and guidance of their Government had been making in various fields. Perhaps it is felt that any publicity concerning Indian achievements would not be helpful to the new regime in China in its propaganda to establish Chinese superiority in all fields.
The Chinese people should be made to feel superior. The only country that can do better than China is the Soviet Union. The studied silence on major happenings in India and visible indifference to India's domestic and international achievements were, therefore, understandable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Don’t give India a chance to amuse themselves by our failure

Panchen Lama, Dalai Lama, Chen Yi, Zhou Enlai, Nehru, Indira Gandhi in 1956
The Tibetan factor impeded longer military operations against India in the fall of 1962. With discontent brewing on the Roof of the World, the supply lines to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), had been greatly weakened.
This is an important to understand the ‘short’ Sino-Indian border war.
Tibet's instabilty appears clearly in the 70,000-character petition sent by the Panchen Lama to Zhou Enlai in May 1962.The Tibetan Lama who had been made Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the Tibet Autonomous Region when the Dalai Lama left for India in 1959, dared (‘with anger’) to criticize the policies of the Party in Tibet.
The Chinese Premier requested Xi Zhongxun, Vice-Premier and father of Xi Jinping, Li Weihan, the minister of the United Front Work Department dealing with ‘Minorities’, General Zhang Jingwu, the Representative of the Central Committee in Tibet and General Zhang Guohua, the Secretary of the CPC Tibet Committee and main commander during the 1962 war, to read and study the Panchen Lama's petition.
Interestingly, when the Panchen Lama died in 1989, Xi Zhongxun wrote in The People’s Daily that the Tibet experts found “most of the comments and suggestions [of the Panchen Lama were] good; they could be implemented, but some had gone too far.”
Indeed, he had gone 'too far' for the Communist leadership; Mao called it a 'Poisonous Arrow". 
The Panchen Lama listed several problems such the ‘suppression of the Rebellion’ in 1959.
Each time, after agreeing with the official line, he criticized it:
The rebellion in Tibet was counter-revolutionary in nature, being against the Party, the motherland, the people, democracy and socialism. Its crimes were very grave. Thus, it was entirely correct, essential, necessary and appropriate for the Party to adopt the policy of suppressing the rebellion. However, when these points were implemented…
And then he mentioned the grievances of the Tibetan population.
Then he took on the ‘Democratic Reform’, the ‘Production in Agriculture and Animal Herding’, ‘Livelihood of the People’, the United Front policy for the ‘nationalities’, ‘Democratic Centralism’, the Dictatorship of the Party and finally the most important for him, the freedom of religion. Each time, he used the same pattern.
The Panchen Lama paid a heavy price for having dared to write what everyone knew. He eventually spent the years from 1964 to 1978 in solitary confinement and rehabilitation camps.
Very few analysts have pointed out that a longer war would have been very difficult to sustain in the atmosphere of 'rebellion' prevalent on the Roof of the World at that time. Though openly siding with the 'reformists' camp led by Lui Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping, the Panchen Lama was also warning the Communist leadership of the resentment of the so-called nationalities.
During his speech at Beidaihe in August 1962, Mao, who for months had been in the wilderness, staged a comeback using the case of the Panchen Lama.
Dr Li Zhisui, Mao’s physician, recounts:
Then [Mao] turned his opprobrium against the Panchen Lama of Tibet, denouncing him as ‘an enemy of our class’. [After the 1959] crackdown, the Panchen Lama, ordinarily subservient to Beijing, was now arguing that Beijing's so-called ‘democratic reforms’ had moved too far to the left. He hoped that the ultra-leftist trend in Tibet could be corrected.
Some new historical documents regarding the 70,000 characters letter have now been translated in English, by two independent researchers, Jianglin Li and Matthew Akester.
The transcripts make fascinating reading.
In the Summary of a Meeting between Comrade Xi Zhongxun, Comrade Li Weihan and Panchen held on June 21, 1962 in The Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Nehru and India are several times cited.

I am posting here some extracts of the longish discussions.
The entire transcript is available on the bog of Jianglin Li and Matthew Akester.

Xi [Zhongxun, Xi Jinping’s father] intervenes: “I had a meeting with the Master [the Panchen Lama] once, and the Master expressed his support for the [Tibet] Work Committee’s leadership [the so-called Communist reforms]. This is very good. This can be seen in the report too. It is possible that you have a few opinions about each other, this is quite natural. We held several meetings here just for you to vent your anger and figure out ways to solve problems. This is a beginning. You should do the same after returning [to Tibet]. If you are angry, let it out. If you have disagreement, speak out. Problems should be solved through consultation and discussion.”
In 1964, the Panchen Lama’s ‘anger’ will take him for 14 years to jail.
Later, the issue of the Dalai Lama’s flight and India came again in the discussion. Xi explains:
Comrades in Tibet should be clear of the fact that through a big struggle, the reactionary Dalai clique had split off. Through suppressing rebellion and implementing reform, we have laid an initial foundation for our work in Tibet, which is the foundation for development and prosperity within the big family of motherland.
It has to be noted that according to Chinese figures 87,000 died in the first week of the ‘suppression’. For Communist China, it was the ‘base’ of the ‘Liberation’.
Xi admits:
There might be tens and thousands of shortcomings and mistakes, however, as long as we have this foundation, all shortcomings and mistakes can be corrected. Our work during the past few years should be cherished. Achievements cannot be denied, our power should be truly strengthened. Dalai is watching us in India right now. He is dreaming that all we have implemented in Tibet will fall apart, and Banchan [Panchen] will meet his downfall. If we don't want his dreams to come true, we must do our work diligently and prudently. First of all, we must strengthen our unity, and unite every person that can be united. If this work is not done well, Dalai will laugh at us, and Nehru will laugh at us too. Don’t give them a chance to amuse themselves by our failure.
This shows that Xi Jinping’s father was not really a ‘moderate’ and those who believe the Xi Jinping will follow his footsteps and ‘open up’ China were wrong.
Xi again cites Nehru:
This requires that we do our work better under the leadership of the [Tibet] Work Committee [implementing the ‘reforms’], and construct our motherland better. Nehru is laughing now, but don’t let him have the last laugh. Nehru launched an anti-communist satellite, we will launch a revolutionary satellite. We will compete with him on this point.
It is interesting to see that even so-called moderate leaders like Xi, put squarely the blame on Nehru and his government for the Dalai Lama’s flight to India. It will result in the ‘punishment’ three years later, on the slopes of the Thagla ridge and in Ladakh.

