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Digital Archive International History Declassified

October 29, 1959

REPORT FROM THE PLA GENERAL STAFF DEPARTMENT, 'BEHIND INDIA’S SECOND ANTI-CHINA WAVE'

This document was made possible with support from the MacArthur Foundation

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    The Chinese military report listed Nehru's six goals in the border conflict with China: Force China to accept the McMahon line, alleviate the internal contradictions within Indian moderates, reverse the detriment on his reputation incurred by the interference in the Tibet dispute, strike the Indian Communist Party, flatter the US for aid, and create a Himalayan Union. None of those goals were achieved.
    "Report from the PLA General Staff Department, 'Behind India’s Second Anti-China Wave'," October 29, 1959, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, PRC FMA 105-00944-07, 84-90. Translated by 7Brands https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/114758
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Military Updates

Intelligence Department of the General Staff Headquarters

[…]

Behind India’s Second Anti-China Wave

Following the rebellion in Tibet, India capitalized on the Sino-Indian border dispute and initiated the second anti-China wave in mid-August. With Nehru being the chief commander, this movement was on a rather high profile in the beginning, represented by more than ten distorted and instigating speeches within just one month. The rightists are even more arrogant in the fabrication of slander, so that even some intelligent people have become carried away in an unreasonable sense of nationalism, they are ideologically confused, and their attitude has wavered. For this reason, the Sino-Indian relationship is at a ten-year low with an intensified military situation across the Sino-Indian border.

This anti-China wave is a continuation of the Tibet issue and a consequence of the prevalence of the political rightists in India. For the Nehru-led leadership, this second anti-China wave is to “kill six birds with one stone”:

1. To force China to accept the “McMahon Line:” although India raised the 2,000 kilometer border as the topic of discussion this time, India is still focused on the sector to the east of Bhutan, i.e. the so-called “McMahon Line.” Since independence, India has always intended to inherit imperialist Britain’s expansionism and it is very dissatisfied with our stance of non-recognition and temporary maintenance of the status-quo. India used to trouble us during the printing of our maps. It felt even more alarmed when our armed forces reached the line because it was worried that we would cross the line to hunt down the rebels, as we do not recognize the line. It was even more worried about our recovery of the region to the south of this line after we consolidated our control over Tibet. Following our settlement of the Tibetan Rebellion, India was prepared to underscore the border dispute. It has gradually intensified its military presence in the region and repeatedly urged us to demonstrate our attitude. India became even more desperate with our silence, so it initiated border conflicts at Longju [Langjiu] with an aim to impose military, diplomatic and public opinion pressures on us and hence coerced us into recognizing the line.

2. Internal contradictions among moderates: the internal struggles within the Indian National Congress have become even more intensified this year. Following the annual congress, the rightists capitalized on the temporary economic difficulties and conjured with the domestic anti-revolutionary forces to attack the Indian government fiercely in grain nationalization, land quotas, cooperative farming and the implementation of the Five-Year Plan. They also utilized the Tibet issue to urge Nehru to change the neutral policy. Meanwhile, the rightists also conducted separatist activities. Some senior rightists and representatives of the bourgeois and landowners have established the extreme rightist Liberal Party in August this year with an aim to urge Nehru to change his domestic and foreign policies. Nehru has succumbed to such pressures by successively comprising with the rightists on the Tibet issue, the overthrow of the Kerala Provincial Government, the dismissal of the Ministry of Grains (supporting Nehru), and the alleviation of relations with Pakistan. Such compromises further instigated the rightists. Moreover, the Indian National Congress is also facing intensified internal competitions and loosening of discipline. Some provincial councilors of the Congress have even initiated a joint signing to overthrow the current administration. On the other hand, rising grain prices, the failure to improve land relationships, and increasing unemployment have further intensified the conflict between the ruling party and the Indian people, with rampant rebellions across India. In order to alleviate such internal conflicts, Nehru has capitalized on the Sino-Indian border disputes to stimulate patriotism and unite the country in a foreign battle.

3. To reverse the disadvantages of interfering in the Tibet dispute: the Tibet issue fully discloses the anti-revolutionary nature of the Indian ruling party. With our counterattack, Nehru’s reputation is at an all-time low both at home and abroad. Nehru cannot reconcile this, wants to wash himself [of it], and intends to impose the responsibility on China. He supports the Dalai [Lama’s]  efforts to raise the Tibet issue at the UN on the one hand and slings slanders at China with “imperialism” and “invasion” on the other, apparently wishing to reverse his disadvantages by charging China with “expansionism.” Meanwhile, our considerable development and achievements in socialist construction have generated positive impacts among the Indian people because the Indian economy has been developing too slowly. Therefore, the Indian government feels urgency to initiate a new anti-China wave with an aim to disgrace China and cover the failure of its reforms.

4. To strike the Indian Communist Party: the Indian Central Government has taken over Kerala Province, but the winner is not Nehru; it is the Indian Communist Party. The truth behind the “democracy” and “freedom” which Nehru has long advocated has been revealed. Even the bourgeois media is reluctant to cheer. There are disputes within the National Congress Party and it has been quite instructive to the general public of India. In order to cover such failures, Nehru intends to force the Indian Communist Party to demonstrate its stance and then tear down the patriotic position of the Indian Communist Party.

