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Differences on Mao

Differences on Mao G P D THE third session of the fifth National People's Congress was described by People's Daily as "a meeting of democracy and reform". Indeed, Beijing seems particularly keen to give the impression that no leader can be considered above the people. During the days of the Cultural Revolution huge portraits of Marx and Lenin were to be seen every day in the Tian An Men Square. They are no longer there. Mao Zedong was glorified during the same period. Now the current view is that he is one of the great leaders of the China. Beijing Review recently carried a picture of Mao but only to remind the people that he was one of the four great makers of the Chinese Revolution. Mao was shown in the picture presumably sharing a joke with Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlui and Chu De.

Break with Mao

G P D THE third plenary session of the fifth National People's Congress has just concluded in Beijing, Going by the reports of Vice-Premier Yao Yilin and the Finance Minister Wang Bingqian to the Congress, it has been a Congress of threat optimism

Return of the Lost Soldiers

Return of the Lost Soldiers G P D FORTY Indian soldiers had strayed into Chumbi valley in Tibet due to bad weather. How they got there or strayed there is not very important. Bad weather should be an adequate explanation. The gratifying thing About this development is that the Chinese authorities decided not to make a diplomatic or political issue of It. They have returned the forty soldiers who had lost their way in Chinese territory. A problem which could have become very embarrassing to India and China has been amicably settled. The Chinese have very wisely refused to be provoked by what could have after all been a genuine mistake. The Chinese deserve further compliments on their remarkable restraint in not publicising the issue. The matter, in other words, has been settled in a way in which it should have been. This is one more indication that the recognition of the Heng Samrin government in Kampuchea notwithstanding the Government of China does not want any trouble with India, There have been various lobbies active in this country. One hopes that they would learn some useful lesson from this. There was a meeting in New Delhi early this month, so a friend tells us, where several Congress(I) MPs had gathered together. This meeting, attended by retired diplomats, defence experts and several others, was intended to reiterate the dangers of getting too close to China, The main consideration for these people was what would happen to our relations with the Soviet Union in the event of Sino-Indian normalisation. The Soviets seem to have acquired rather timid" and nervous friends lately. One friendly gesture from China and these people are worried about a setback to Indo-Soviet relations! Indeed it is worthwhile asking if the basis of the Indo-Soviet treaty is so brittle that a friendly wind blowing from Beijing can break it. Indo-Soviet friendship can be looked at from two different perspectives. One is that of people like Bhupesh Gupta who perhaps look upon this relationship as an evidence of anti-Imperialism. The other perspective is one of Indira Gandhi and bar trusted lieutenants. They under stand clearly that the Soviet Union is the only big power which does and will continue to support our big power ambitions south of the Himalayas, Whatever one's views of these ambitions, it is quite clear that they provide a lasting basis to our friendship with the Soviet Union.

India s Move

India's Move G P D THE initial round of rebuffs is over. Deng Xiaoping set the ball rolling by offering a package to India which Nehru had rejected in 1960. Indira Gandhi reacted by suddenly recognising the Heng Samrin government in Phnom Penh. This recognition was a part of the election commitments of her government. However, it appeared for a time that the commitment might in fact be forgotten. Then came the Deng proposal and Indira Gandhi reacted by doing something which must have looked to Beijing rather strange if not outright unfriendly. We extended our recognition to Heng Samrin's government to remind the Chinese that the Sino-Indian exchanges can be two-way traffic. If when Vajpayee was in China, Chinese attitudes to the Indochinese states need not have concerned India, equally Huang Hua need not be bothered about our attitudes to Indochinese states. Vajpayee did not take this view and cut short his visit to China. Huang evidently has done something similar. He has postponed his visit to New Delhi

Making a Point

Making a Point G P D THE recognition of the Heng Samrin government in Kampuchea was the fulfilment of a promise which Indira Gandhi's Congress had made to the people in its election manifesto earlier this year. Yet the element of surprise in the decision does not disappear altogether. The surprise obviously consists in the timing of the decision. The champions of this decision cannot draw the conclusion that the sterling 'anti- imperialism' of Indira Gandhi has finally asserted itself and that India has as a consequence taken the correct course in foreign policy. Apart from everything else, this reasoning does not explain as to why the decision was not made earlier. In such matters timing is as important as the decision itself. There has to he an explanation of why Heng Samrin was recognised now.