At another point came up during the three-day discussions, Xi Zhongxun mentions other implications of the Panchen Lama’s letter:
…Specific problems still need to be solved through consultation and discussion. In Tibet, the workload is very heavy, internal matters are quite difficult, foreign affairs are arduous too. Tibet is the front line of national defence, and there is struggle against enemies as well. Rebels are meddling in Nepal, they took over a county government there and sent spies and rebels to make trouble in Nepal,” and Xi adds: “This is the joint work of Nehru and Dalai. If they messed up Nepal, how can they not want to mess up Tibet? What’s their purpose? They just want to overthrow the current leadership in Tibet and restore the old order. This is not only a current struggle, it is also a long term and arduous one. We must unite ourselves closely; otherwise we won’t be able to handle this situation. Things are difficult in Tibet, but solutions and hope do exist, and our future is bright.
After the three days meeting in June, the same officials had an ‘audience’ with the Premier, Zhou Enlai, who gave a long, tortuous ideological speech. Zhou mentions the historical background:
First was Director Banchan’s [Panchen] report, which was submitted on May 18 [1962]. After that, the Tibetan and Chinese texts were double checked, and submitted again in June.  Now by July 19, four documents had been formulated, two months in between. This is a big job, and is well done. All of you at present have been kept in the mainland for ten months, the past two months being most important. Your task has been well accomplished. Based on the written report, four documents, Director Banchan’s two speeches and opinions from other comrades, [the four documents have been prepared].
Let us not forget that the Party was on the boil, with Mao preparing his come-back a few weeks later.
The Premier says:
We now have these four documents, primarily because Director Banchan submitted his report, and raised questions. The attitude of raising questions is in line with the frank, sincere and outspoken attitude shared by our nation’s senior cadres. Regardless of the content, [the report] recorded all or most of what he saw and what was in his mind. It is a good thing, and applaudable as [General Zhang] Jingwu said just now. In the past we didn’t have such a relationship with Dalai. He didn’t speak out when he had objections, playing a double game, saying one thing to us and another to Nehru; one thing in front of us and another thing to the conspirators behind our back, so we couldn’t be sure what he was up to. We communists were frank with him, but he thought the way.
Zhou Enlai refers to the visit of the Dalai Lama to India in 1956-57 and the long talks with the Indian Prime Minister (Incidentally, Nehru strongly advocated that the Dalai Lama should go back to Tibet and ‘work’ with the Chinese).
Zhou says that in March 1959, China had no clue that the Tibetans would revolt:
we had no clue when he [the Dalai Lama] started the rebellion. Even Apei [Ngabo Ngawang Jigme] was in the dark. We dispatched troops there only after the rebellion broke out. Why did Dalai play a double game? He took us as enemies instead of comrades and friends, and took Nehru as his own circle, the conspirators who plotted rebellion as his own circle, thus it was inevitable for him to play a double game. We were sincere and honest when we told him the Party’s attitude; for example, I talked with him twice in New Delhi and told him the Party’s attitude, but he wouldn’t listen, he listened to Nehru instead. So this made it hard for us to get along. This means that rebellion in Tibet was bound to happen, since he took Nehru as friend and took us as enemy. Now, the attitude adopted by Master Banchan is basically different from that of Dalai.
Zhow Enlai then explains:
When problems arise, the Party will make sure to solve them; you must know this particular characteristic of the Party by now. Do not evade problems and solve problems when they arise, this is the Party’s tradition over the past forty years. When problems are raised, they must be solved; however, this does not mean that all the problems raised are correct. Some are correct, some are not. As both situations exist, careful investigation is required. Correct ones should be accepted, as for the incorrect ones, either raise one’s opinions in a positive way, or criticize from an opposing angle.
The Panchen Lama assessment must have been very incorrect as he will have to spend from 1964 to 1978 in jail.
The next few weeks saw the ‘return’ of Mao on the stage, the purge of Xi Zhongxun and a war against India to make ‘Nehru’ pay for giving asylum to the Dalai Lama.
I have dealt with this in a separate paper.

Monday, September 12, 2016

India must not forget bitter partition lessons while tackling Kashmir

My article India must not forget bitter partition lessons while tackling Kashmir appeared in Mail Today.

Here is the link...

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou, China, he said that “to ensure durable bilateral ties, and steady development, it is of paramount importance that we respect each other’s aspirations, concerns and strategic interests.”
Later External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup explained: “You can pretty well understand that when we talk of strategic interests and aspirations, it is not as if China is unaware of our strategic concerns and aspirations or we are unaware of their concerns.”
Modi had not only the Valley in mind, but also Pakistan-occupied- Kashmir (POK).

In his August 15 speech, the Prime Minister had asserted: “The people of Balochistan, the people of Gilgit, the people of POK have thanked me in such a manner, from places that I have never been and never had a chance to meet, they have sent wishes to the people of India and thanked us... I am grateful to them.”
On the previous day, Pakistan’s Independence Day, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had dedicated his country’s independence to the “freedom of Kashmir from Indian rule”.
During the previous weeks, Pakistan had been bringing the Kashmir issue on the world scene.
Two issues forced India to take a tougher position to defend its interests: the current unrest in the Valley, but also the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), cutting across POK, in which Beijing plans to invest $46 billion.

To get proper historical perspectives of the current situation, it is necessary to go back to the year before the British left the jewel of their empire.
The British Empire, born from a trading company, was a sea-empire.
But at the beginning of the 20th century, two new factors appeared on the strategic scene: one was aviation (whose role was masterfully demonstrated by the Japanese at Pearl Harbour in 1941) and petrol, and therefore, the importance of the Middle East.
When the British Chiefs of Staff were ordered to submit a report on the strategic consequences of the departure from the subcontinent, the generals agreed that Pakistan was more important than India; they foresaw the possibility of installing air bases in the north of Pakistan to control Russia and naval bases opening to the Arabian Sea in the south.
Another argument was that Mohammed Ali Jinnah was extremely keen to remain within the Commonwealth while the Indian National Congress had not made up its mind.
Jinnah once forcefully told Mountbatten: “You can’t kick us out.”
Subsequently, London’s policy was meticulously implemented; as the time of Independence came, while Jinnah insisted on becoming the first Governor- General of Pakistan, the Congress big-heartedly offered the job in India to the Viscount.
This was the first of a long series of blunders. Then, when soon after Independence, the issue of Junagadh and Hyderabad came up, the Cabinet had to create a defence committee.
Who became its chairman? A Britisher, the same Mountbatten. Second blunder.