5. To flatter the US for aid: a total investment of 11.6 billion rupees is expected for the last two years of India’s Second Five-Year Plan, with foreign aid accounting for more than half (6.4 billion rupees). Foreign aid will still play a major role in the Third Five-Year Plan. As India distinctively swung to the right politically last year, more American aid has poured in, totaling 800 million USD in both loans and donations, compared to only 1.5 billion USD over the last seven years. Recently, the US, Britain, West Germany, Canada, and Japan have also decided to give loans of 250 million USD to India in 1960 and that has further affected the political stance of India. In order to flatter the US and create certain tensions in the Far East on the eve of Khrushchev’s visit to the US, it joined the US in slandering China and has not hesitated to publicly act as the vanguard of the anti-China [movement].

6. To create a Himalayan Union: the Indian media and Parliament spread rumors about China’s border conflicts with Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan and claim that China is encroaching upon small nations. Nehru even publicly declared that, as a guardian, any invasion of Bhutan and Sikkim would be equivalent to an invasion of India and that India is obligated to protect these two small nations. He also claimed to stand by the side of Bhutan, Sikkim, and Nepal against Chinese aggression. Meanwhile, Nehru invited the Prime Minister of Bhutan for negotiations in Delhi. His behaviors and declarations distinctively show India’s intentions to turn Bhutan into a protected state like Sikkim and to strengthen control over Nepal, hence turning India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim into a Himalayan Union.

In light of these six purposes, Nehru has played a leading role and conspired with the rightists. In addition to the foregoing common points, however, the rightists also intend to force Nehru to fundamentally change his domestic and foreign policies and give up the last three political assets, i.e. neutralism, the Five Principles [of Peaceful Coexistence], and Sino-Indian friendship. They also intend to ostracize the neutral forces, dismiss the sober-minded figures around Nehru, and turn the cabinet into a rightist one. This is exactly the plot of the international imperialists. Therefore, the international and the Indian anti-revolutionary forces actually intend to initiate a peaceful coup in India through a series of anti-China waves. This plot is highlighted by the sudden resignation of [Kodendera Subayya] Thimayya to force [V. K. Krishna] Menon to step down. Nehru has not succumbed to the attempts of the rightists so far because Nehru knows that the Indian people support the Sino-Indian friendship; that he is the “initiator” of the Five Principles, and that neutralism is the basis of his present international status and philosophy. Giving up these basic elements is equivalent to surrendering to the rightists. Nehru also knows that the rightists’ efforts to edge out the neutral forces are also to cut his personal power and finally deprive his leadership. Some of his intimates in the cabinet, e.g. the Minister of Food, have been edged out and they are pillars in the implementation of Nehru’s policies. Nehru is aware that he will become the next target. In particular, he is very wary of Thimayya, who is distinctively ambitious at taking away his leadership. Therefore, Nehru is still reluctant to fully support the rightists. In this sense, we have to say Nehru is still a rightist neutral. As a result, during this anti-China movement, Nehru refused Ayub Khan’s proposal to create an “India and Pakistan alliance” and he reiterated Sino-Indian friendship. He has also been conservative in the attacks against China and kept asking for negotiations and our understanding of his personal condition. He also intended to protect Menon after the resignation of Thimayya. It is said that Nehru has even ordered Thimayya to resign from the chief of staff.

So far, the main purposes of this anti-China wave, other than the acclaims from the imperialists, have not been achieved. First, China is very clear that it does not recognize the McMahon Line. Second, despite some Indians’ misunderstanding of China in the border dispute, the confusion has gradually been dispersed through the disclosure of the truth. For that reason, the anti-China movement has become groundless. Third, Nehru’s plan to shift the domestic conflict has become bankrupt with the resignation of Thimayya and the eruption of the anti-hunger and anti-price-hike strikes in West Bengal. Fourth, the plot to annex Bhutan and form a Himalayan Union has not progressed smoothly. The Prime Minister of Bhutan repeatedly declared that Bhutan was a neutral nation during his visit to Delhi. Nepal, Bhutan, and Sikkim have also repeatedly denied any military threats from China. This series of failures have forced Nehru to retreat.

China has always stuck to the policy of peaceful negotiation and self-defense regarding border disputes. With the emergence of this issue, we have taken an aggressive and reasonable stance with an aim to win over Nehru. Such a stance has rendered us in a fully justified and active condition. We have dealt a blow to the invading Indian troops militarily and fully disclosed the truth diplomatically and through the media. We have also proposed three basic principles for the settlement of the border dispute: (1) fully negotiate to settle the border disputes; (2) maintain the status-quo before any settlement is established; (3) specific disputes should be settled through negotiations. Therefore, India is now in a rather unjustified and passive condition and it has to negotiate with us on the border dispute. From a long-term perspective, it seems that India plans to recognize our present border in the western sector in return for our recognition of the “McMahon Line” in the eastern sector. At the current stage, India plans to settle the disputes over some regions based on the “McMahon Line” by withdrawing some of its sentries beyond the line. It is said that India has given up on the attempt to return to Longju and withdraw from Tamaden [Tamadun]. It shows that India is prepared to enter into negotiations with us and that the tense situation at the border may ease somewhat. But we must know that the Indian anti-revolutionary forces will never give up. They will maintain pressure on us in the long-run. For that reason, it is possible that India will create bilateral tensions based on our non-recognition of the “McMahon Line” and the existence of certain border disputes.