Sunday 2 September 2012

Nehru on the Sino-Japanese dispute

Actually, the following quote (taken from India's China War by Neville Maxwell) is the then-Indian prime minister talking in early September 1959 about the Sino-Indian border dispute, but it adds up to much the same thing:

"Now, it is a question of fact of whether this village or that village or this little strip of territory is on their side or our side. Normally, wherever these are relatively petty disputes, well, it does seem rather absurd for two great countries . . . immediately to rush at each other's  throats to decide whether two miles of territory are on this side or on that side, and especially two miles of territory in the high mountains, where no-one lives.
But where national prestige and dignity is involved, it is not two miles of territory, it is the nation's dignity and self-respect that is involved. And therefore this happens."

 "This" was a violent border clash, one of many leading up to the 1962 war.


justrecently said...

Nehru was a man with a keen mind. He saw the absurdity of the situation, but saw himself in no position to resist the usual conclusions.

Gilman Grundy said...

I don't know - haven't finished the book. Rather too much reading on my plate at the moment and I'm doing my typical thing of just leaving books all over the place and reading whatever's nearest to hand.

Anonymous said...

Nehru wasn't such a peaceful idealist as many think. You can read through this for an alternative view of his handling of the war with China. See below for an excerpt.

If you're not in the mood to read through such a lofty essay, consider Kashmir and the instability and violence that has plagued it since. All this started and was stoked by Nehru's uncompromising stance as well.


In 1956, Zhou Enlai, pointing out to Nehru that borders between their two countries had never been agreed by any treaty in the past, and needed to be determined, told him that notwithstanding its imperialist origins, China was willing to take a ‘more or less realistic position’ on the McMahon Line. To this Nehru replied that the northern frontiers of the British Empire, as bequeathed to India, were unnegotiable.

Gilman Grundy said...

Maxwell says much the same in his book.