This was a surrealistic situation: two dominions, one with a Pakistani Governor- General, the other with a British; two armies, both commanded by British generals.
The ‘Indian’ British generals took orders from the British Governor- General and not from the Indian government; the Defence Committee being chaired by a Briton, often overrode the Cabinet’s decisions and a ‘stand-down’ order stated that British officers would not fight one another.
As a result, India could not defend itself. Such was the situation when the raiders trained, equipped and directed by Colonel Akbar Khan, military adviser of the Pakistani Prime Minister, entered Kashmir at the end of October 1947.
The story is too well known to be recounted here, but the interesting point is that the British constantly played a double game.
For example, General Douglas Gracey, the Pakistani Army Commander, knew of the raiders’ attack beforehand, but he did not ‘inform’ his ‘Indian’ British counterpart.
Another mega blunder: as the Indian Army was ready to chase back the raiders and the Pakistani regulars, Jawaharlal Nehru unnecessarily referred the issue to UN… on the advice of Clement Attlee, the British Prime Minister… and Mountbatten.

The invasion of J&K by Pakistani regular forces on May 8, 1948, was in contravention of all international laws.
Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of External Affairs, wrote: “When even direct aggression failed, (Pakistan) began to clamour for a plebiscite, thereby hoping to achieve by other means what she had failed to obtain by force.”
Bajpai remarked that for the first time in its Resolution of August 13, 1948, the UN “recorded one major change in the situation as contemplated by the Security Council during its deliberations in the early part of that year, namely, the presence of Pakistan troops in the state of J&K.”
In this condition, the plebiscite never took place. It is important to keep this in mind, when one goes through the recent developments in the region.
It is essential to look at these events in their historical context. The large presence of Chinese ‘workers’ on a territory that was legally part of the India Union, and also the joint patrols conducted by PLA frontier defence troops and the Pakistani Khunjerab Security Force south of the Khunjerab pass (“aiming to offer security guarantee to the construction of the CPEC”), are naturally a serious concern for India.
Let us hope that China is now aware of India’s strategic concerns and aspirations in the region.

Mao’s return to power passes through India

Five years ago, I posted on my website, a longish paper on the Chinese motivations to go to war with India in October 1962.
If you are interested, click here to download.

One angle which has been insufficiently studied is the Chinese angle of the 1962 war. Why did China suddenly decide to slap Nehru? Who decided to inflict the worst possible humiliation on India?
Historical sources are still sparse, but going through some of the documents listed at the end of this paper one can get a fairly good idea of the Chinese motivations or more exactly the ‘political’ compulsions which pushed the Great Helmsman into this win-win venture.
This paper goes into the internal struggles within China between 1959 and 1962 and the role of Mao Zedong during these crucial years, with an emphasis on the tumultuous year (at least for the Party) 1962 and its consequences for Sino-Indian relations which culminated in an armed conflict in October-November 1962 and the circumstances under which Communist China went to this war.
A study of the CIA, Russian and East European archives, already partially opened, throws new light on the real motives behind the Chinese attack.
Further, in the early 1990’s, a few Chinese historians gave heir take on the events which led to the War.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Chinese War Preparations in Tibet 1953

On April 29, 1954, a ‘momentous’ event took place in Beijing.
An Agreement between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China on Trade and Intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India was signed.
Prime Minister Nehru later said that it was the best thing he had done in his political career.
Well, it was not so good for the Tibetans who lost their centuries-old independence.
It was not good for India too: she ended giving up all its rights in Tibet (telegraph lines, post offices, dak bungalows, military escort in Gyantse and Yatung, etc.), while getting no assurance on the border demarcation from the Chinese government, on the contrary.
But it was good for China, which consolidated (and legalized) its presence in Tibet.
The Agreement has remained in history for its ‘lovely’ preamble.
It says: “Being desirous of promoting trade and cultural intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India and of facilitating pilgrimage and travel by the peoples of China and India. Have resolved to enter into the present Agreement based on the following principles:
  1. mutual respect for each other's territorial integrity and sovereignty,
  2. mutual non-aggression,
  3. mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs,
  4. equality and mutual benefit, and
  5. peaceful co-existence.
A two-thousand years old nation disappeared from the world map in the name of these principles.
Too bad said the diplomats in South Block, principles are more important.
It was the culmination of the Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai era.
Several authors have written that China later ‘betrayed’ India (one of them is B.N. Mullik, the IB Chief, who wrote: The Chinese betrayal; my years with Nehru).
But has China really betrayed India or was Delhi simply living in another planet?
It is not that the corridors of power in Delhi were not aware that China was preparing to ‘defend’ its frontiers.
Against whom, one could ask, if not India?
The first PLA troops arrived in Lhasa September 1951. A couple of thousands of them.
Less than 2 years later, despite the extremely difficult terrain, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) reached every border posts of Tibet (north of Lohit, Siang and Kameng Frontier Divisions in NEFA; in the Chumbi Valley between Sikkim and Bhutan, in Taklakot in the Kailash Manasarovar area or in Tashigong, the gate to Ladakh).
On February 12, 1953, a Top Secret report from the Indian Consulate in Lhasa (A.K. Sen was then the Consul General) was sent to the Ministry of External Affairs (Nehru was holding the portfolio). Probably due to the length of the message, it reached (deciphered) South Block on February 26 only.
The report refers to a query from the External Affairs Ministry (No. 27641 27th December 1952) asking details about the PLA’s presence on the plateau.
It shows that as early as February 1953, Delhi knew what was going in Tibet.
Then, where is the question of betrayal?
The issue of deployment of the PLA in Tibet was never taken by the negotiators, N. Raghavan, the India Ambassador in China and T.N. Kaul, the Chargé d’Affaires, who for months discussed the content of the infamous Panchsheel Agreement.
Why? Because India was a peace-loving country!!
Around the same time, the Ministry of Defence had ordered the Indian Army to cut 10,000 troops every year for a few years.
This is the sad tragedy of newly-independent India.
Today, the country still pays the price of the folly of the Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai policy.
It has to be noted that by the end of 1954, the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Sichuan-Tibet Highway were opened to traffic (earlier India had to supply rice to the Chinese troops posted in Tibet!!).
In 2014, celebrating 60 years of the ‘bloodlines of Tibet’, China Tibet Online affirmed: "The running of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and Sichuan-Tibet Highway not only accelerates the social and economic developments in Tibet, but is of great significance to link the plateau with the rest of the world"
The Qinghai-Tibet and Sichuan-Tibet highways (4,360 km) were both officially opened into traffic on December 25, 1954, "ending Tibet’s history of no modern highway".
This Report dates from nearly two years before the opening of the highways.

