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Digital Archive International History Declassified

March 01, 1962

NOTE GIVEN BY THE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, PEKING, TO THE EMBASSY OF INDIA IN CHINA, 1 MARCH 1962

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    "Note given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peking, to the Embassy of India in China, 1 March 1962," March 01, 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Notes, Memoranda and Letters Exchanged between the Governments of India and China, November 1961-July 1962: White Paper VI (New Delhi: External Publicity Division, Ministry of External Affairs, 1962), 14-16. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/175949
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Note given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peking, to the Embassy of India in China, 1 March 1962

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China presents its compliments to the Indian Embassy in China and with reference to the note of December 4 and the two notes of December 9, 1961, from the Ministry of External Affairs of the Indian Government to the Chinese Embassy in India, has the honour to state as follows:-

(1) The Indian Government, in its notes, tried to deny the facts stated in the Chinese Government's note of October 7 and its two notes of November 2, 1961, concerning further Indian encroachments and intrusions into China's territory and air space. Not only this, the Indian notes, while levelling· wanton slanders and attacks at the Chinese Government, asserted that the illegal Indian activities of encroaching and intruding into China's territory and air space were Indian measures to safe-guard its territorial integrity. This shows that Indian encroachments and intrusions into Chinese territory and air space are by no means accidental, but deliberate, attempts to realize by force the territorial claims put forward by the Indian Government to the Chinese Government. The Chinese Government cannot but seriously point out that this line of action of the Indian Government is most dangerous and may lead to grave consequences.

(2) In the interest of friendship between China and India, the Chinese Government has always worked for the peaceful settlement of the Sino-Indian boundary question. Although the boundary line pointed out by China is the genuine traditional customary line and that claimed by India is without historical or legal basis, the Chinese Government has all along insisted on a settlement of the boundary question through friendly negotiations. The Chinese Government held that, pending a settlement of the boundary question, the two sides should jointly maintain the status quo of the boundary and refrain from changing it by the use of force or by any other unilateral action. In order to ease the situation along the border the Chinese Government further proposed that the armed personnel of each side withdraw twenty kilometres from the entire boundary and that they stop patrolling there. After these proposals were rejected by the Indian side, China has on its own stopped patrolling within twenty kilornetres on its side of the boundary. The Chinese Government has done this because it is deeply convinced that maintenance of the status qua of the boundary is the only way to avoid military clashes and an indispensable prerequisite to seeking a peaceful settlement of the, boundary question.

(3) The Indian Government has taken a diametrically opposite stand. It has refused to hold negotiations. While persisting in its illegal occupation of the Chinese territory south of the so-called McMahon Line in the eastern sector of the Sino-Indian boundary, it has repeatedly demanded that China withdraw from vast tracts of Chinese territory in the western sector of the Sino-Indian boundary. It not only groundlessly claimed these territories from the Chinese Government, but has actually been undermining the status qua of the boundary and nibbling at Chinese territory by unilateral action. Since 1954, the Indian Government, basing itself on the boundary line it unilaterally claims has occupied, one after another, not a few pieces of Chinese territory in the middle sector of the Sino-Indian boundary. In the past year and more, it has shifted its emphasis in occupying China's territory to the western sector of the Sino-Indian boundary, where Indian troops have steadily pushed forward, continually set up new check-posts and extended their scope of patrol of China's territory. Indian aircraft have intruded into Chinese air space again and again to carry out willful reconnaissance and harassment. As a result, the situation along the Sino-Indian border, far from easing, has become increasingly tense since the talks between the Prime Ministers or the two countries in April, 1960.

(4) In spite of all this, the Chinese Government still hopes that these matters can be settled reasonably through diplomatic channels. Contrary to expectation, the Indian Government arbitrarily described its actions, which are liable to give rise to serious incidents, as measures to safe-guard its own territory. Prime Minister Nehru himself also said, when speaking in Lok Sabha on December 5, 1961, that such actions were taken "in defence". This actually amounts to saying that the Chinese Government must unconditionally accept the territorial claims advanced by the Indian Government, and that even when the Indian side is imposing these territorial claims on China by force, China has no right to raise objection. As the Indian Government is aware, although the Chinese Government does not recognize the so-called McMahon Line unilaterally claimed by the Indian side in the eastern sector of the Sino-Indian boundary, yet in order to maintain the status quo of the boundary pending a settlement of the boundary question it has strictly restrained all its military and administrative personnel from crossing this line. If, like the Indian Government, the Chinese Government had also taken unilateral actions to violate the status quo of the boundary, what would the relations between the two countries have been like? The Chinese Government has not done so and considers that it should not do so. Proceeding from the overall consideration for Sino-Indian friendship, the Chinese Government has all along exercised the greatest self-restraint. The Chinese Government hopes that the Indian Government too will take account of the fact that the present unilateral actions of the Indian Government on the Sino-Indian border, if carried on, will never lead to a settlement of the Sino-Indian boundary question.

(5) The Sino-Indian boundary question can be settled only through peaceful negotiations and not through any other means. The Chinese Government perseveres in this stand. It. was precisely in accordance with this consistent stand of the Chinese Government that Premier Chou En-lai held talks with Prime Minister Nehru in April 1960. Although the talks failed to produce the desired results, Premier Chou En-lai still hoped that negotiations would continue between the two sides. As far as the Chinese side is concerned, the door for negotiations is always open. The Chinese Government has noted that in his speech at Poona on February 11, 1962, Prime. Minister Nehru also indicated that India wanted to settle the Sino-Indian border dispute through peaceful means and not to create an everlasting enmity with China. The Chinese Government hopes that this indicated desire will be translated into action. The Chinese and the Indian Peoples are friendly to each other. China and India are two neighbouring great powers in Asia. No force will ever emerge that can alter the geographical proximity of China and India. However long it may be deferred, the boundary question between China and India will have to be settled peacefully some day. In the interest of the Chinese and Indian people and of Asia and world peace, an early settlement is better than a late one. It is hoped that these views will be given serious consideration by the Indian Government

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China avails itself of this opportunity to renew to the Indian Embassy in China the assurances of its highest consideration.