ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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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.

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