Here us the Report. It is quite comprehensive:
“All map references are to the map of Tibet, sheets Eastern and Western, prepared by the Survey of India.”

1. General
The total strength of Chinese troops in the whole of Tibet is estimated between 20,000 and 25,000 but including road workers the number would exceed. The Chinese admit it was their plan to have a force of 60,000 troops but the supply position forced them to abandon it for the time being although they said the present strength was NOT enough to guard the borders. There is NO doubt that with the completion of the Chamdo-Lhasa Road within the next two years more troops would be brought in. Chamdo is now connected with Kantse [Kangding?] by a motorable road.
Disposition of troops at present appears to be conditioned by
(1) road construction
(2) handling of supplies
(3) regulating movement of troops along important routes
(4) manning border outposts and
(5) garrison duty.
Concentration at the outposts cannot be considered to be heavy. They are well scattered in small detachments and are kept frequently on the move. This mobility would enable them to be concentrated at any place in an emergency with ease.

2. Questionnaire
The headquarters of the Army in the whole of Tibet is in Lhasa known as the Military Area Headquarters and is located in Maga Sarpa House.
Local Headquarters are believed to be at
•    Jyekundo (967330)
•    Chamdo (972312)
•    Giamda ( 931300)
•    Nagchuka (920315)
•    Kongbo (940298)
•    Pemako (953295)
•    Zayul (973288)
•    Tsona (921280)
•    Gyantse
•    Shigatse
•    Gurgunsa (Gartok)
•    and Chumbi Valley.
Outposts known to us are at
• Shika ( 971284)
• Tsona Pome (950300)
• Tsari (934287)
• Galinkha and Champithang (Chumbi Valley)
• Phari (892277)
• Penam (892292)
• Lhariguo (934308)
• Sok (938319)
• Pemba Go (950308)
• Denchin (955315)
• Shobando (959308)
• Lho Dzong (963308)
• Riwoche (965314)
• Taklakot (812303)
• Rudok (797335)
• Gyanima (808308)
• Khoodynath (814302)
• Tashigong (796326) [At that time, China was not claiming Demchok as yet]
Of these outposts Shika is a border post.
Tsona a garrison post whereas Galinkha and Chumpithang [Chumbi] are for handling supplies and constructing roads as well.
Duty of the rest would fall under categories 1, 2, 3, and 5 of paragraph 1 above.
With the information available it is NOT possible to answer all sub paras of the questionnaire in respect of all the posts. Certain conclusions can be drawn from observation at Lhasa, Gyantse and Chumbi Valley.
These are contained in the following general remarks:-

(ii) Sub para (b) (c) (f):
The basic weapons are rifles Sten TMG pistols revolvers and grenades. Their summer uniforms are of khaki cotton with soft peak cap. In winter cotton padded khaki coat and trousers. Those working in the fields or in colder regions are supplied with woolen trousers and fur lined coat. Officers wear woolen clothes in the winter. Turn-out is untidy as the clothes are seldom properly tailored or ironed.

(iii) Sub para (d) (e) (g) (h):
They are toughened up through a system of training peculiar to the Liberation Army. Apart from an hour of drill very early in the morning almost all are required to perform extensive agricultural work. Discipline is exemplary and is maintained very rigidly. Other exercises include range practice.
NO operational exercise has been reported as yet.

(iv) Sub para (i) (j) (l) (m): 
In the initial stage all rations were locally purchased such as barley flour, yaks and sheep the villagers were forced to supply these on payment.
Except for certain quantity of rice which is now transported from South China through India they still depend on local supplies. Procurement points have been established in certain areas in South Tibet and the supplies as also other equipment are moved by pack transport.
Troops are quartered in requisitioned/purchased houses in towns and among villages elsewhere immediately on arrival.
Construction of barracks and camps follow as soon as materials are available.
The chain of command is through Lhasa.
Communication is through a fairly well established wireless link.

(v) Sub para (n) (o): 
Some recruitment from the locals in Kham is reported. Three Regiments of the Tibetan Government Army are also under Command of the Chinese Army in Tibet although they are allowed to maintain their entity.
These and the local recruits are being trained in the use of normal arms. The relation between these locals and the Chinese troops is formal rather than cordial.

(vi) Sub para (r) (s) (t): 
The troops are told constantly that they are in Tibet to liberate their brethren and must be prepared to endure usual hardships for cause till regular supplies by the overland route is available. The mental state of the Chinese soldiers has to be understood in this context. Undoubtedly the average soldier feels the pinch of inadequate food, long separation from their families. A few had been seen weeping on quiet. Amenities are provided in the form of games and theatrical shows. The latter however reach the bigger establishments only.
Descriptions are few. So far only about a dozen reported.
The strict discipline and death penalty discourage desertion. Cases of execution were reported for loss of arms even.

(vii) Specific information regarding sub paras (a) (k) (p) and (q) in respect of all the posts mentioned in para 2 above are given below. Omission.
As regards 4 sub para (d) NO information available. Of the special weapons Bazooka has NOT been reported from anywhere while only one outpost according to an unconfirmed report has A.A. guns:-
 Shika. 1289500.
  • Detachment of 50 at Drowa Gompa (971288)
  • 100 at Pogchu (near Sama 970283)
  • 400 at Menkong (983285)
  • 200 at Nguchu (near the Indian border) detachments of unknown strength are also reported to be at Markham (98597)
  • Dayul Gompa (993293)
  • Sango Chyo (973293)
  • Petu (983288)
  • Sama(983288)
  • Rima (971284)
  • Sangu (2 miles North of Sama 970283)
  • and Donge (1 mile East of Shika).

Local Headquarters is at Zayul.
(1) Special weapons - 3 inch mortars, M.M.G., L.M.G. and large quantity of ammunition.
Defensive trenches reported to be constructed at Shika.

(2) Details about Zayul and Pemako NOT available.

(3) Tsona
Troops- 3000 Detachment of 500 at Naysimbi (exact location NOT indicated in map but somewhere in 9228) 500 at Takpo (929289). Special weapons - L.M.G., 2 inch mortar. Mountain guns reported.

(4) Pome
Troops - 200. Local Headquarters at Kongbo. Special weapons - mountain guns.

(5) Tsari
Troops- 200. Local Headquarters at Kongbo.

