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

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From 50 Years Ago: Tibet, China and India.

Editorial from Volume XI, No 16, April 18, 1959.

There has in recent weeks been a flood of ill-informed and ill-considered criticism of the official Indian stand in relation to Tibet. Critics have roundly denounced Nehru for weakness, equivocation and double-thinking. In doing so, they could scarcely have reflected on the implications of their accusations. After all, what is it that they expect India to do? Do they seriously expect Nehru to send the Indian armed forces to Lhasa and force the Chinese back? Do they seriously believe that any threat of that sort by India would quickly bring the Chinese to their knees? Or do they seriously advise that we should break off our relations with China, or denounce China in terms which would lead to such a break-off, or at the very least completely ruin our chances of ever mediating in the dispute to the advantage of both Tibet and China?

The fact is that Nehru’s attitude has been precisely right. A very easy muddle has been very admirably avoided. We have hospitably and respectfully received the Dalai Lama in our midst – that is our gesture of friendship and sympathy for the rebel Tibetans. They expected us to make him safe, and we have not let them down. We have categorically disap-proved of the assault on Tibetan autonomy – that is our answer to the silly charge of double-think. There has been no attempt on the part of New Delhi to whitewash the fault of the Chinese in this respect. We have repeatedly stressed China’s suzerainty over Tibet, and said again and again that the Tibetans must contin-ue to accept it – that is our gesture of friendliness to the Chinese. No doubt, China would like us to stop our defence of Tibetan autonomy and give up the Dalai Lama to them. No doubt, the Tibetans would like us to denounce the Chinese without reserve and break off with them. But it is neither right nor necessary to fall over completely to one side or the other.

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