Deadweight of the Past

Deadweight of the Past G P D WE may be closer to Sino-Indian rapprochement now than at any time since the sixties. Several indications have been there. To begin with, Eric Gonsalves of the External Affairs Ministry made a successful trip to Beijing. He carried with him Narasimha Rao's invitation to his counterpart in Beijing, Huang Hua, to visit India. The invitation was accepted. There has since been the case of an Indian defence journal being granted an interview by Deng Xiaoping. This has been followed by a delegation to Beijing made up of the academics. The activity seems to be at a fairly high level.

Junior Partner s Role

Junior Partner's Role G P D ON her way back from Zimbabwe Indira Gandhi told newsmen in Bom- bay that her foreign policy was not Wavering. That was indeed a brave statement to make. Foreign policy of her government, if it could be called Policy at all, has lately been an exercise in agreement with evervone. The number of statesmen with whom Indira Gandhi and Narsimha Rao have agreed during the last hundred or so days is amazing. The range of these visiting dignitaries is quite large. it is no small feat to word your foreign policy in such a way that, from a South Korean statesman to the PLO chief Yasser Arafat, everybody agrees with you. We just agree with everyone. That seems to be the current line in South Block. What we agree on, being a trivial matter of detail, is never clearly specified.

A Case Concerning the People

G P D THE fifth plenary session, of the eleventh Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which was held in the last week of February in Beijing, made one momentous decision. It settled the question of "rehabilitation of Comrade Liu Shaoqi". The rehabilitation came with the official acknowledgement that a decade of the once-famous but now notorious Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966- 1976) is finally pushed into oblivion This action of the Central Committee by itself was neither unexpected nor surprising. With Deng's second return to the pinnacle of power, it was a question of time when Liu would be rehabilitated. It is scarcely surprising that the Central Committee has now discovered that "Lin Biao, the Gang of Four and company concocted false evidence and deliberately subjected Comrade Liu Shaoqi to political frame-up and physical persecution, and they overthrew a large number of leading party, government and army cadres on the false charges of being Liu Shaoqi's agents". Deng Xiaoping himself was one of these leading party cadres. His rehabilitation has to lead logically and inexorably towards the rehabilitation of Liu Shaoqi. This was inevitable.

Righteous Anger and Non-intervention

Righteous Anger and Non-intervention G P D THE Soviets have begun their long innings in Afghanistan on a safe note. Problems uppermost in the Soviet mind must have been the American and the Chinese response to their liberation-adventure. The Americans, of course, have blown hot and cold. Carter could scarcely do otherwise in an election-year. The Pakistanis have been promised some aid. The Defence Secretary, Brown, has travelled to Beijing, The pompous Brzezinski has as usual taken some time off for semiphilosophical musings on the state of the world. Nothing else has happened: By taking the Afghan problem to the Security Council, the Americans signalled that they were reacting essentially on a low key. The Soviets were going to use their veto against any West-sponsored resolution. And they did. Now the General Assembly has done its own ritual. It has passed a resolution which it has no power to implement. The American response thus has amounted to righteous anger and non-intervention.

Waist Deep in Big Muddy!

Waist Deep in Big Muddy! G P D THERE was, I think, a famous Joan Baez song during the days of the American barbarism in Viet Nam: "Waist deep in big muddy!'' Something similar has happened to the Soviets in Afghanistan. They are there to sink deeper and deeper in the mud.


A Little More Natural G P D IT seems that the inconceivable might happen after all. The leader of the Chinese delegation to Moscow for talks with the 'social imperialists' suddenly became aware of "the glorious revolutionary tradition" of the Soviet people. The purist might say that the Chinese had never questioned it. He would be right too. The Chinese, like socialists all over the world who do not confuse the traditions of the people with those, of the rulers, have always distinguished between governments and peoples, and so on. However, lately the official speech employed by various Chinese diplomats visiting Moscow had not been so generous. They had tended to be rather reticent about the tradition. They have, of course, been very vocal about the doubtful traditions of the Soviet rulers. It came, therefore, as a minor surprise that the term 'revolutionary tradition' was heard in Moscow after such a long time. Even the socialists in Moscow do not use it very often these days.

Mourning the Last Master

magazines. Consumer and Retailer has yet to complete one full year of publication (the August issue is the tenth) and it, too, is struggling for advertisement support, as does New Delhi edited by Khushwant Singh. Bombay, the newest entrant in the field of magazine journalism is a different cup of tea, though. Unlike New Delhi it concerns itself specifically with India's cosmopolitan city, but whether Bombay is ready for it is another matter. The production of the. magazine is slick and even conceding that the city has a large and sophisticated readership it is doubtful whether it will sell in sufficient numbers to make it an economically viable proposition. Even New Delhi must find it hard to carry on with so little advertisement support.


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