(6) Kongbo

Troops - 200,

(7) Chumbi Valley
Headquarters at Galinkha 4 miles towards Phari from Yatung.
Troops at Galinkha and Chotenkarpo, about a mile South is 1000. Detachment of 100 at Chumbi South of Yatung,
900 at Rinchengang (889275), Geiling and Pema (nearby),
400 at Champithang (Indo Tibetan border).
Special weapons - mountain guns, L.M.G., M.M.G., 3 and 2 inch mortars, A.A. guns (at Galinkha - report unconfirmed),
Telephone line between Galinkha and Richengang erected.
Barracks under construction at Galinkha, Chotenkarpo, Chumbi.
Rinchengang and Champithang.
17 store - houses built at Chotenkarpo and 20 wooden sheds with tarpauline covers at Champithang.
Rations also stored at Rinchengang, Chema South of Chumbi, Chumbi and Galinkha.
A party of about 121 were reported to be constructing she is similar to those in Champithang near Langmarpo (Tibet - Bhutan border, 8 miles from Yatung). They were armed with bren and rifles.

(8) Phari
Troops - 800.
Important supply procurement point and station for facilitating troop movement. Local Headquarters at Gyantse. Special weapons - L.M.G. 2 and 3 inch mortars.
Trenches dug around the houses requisitioned.
A wireless station ha s been established at PANGDATSANG's house (Tibetan Trade Commission at Yatung).

(9) Gyantse
Troops including small supply of equipment
  • Detachments at Tuna (893280)
  • Dochen(993282)
  • Kala (895284)
  • Samada (896285)
  • Khangma (898286) - 15 to 20 hundred. Special weapons- L.M.G. and light mortars.
  • Wireless station at Phunkhang house with internal telephone. Barracks under construction.
(10) Penam
Troops – 500.
Local Headquarters - Gyantse.

(11) Shigatse
Troops about 3 to 4 thousand.
Special weapons - L.M.G., 3 inch mortars. Wireless station established. Accommodation in PANCHEN LAMA's summer residence.

(12) Lhasa
  • Troops including Dechen (914299)
  • Medu Gongkar about 30 miles N.E. of Dechen - 5 to 7 thousand. Special weapons - L.M.G., mountain guns, light mortars.
  • Wireless station link with China at Mentopa house.
  • 11 sets for internal communication, 2 working for 24 hours. Accommodation in about 10 houses purchased and in camps. Barracks under construction.
  • Installations: A hydro-electric power station is to be installed soon. A number of pill boxes accommodating 8 sentries each erected in Lhasa town.
(13) Giamda
Troops - 350.
Road workers 5 to 10 thousand. Barrack construction.

(14) Lhariguo
Troops – 30.
Local Headquarters – Giamda.

(15) Nagchuka
Troops- permanently stationed - 200. A Commissariat office to arrange transport and supplies for troops moving from towards Lhasa reported. Supplies received from Jyekundo.

(16) Sok
Troops - 400,
Local Headquarters – Nagchuka.

(17) Pembago
Troops - 50.
Local Headquarters - Chamdo.

(18) Denchin
Troops – 400.
Local Headquarters- Chamdo.

(19) Shobando
Troops – 30.
Local Headquarters – Chamdo.

(20) Lho Dzong
Troops - 100.
Local Headquarters – Chamdo.

(21) Chamdo
Troops - 500
Wireless station established.

(22) Riwoche
Troops – 100.
Local Headquarters – Chamdo.

(23) Jyekundo
Troops - about 5000 including 1700 locals.

(24) Western Tibet

Information as to Western Tibet relatively scanty unfortunately. In 1950 the Chinese advanced towards Rudok and Taklakot with about 500 troops. The present strength could NOT have been increased beyond 2 to 3 thousand due to difficulty in obtaining supplies. They are reported to be at Rudok, Gyanima, Gargunsa (Gartok Headquarters), Taklakot, Khojernath, and Tashigong.
The latter 3 act as check posts. Caravans of dzos, yaks, camels carrying supplies from Lhasa via Shigatse reported. Some supplies are also obtained from Sinkiang. Special weapons - (noticed at Khojernath) L.M.G.
Wireless link with Lhasa.

3. Communications.
(a) The overland route to China from Lhasa via Chamdo and Kantse is under construction.
Motorable road up to Chamdo from Kantse has been completed.
At the time of writing reports indicate that it was extended 2 stages beyond Chamdo towards Lhasa. The Giamda - Lhasa road is also nearing completion. Other roads under construction are: Medu Gongkar - Lhasa road, Nathula - Gyantse via Phari and Yatung. Contemplated projects are: Giamda - Chamdo, Chamdo-Shika, Gyantse - Shigatse, Shigatse- Gartok, Rudok - Yarkand ( a start is reported to have been made), Nagchuka - Lhasa, and Shigatse - Shekar Dzong (871286).

(b) In Shika: Menkong - Rima track was widened. Shika - Somchu track improved for 2 way mule traffic. In Chumbi Valley: Champithang - Yatung track is kept in constant repair for mule traffic carrying rice from India. A cart road between Phema and Chotenkarpo constructed.

(c) In Chumbi Valley: Bridge on the river Amugam (Brahamaputra) under construction. The bridge near Yatung Bazar to be strengthened to take load of bullock carts. In Shika:

  • Wodden bridge over Lohit river near Shika
  • At Sapchu between Sama and Sangu and
  • A number of wooden bridges between Rima and Sama capable of bearing load of pack mules constructed. Wooden bridges over 2 rivers near Nagchuka built.

4 and 5. Transport.
The normal transport are pack animals. The Chinese still depend on local transport supplied by the villagers without putting a great strain on the resources of the people.
Circumstances indicate the Chinese are forming pack transport units of their own. One such unit of 80 dzos (cross between yak and cow) was seen at Gyantse.
Camel caravans were reported between Lhasa and Chusul (40 miles South of Lhasa) and towards Shigatse.

Number of animals at the following posts are known to us:-
  • Lhasa: 5 to 7 hundred mules and ponies, 500 camels.
  • Chumbi Valley: 2 to 3 hundred mules believed to be loaned from the PANCHEN LAMA’S Estate for transport of rice.
  • Phari: about 50 mules.
  • Gyantse: 100 mules.
  • Penam: 150 mules.
  • Shigatse: at least 600 camels. The total strength of animals now with the Chinese is believed to be round about 5 to 6 thousand.
  • 3 jeeps were reported to have been brought into Lhasa of which two are seen.

6. Airfields and landing grounds.
An airfield is reported near Chamdo. Two planes are said to be arriving daily from China. Air dropping near Giamda and Pembago reported. NO information is available about landing grounds or air strips in any other area. The proposed site for constructing a landing ground for Lhasa Area is said to be near Medu Gongkar.

