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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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China and South Asia

South Asia was one of the most important regions in China's international relations and foreign policy during the Cold War. This collection, drawn largely from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Archive, sheds light on China's relations with India, Pakistan, and, to a lesser extent, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) from 1949 onwards. It includes high-level records of conversation between Chinese and South Asian leaders, Chinese embassy dispatches from the region, and other types of records. See also the Digital Archive collection on the Sino-Indian Border War, 1962. (Photo: The Prime Minister of Pakistan, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, meets Mao Zedong (right) in October 1956.) (

  • August 02, 1963

    Letter, Homi Bhabhi to Jawaharlal Nehru

    Homi Bhabha writes to Prime Minister Nehru to convey that the Chinese nuclear test will be of no military significance and Chinese possession of a few bombs will not make any difference to the military situation. In order to counter the Chinese bomb’s psychological-political impact, Dr. Bhabha argues that India needs to be in a position to produce the bomb within few months.

  • August 12, 1963

    Record of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai, Vice Premier Chen Yi, and Pakistani Ambassador Raza

    Zhou Enlai, Chen Yi, and Ambassador Raza coordinate China and Pakistan's strategies toward the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. They also discuss Sino-American relations.

  • November 18, 1963

    Record of Conversation between Zhou Enlai, Chen Yi, and Head of Pakistan’s Delegation Participating in the PRC’s National Day Celebration, Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani

    Conversation between Zhou Enlai and Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani, representing Pakistan. The two discuss, at length, their criticisms of United States imperialism, pointing to, among other things, Algeria and French Indochina as examples of imperialism's impending fall. Zhou then explains to Bhashani the importance of holding an Afro Asian Conference before the upcoming Non-Aligned Conference, which Zhou views as an attempt by Nehru and Tito to "destroy the Afro-Asian Conference." Conversation concludes by discussing the Kashmir conflict.

  • December 19, 1963

    Record of the Third Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and President Nasser

    Zhou Enlai describes the state of Sino-American relations and Sino-Indian relations. Zhou and Nasser also discuss the Egyptian economy and Sino-Egyptian relations.

  • December 20, 1963

    Record of Premier Zhou Enlai's Calling on President Nasser

    Zhou and Nasser discuss domestic conditions inside of Egypt, the Sino-Indian border war, and the possibilities for a nuclear weapons free zone in Africa and the Middle East.

  • February 25, 1964

    Record of Conversation between Chen Yi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

    Chen Yi and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto conversation, focusing mainly on the Soviet Union's current foreign policy regarding India. Both Chen Yi and Bhutto criticize the Soviet Union's support for India. Bhutto complains that China and Pakistan are the "only countries that expose India" for their behavior. Both agree that Pakistan and China must work hard together to prevent India -- with its support from the US and Soviet Union -- from strengthening its influence over the Security Council, UN and Afro-Asian politics.

  • July 16, 1964

    Record of Conversation from Chairman Mao’s Reception of with Pakistani Minister of Commerce Wahid Zaman

    Mao and Wahid Zaman discuss Pakistan and China's problems with India, imperialism, and the economic conditions in their countries.

  • October 18, 1964

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in India, 'India's Reactions to China's Nuclear Test'

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in India describing mixed responses of Indian government officials and public regarding China's successful nuclear test.

  • October 19, 1964

    J.S. Mehta, 'China's Bomb and Its Consequences on her Nuclear and Political Strategy'

    Analysis of the recent Chinese nuclear weapon test and it's strategic implications for China's diplomatic and military policies.

  • October 20, 1964

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, 'Pakistan's Reaction to China's Nuclear Explosion'

    The Chinese Embassy in Pakistan summarizes local media responses to China's successful nuclear test.

  • October 22, 1964

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in India, 'India's Reactions to Khrushchev's Removal and China's Nuclear Test'

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in India describing mixed responses of Indians on Khrushchev's removal and China's nuclear test.

  • October 31, 1964

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in India, 'India's Reactions to China's Nuclear Test'

    The Chinese Embassy in India reviews various responses to China's nuclear test among Indian leaders.

  • December 24, 1964

    K.R. Narayanan, 'India and the Chinese Bomb'

    K.R. Narayanan, Director of China Division at Ministry of External Affairs, writes that the explosion of the first nuclear bomb by China will alter the political balance of Asia and the world and development of nuclear weapons by India can be justified and beneficial for the country and the international system as well.

  • April 02, 1965

    Record of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and Pakistan's Foreign Minister Bhutto

    Zhou and Bhutto discuss the Second Asian-African Conference, as well as the potential for a rapprochement between China and the Philippines.

  • April 02, 1965

    Record of Conversation between Premier Zhou Enlai and the President of Pakistan Ayub Khan

    Zhou, Ayub Khan, and Zulfikar Bhutto discuss the Vietnam War, China's relations with the US and the Soviet Union, the Second Asian-African Conference, and the Non-Aligned Movement.

  • April 20, 1965

    Minutes of Conversation between Premier Zhou and Bhutto

    Bhutto shares with Zhou the results of Ayub Khan's visit to the Soviet Union. He also discusses the problems that the Sino-Soviet split has created for Pakistan, Soviet military aid to India, and the Vietnam War.

  • May 19, 1965

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, 'Reactions to China's Nuclear Test'

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in Pakistan describes different responses of Pakistani government officials and foreign government diplomats in Pakistan regarding China's first nuclear weapons test.

  • August 30, 1965

    Note, P. S. Ratnam, 'Starred Question No. 8196 for 30-8-1965 in Lok Sabha'

    The Indian Ministry of Defense evaluated the impact of the Chinese nuclear explosion and reported that the more immediate and real Chinese threat comes from conventional arms. The Chinese nuclear test poses a long term military threat, but its strategic implication and India's consequent actions require constant review.

  • September 09, 1965

    Conversation between Chairman Liu Shaoqi and Premier Zhou Enlai and Charge d'Affaires Jeong Bong-gyu at the 17th National Day Reception held at the North Korean Embassy

    Liu Shaoqi and Jeong Bong-gyu discuss the Indo-Pak War, the likelihood of holding the Second Asian-African Conference, and the war in Vietnam.

  • September 11, 1965

    Cable from the Chinese Embassy in North Korea, 'On North Korea's Response to the Indian Invasion of Pakistan'

    The Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang reports that North Korea's reaction to the Indo-Pak War has been timid.