7. Nothing to report.

8. Propaganda.
(a) Through lectures, theatrical shows, posters, leaflets.
(b) (i) The main object of the propaganda directed towards the troops is to build up their morale stress on the strength of new China and her powerful ally the U.S.S.R. and as such is quite effective.
(ii) The local people are still mentally hostile towards the Chinese. The Chinese propaganda, at times puerile, does NOT sink into the religious Tibetan minds. There had been instances of destruction of the posters an d leaflets displayed by the Chinese. But the Chinese believe in harping on whatever they have to say with the strongest of conviction. Future results unpredictable.

Deciphered 27/2/53

Thursday, September 8, 2016

It’s in China’s interest to realise Indian concern

Joint exercises between China and Pakistan in POK (Khunjerab)
My article It’s in China’s interest to realise Indian concern appeared in the Edit Page of The Pioneer

Here is the link...

One Belt One Road is a great initiative, but it’s not an easy one. What looks like a masterstroke on paper, will turn into a nightmare for both China and Pakistan if India is not brought on board

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in China, he is believed to have raised the topics of terrorism originating in Pakistan as well as the mega China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. Modi told Xi that New Delhi and Beijing must be sensitive to each other’s ‘strategic concerns’, which include terrorism from Pakistan, the CPEC crossing through Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) and India’s membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Though Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup did not confirm if Modi raised the NSG issue: “I am not going into specifics, but if you read between the lines, you can pretty well understand that when we talk of strategic interests and aspirations,” he said that the Indian Prime Minister advocated that “to ensure durable bilateral ties, and steady development, it is of paramount importance that we respect each other’s aspirations, concerns and strategic interests.”
When in 2013, President Xi first spoke of a project “envisioning a trade and infrastructure network that would connect Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient land and sea routes,” very few realised that the One Belt One Road (OBOR) ‘initiative’ had many similarities with the 19th century’s great game. At that time, the OBOR’s declared objective was to increase connectivity between Europe, Asia and Africa. However, a simple look at a map shows that practically, India is left out of the scheme while the creation of several economic corridors mainly benefited China.
Steve Levine wrote in Quartz magazine that the infrastructure that the British built everywhere during the 19th century “enabled their power like bones and veins in a body. …Great nations have done this since Rome paved 55,000 miles (89,000 km) of roads and aqueducts in Europe. In the 19th and 20th centuries, Russia and the US established their own imprint, skewering and taming nearby territories… Now it’s the turn of the Chinese.”
The OBOR is an essential part of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the ‘Chinese Dream’, often described by Xi.  President Xi can say that the OBOR “will serve the long-term interests of all countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative,” but trade and geopolitical control have always worked hand in hand.
Chinese experts say that the project can benefit 4.4 billion people in more than 60 countries, or 63 per cent of the global population …if everyone agrees to participate, which is far from being the case. For Pakistan, the CPEC, a crucial constituent of the OBOR, can be a game changer … if it happens.
The architects of CPEC are aware that PoK is the plaque tournante for controlling the Belt and the Route; the 2,700-kilometre corridor stretching from Kashgar to Gwadar will link two worlds: Central Asia (via Xinjiang) in the north and Europe and Africa (via the maritime route) in the south.
In April 2015, when Xi arrived in Islamabad, he brought with him a munificent gift for Pakistan: An eye-popping $46 billion worth of planned energy and infrastructure investment to boost Pakistan’s flagging economy. This included 10,400 megawatts to Pakistan’s national grid through coal, nuclear and renewable energy projects. It sounded like a Chinese Dream for Islamabad!
The Corridor will have railways, roads, optical fiber cables, dams, pipelines, you name it! Observers marveled at Beijing kindness (and wealth), though Chinese generosity may first and foremost benefit Beijing! But as the project crosses Indian territory in PoK, it is unacceptable for India, which has no say in the ‘initiative’. Delhi could not pretend that nothing is happening and forget about the legality of the accession of Jammu & Kashmir State to India in 1947.
On August 28, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asserted that the CPEC would help bring prosperity to the entire region (read Pakistan). Sharif, who was addressing the inaugural session of the CPEC Summit in Islamabad, remarked that “the economic corridor project is the most important economic initiative for South Asia in the 21st century.”
According to Pakistan Today, he affirmed: “The CPEC is not merely a strategic decision but the culmination of 10 years of brotherhood and cooperation between China and Pakistan” before concluding: “Our relations with China are of the utmost importance.”
Incidentally, it appears that the Pakistan’s Cabinet has recently approved a long-term defence agreement with China. The Express Tribune reported that the approval was given by Sharif on July 15 after his return from London. The Cabinet would have agreed to a summary draft agreement to enhance defence and security cooperation with China in several fields.
On August 15, Modi’s speech touched a raw nerve in Islamabad and Beijing. On the previous day, Pakistan’s Independence Day, Sharif had dedicated his country’s independence to the ‘freedom of Kashmir from Indian rule’. During the previous weeks, Pakistan had been racking up the Kashmir issue on the world scene.
For the past few months, while India is tired of Beijing’s ‘neutral’ stance on Kashmir, China has been unhappy with India’s lukewarm attitude towards the OBOP and the CPEC. The situation has got worse after the August 15 speech. Liu Zongyi, a senior fellow of Shanghai Institutes for International Studies commented in The Global Times “India’s political goals hinder cooperation with China on the OBOR"”
After quoting former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon who would have expressed ‘support and interest’ to the initiative, the author says: “the current Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed India’s attitude toward the project after he came into power.”
Hu Shisheng, the director of the Institute of South and Southeast Asian and Oceanian Studies said in an interview that China will have ‘to get involved’ if any Indian ‘plot’ disrupts the CPEC in restive Balochistan, the influential Chinese think-tank warned India. This is a serious threat. The presence of General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) was in Urumqi, Xinjiang to discuss military relations, bilateral security cooperation for the CPEC, raised further the suspicion.
Saeed Shah wrote in The Wall Street Journal, “Can you image that a Pakistani brigade of 2,000 soldiers has to guard Chinese workers in Gwadar from the threat of jihadists and separatists, reflecting the challenge of turning this remote fishing town into the hub of an economic corridor between the two nations.”
It is a great, but not easy game. What looked like a masterstroke on paper could turn into a nightmare for both China and Pakistan unless India is taken on board. But how can Pakistan continue to fuel unrest in the valley (with the silent consent of China) and simultaneously get Delhi’s blessings for such a gigantic project? Today China and Pakistan are gambling. China has to understand India’s concern; ultimately it is in the interests of the Middle Kingdom.

Pictures of joint Sino-Pakistani exercises in PoK

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Neglected Ladakh: 64 years ago!

A much-publicized All Party delegation has just paid a two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir.
Of course, Ladakh was not in the program.
A release of the Press Information Bureau (PIB) says that after Srinagar on the first day, the next day the delegation went to Jammu where “the delegation met over 200 persons in about 18 different delegations from various sections of society.”
Addressing media persons in Srinagar, the Home Minister Rajnath Singh remarked that all parties have agreed that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir should improve at the earliest. He also noted that the delegation’s talks with the various sections in J&K have been fruitful.
Various sections minus Ladakhis!
Though an officer of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now been nominated as the Nodal Officer to address the grievances of people of Jammu and Kashmir, it remains that Ladakh once again has not been mentioned.
The neglect of Ladakh is not new as we shall see.
(Though to be fair, the Modi Sarkar has recently started to work on an ambitious plan to link Leh-Ladakh with railway network. The government has handed over the responsibility of the survey work for Bilaspur-Mandi-Manali-Leh railway line to the Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES). Delhi already released Rs 40 crore out of the total Rs 157 crore allotted for the survey work.)

In April 1952, a letter from Sonam Wangyal, a resident of Leh (Ladakh, Kashmir) ended on the desk of the Prime Minister.
The original had been sent to “the Editor of the Times of India, New Delhi.”
It makes interesting reading.
It is entitled: “Utilisation of Prime Minister’s Funds for Leh”.

Here is the letter:
Of all the areas affected by the tribal raids in Kashmir Zanskar an unaccessible and extremely backward part of Ladakh has probably suffered the most. With the exception of the village Padam which has a 40% Muslim population, the entire area is exclusively inhabited by the Buddhists. When Kargil fell to Pakistan the Muslims of Padam anticipating the entry of an Indian force from Lahoul made it their first business to invite Pakistan troops from Kargil. In this they succeeded and what the Buddhist suffered during the occupation of their land by Pakistan, how their Gumpas [monasteries] were looted and desecrated, their women outraged, their men slaughtered and their houses rifted is common knowledge.
Hundreds of them fled to Kulu and a large percentage of them perished during their fugitive wanderings. Several families were clean wiped out. Many who returned after the recapture of Kargil by Indian troops, found all their property gone.
They were still groaning under the devastating blow of a cruel fate, when another dreadful misfortune followed. By a strange irony of fate, it was the very people who had invited Pakistan troops to Zanskar who became instrumental in opening a new chapter of woes for the poor Buddhists of the unfortunate area.
They now, it appears, pretended to be in danger from the Buddhist majority and demanded police protection. The Government readily acceded to their demand and against all precedent, deputed a police force from Kashmir to maintain law and order in Zanskar.
Probably the authorities were unaware that a permanent police force has never before been posted in Zanskar that the people of this area can be aptly described as two-legged sheep and that the establishment of a police showki was like throwing the sheep to wolves. As was to be expected the police force having absolutely no check on their doings started their game of organized pillage and plunder, terrorizing the people with the display of clanging fetters.
In the Lugnak area every family was forced to pay a blackmail of Rs. 60/- and the already ruined people had to sell their surviving sheep and horses to fulfill the demands of the police. Even decrepit old women with nothing to call their own were not spared.
One poor Lama — Lobzong Chhewaing — had retired into seclusion for spiritual exercise and under the custom in vogue among the Buddhist in Tibet could not leave his retreat for the period of retirement. Not to be disturbed, therefore, he sent Rs.100/- (instead of Rs.60/-) in anticipation of the police visitation. But this did not secure him the immunity he expected. The gang came and the Lama had to pay Rs.400/-. From the villages in this area alone the police collected about Rs. 4,000/-.
The last straw was yet to come. Nature now dealt the finishing blow to complete the work of devastation started by man. The crops failed during the current year and famine conditions supervened. When the scanty quantity of food yielded by the soil was exhausted people began literally to eat grass and green mouths could be seen on all sides. In November no vestige even of grass was left and a large scale exodus to Kulu began. Deaths occurred by the score. About a hundred people are still going from pillar to post in Simla, Jogindranagar, Boroth, Bhakda, Kulu, etc., etc.
Thakur Mangal Chand of Lahoul was approached by these stricken people with their tale of woe. He communicated it to Dr. B.S. Bodh who in return approached Shri Rahula Sankrityayana. The latter again brought the whole affair to the notice of the President of India who was pleased to communicate information about it to the Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
It is reliably learnt that the Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, was pleased to sanction Rs. 10,000/- (ten thousand) for relief to the distressed people and that this sum has already been remitted to Kashmir. But, how it has been disposed of, nobody knows. This much is certain that not a pie has reached the hands of the sufferers so far. Nor is it likely to reach them if left to the usual red-tape channels.
If this relief is to benefit the real sufferers it must be distributed through H.H. Kushok Bakola who besides being the President of the Tehsil National Conference Leh is also a representative of Ladakh in the Kashmir Constituent Assembly. May we hope that this will be done, that the excesses of the Police will be duly inquired into and that this force will, in any case be withdrawn and replaced, if necessary by an Indian Military Picket.
Nothing was done, though on April 29, 1952, Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, the head Lama of Ladakh wrote to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
On May 3, 1952, Bakula received a communication from the Prime Minister’s Office (from M.O. Mathai, PS to the PM).
About Ladakh ‘associating itself more closely with India’, Nehru informed Bakula that “it is not feasible for a variety of reasons among them being the fact that the whole question of Kashmir is before the United Nations.”
That was 64 years ago.
Many feel that there will always be a reason to ‘privilege’ the Valley, after all they are more noisy.

Here is Nehru’s answer (via his PS):
Dear Sir,
Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, has received your letter of April 29th. You have based that letter on certain statements made by Shaikh Mohammad Abdullah and others. As a matter of fact, the reporting of that statement was incorrect and has been subsequently rectified.
The Prime Minister appreciates your desire to have close relations with India. Indeed those relations not only of Ladakh but of the whole of the Kashmir State will no doubt become closer in many ways.
Your particular demand for Ladakh to associate itself more closely with India is not feasible for a variety of reasons among them being the fact that the whole question of Kashmir is before the United Nations.
Prime Minister asked me to inform you that there is no reason for any apprehension on your part in regard to Ladakh or Kashmir as a whole.
Yours faithfully
Private Secretary

Friday, September 2, 2016

China sends a veiled threat to India

China Tibet Online published a strange photo feature titled, Sacred mountains and lakes witness of China-India relationship.
The article sounds like a warning to India.
The first photo shows the historic Kingdom of Guge in Ngari (Western Tibet). The caption says: “When coming to issues regarding the borderlands between China and India, many people will think about ‘Southern Tibet’ which actually includes Tibet’s Nyingchi, and a part of Lhoka.”
Let us remember that China’s 'Southern Tibet' engulf the entire Indian State of Arunachal Pradesh.
The caption continues: “There is a place which maybe makes India ‘feel restless’, it is the Ngari Prefecture. Many actions that the Chinese government has taken in the Ngari can lead to India’s criticism.”
Why should India feel restless?
Why should India ‘criticizes’ China’s policy in Ngari, considering that it is one areas which has received less attention from Beijing …so far.
There is however no doubt that in the years to come, Lhasa (and Beijing) will develop Western Tibet on a large, bringing millions of tourists with the attendant infrastructure close to India’s borders.

The second picture reinforces the warning.
It shows and artillery regiment practicing in Ngari sub-sector of the Tibet Military Area Command (photo may have been taken somewhere else): “From what can be observed on the map, Ngari is an important gateway in China’s southwestern borderland region. The straight-line distance from the Zhada County [Tsamda Dzong] to India’s capital city of New Delhi is just 500 kilometers, which possesses a very important strategic positioning,” says the article.
It really sounds like a threat.

The third picture shows devotees in the Ganga. The caption says: “Apart from the fact of the close distance, India’s Ganges River, the river that is crucial to India’s life and passes through the most fertile lands and the most populated areas in India, originates from Ngari. In Tibetan language, the upper reaches of the Ganges River are called the “Majiazangbu” [Mabja Tsangpo] which means ‘the peacock river’ [from the peacock’s mouth]”.

Next image shows a statue taken in front of the Kunsha Airport in Ngari “which symbolizes the landmark shapes of the four rivers. There are four big famous rivers in the Ngari area which are respectively named as ‘the Horse-spouted River’ [Brahmaputra], ‘the Lion-spouted River’ [Indus], ‘the Elephant-spouted River’ [Sutlej] and ‘the Peacock River’ [Ganga], according to the shapes of the headwater mountains.”
What is the message for India?
There is no doubt that in controlling the rivers of Tibet, China has a great advantage on the downstream nations, India in particular.
India knows it and has to live with it, while reminding China from time to time, that these rivers are ‘shared’ resources, not belonging to the upstream State only.

Then a picture a hydro-power station on the Indus, near Ngari town; the article comments: “The four big rivers are the headwaters of China’s Yarlungzangbo [Yarlung Tsangpo or Brahmaputra] River as well as India’s Ganges River and Indus River. India used to criticize China constructing hydro-power stations.”
China does not ‘criticizes’ China, but just wants to be informed on what is going on ‘shared’ rivers, which are not the unique property of China.

The next photo depicts a beautiful highway in Ngari area: “As an important passageway in the southwestern border area, Ngari has been developing rapidly in recent years. The state has continuously established infrastructure in Ngari including transportation, hydro stations, communication etc.”
There is no doubt that in the next 5 years, China will concentrate its energies in developing Western Tibet with serious implications for the security of India’s borders. I already mentioned on the blog, the improvement of the NH219, the ‘Aksai Chin road’ connecting Western Tibet and Xinjiang, which has already started.
It seems to be ‘the priority’ for the Lhasa government, now lead by Wu Yingjie, but also for a restructured PLA.
Let us not forget that the entire Tibetan plateau is now under ONE Command, the Western Theater Command and the powers of the Tibet Military Command have been greatly enhanced in the recent months.

Then there is a photo of Mount Kailash. The caption notes: “The Chinese government always advocates for a good direction for the relationship between the two countries. China and India have a long friendship history especially with exchanges in the regard of Buddhism. ‘The sacred mountain’ within Ngari, Mount Kailash, is also considered to be at the center of the world by Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Tibetan Bon religion as well as ancient Jain.”

Amazingly, one gets to see Shiva, “Kailash is the resident place of the highest god, Shiva, who is regarded as the ‘destroying god in Hinduism. The third eye on the forehead of Shiva can spit out flames that turn everything on Earth into ashes.”
Though it is good that China admits that the ‘highest Indian god’ resides in Tibet/China, it is a bit surprising to see the masala, of military, infrastructure and religious pictures in the same article.
Then there is a photo of pilgrims performing the parikrama around the Kailash “always surrounded by white clouds which makes it very difficult to see its real look. Every year the faithful Buddhist pilgrims from India, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibetan-inhabited areas in China come to the foot of the sacred mountain. They circle the mountain, knock their heads on the ground and pray, all is for the purpose of receiving providence and being able to see the mountain peak,” says the China Tibet Online.
Incidentally, the same article appeared in Chinese, but without the photos (at least the article I saw).

You can’t have Kailash without the Manasarovar; the website explains: “To the south of Mount Kailash, there is a sacred lake called Lake Manasarovar which is also considered as the resident place of gods by the religious followers. The lake water is formed by the melted snows of Mount Kailash which runs in different directions, therein forming the Horse-spouted River in the east [Brahmaputra], the Peacock-spouted River in the south [Ganga], the Elephant-spouted River [Sutlej] in the west and the Lion-spouted River in the north [Indus]."
The last picture shows Indian pilgrims at Nathu-la (Sikkim) on their way to the Holy Mountain, “after they circle Mount Kailash they will come to the lake to bath, and in this they purify their souls and wash away sins.”

This type masala (military, religion, diplomacy, etc.) is rare in the Chinese press.
The article definitively contains a veiled threat to India: China is going to develop the area on a mega scale, and India should not feel 'restless' about it and should not ‘criticize’ China.
The message is perhaps: India should feel restless.
Coincidentally, China Military Online announced that General Fan Changlong, the senior vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission (CMC) recently visited the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Tibet Autonomous Region.
During his ‘inspection to frontier defense units’, he urged the PLA troops to resolutely safeguard the security and stability of China's western border areas. The general visited the troops stationed in Hotan, Ngari and Shigatse, “where he talked with soldiers, inspected defense facilities and logistics support conditions of the companies. “
Speaking to the troops, he said that with harsh natural conditions, the Western Theater Command is undertaking arduous and heavy tasks.”
He mentioned “the construction of installations and facilities for war preparation, training and living in frontier defense units should be accelerated."
He was accompanied by General Xu Fenlin, deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department, Lt Gen Liu Lei, Political Commissar of PLA Army, and Gen Zhao Zongqi, commander of the Western Theater Command. Though not mentioned Lt Gen Xu Yong, the boss of the Tibet Military Command must have been around.
Is it another message for India?