Report from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, 'The Soviet Union’s Stance on the Sino-Indian Boundary Question and Soviet-Indian Relations'
This document was made possible with support from MacArthur Foundation
The Soviet Union’s Stance on the Sino-Indian Boundary Question and the Soviet-India Relations
The open differences between China and the Soviet Union over the Sino-Indian boundary question began with a statement released by TASS on 9 September 1959. Afterwards, both sides contacted with each other for more than thirty times on the border issue. When India launched a massive offensive against China in October 1962, after seven major debates (especially after Khrushchev’s visit to China and during the Sino-Soviet talks in Moscow and Bucharest) and a hiatus that lasted a considerable period of time (from the Moscow conference in 1960 to October 1962), Khrushchev again loosened his tongue at a session of the Supreme Soviet, openly attacking China.
The Soviet Union not only took an open stance politically, favoring India and inhibiting China, but also expanded its economic aid to India and sold aircraft and military equipment to India, giving direct encouragement and support to India’s opposition to China.
The main mistaken arguments of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) were as follows: The Nehru regime represented the national interests of India and persisted with nonalignment, while China changed its policy of “unity and struggle” towards India, pushing India towards the West; and the Sino-Indian border conflict was provoked by China and stemmed from China’s “nationalism.”
Our side emphatically pointed out that the conflict had been deliberately provoked by India for the purposes of opposing China, attacking the Communist Party internally while striving for increased American aid externally, and countering the impact of the reforms in Tibet. In this serious international class struggle, CPSU outwardly adopted a neutral stance, but in reality sided with capitalist India and criticized socialist China, which was unprecedented.
We plan to denounce the Soviet Union’s fallacy with the following points:
I. In India’s post-independence period, Nehru represented, to a certain degree, the interests of India’s national bourgeoisie. In the ten years before independence, India became a polarized society; its economic dependence on the imperialists increased, and public resentment and revolts mounted. In such a situation, Nehru adopted, internally, the policy of attaching progressive forces and quelling people’s movements, and externally, the policy of relying on the American imperialists. Long before the occurrence of the Sino-Indian border issue, the Nehru government had introduced a series of reactionary measures. Nehru’s attack against China is the result of his increasingly reactionary domestic and foreign policies. With the development of India’s internal and external class struggles, especially in recent years, Nehru has steadily become the representative of the interests of big bourgeoisie and big landlords.
II. India’s “nonalignment” has long been nonexistent. India is not going to discard the camouflage of nonalignment, a fact appreciated by the American imperialists. The evolution of Nehru’s foreign policy is determined by its class interests rather than driven by his nonalignment policy. Our policy of “unity and struggle” towards India has never changed.
III. The Sino-Indian boundary question is an international class struggle between capitalism and socialism. Nehru’s use of the border issue to attack China has suited his needs in domestic and foreign affairs. However, the Soviet Union has sided with Nehru, tried to erase the nature of China as a socialist country, distorted the truth, and attempted to impose the criminal liability for aggression on China.
IV. The Soviet Union’s stance is not neutral at all; rather, it supports and encourages India’s opposition to China, seriously breaching the provisions of Article III of The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance.
Soviet Union’s Stance on the Sino-Indian Boundary Question and the Soviet-India Relations
- An Account of the Contention between China and the Soviet Union on the Sino-Indian Boundary Question
- Soviet Union’s Viewpoints on the Nehru Regime and Its Main Arguments Concerning the Sino-Indian Border Issue
- How to Perceive India’s Ruling Clique Headed by Nehru
- On the Issue of India’s Nonalignment Policy
- Differences between the Soviet Union and China on the Sino-Indian Border Issue
Appendix I An Account of the Contention between China and the Soviet Union on the Sino-Indian Boundary Question
Appendix II Soviet Union’s Encouragement and Support for India’s Opposition to China
Appendix III Soviet Union’s Main Arguments Concerning the Nehru Regime and Its Foreign Policy
Appendix IV Soviet Union’s Main Arguments Concerning the Sino-Indian Border Issue
I. An Account of the Contention between China and the Soviet Union on the Sino-Indian Boundary Question
(For details, see Appendix I)
- From September 1959 to January 1963, China and the Soviet Union got into touch and held talks with each other for more than thirty times (according to incomplete statistics). The Soviet Union provided twelve sets of documents and materials (including verbal notifications), while we furnished three sets of documents. Soviet leaders and major newspapers openly expressed their stances for about twenty times (according to incomplete statistics); most of the expressions were in India’s favor and biased against China, and the remarks made by Khrushchev at a session of the Supreme Soviet on 12 December 1962 were the most fallacious. Only on extremely rare occasions did the Soviet Union say something fair, but then it would immediately retreat to its usual stance.
- When Indian troops provoked the first armed clash in Longju in August 1959, Khrushchev was actively preparing for his visit to the U.S., hoping for a miracle in Camp David talks. On 6 September, a chargé from the Soviet embassy in Beijing handed Comrade Liu Shaoqi a notification slandering China as having infringed upon Indian territory. Comrade Liu immediately retorted that the notification was an attempt on the part of India to prompt the Soviet Union to put pressure on China, and pointed out the true nature of the clash on the Sino-Indian border to the chargé. On 9 September, the Soviet chargé handed Comrade Chen Yi a letter from the CPSU Central Committee and a copy of a TASS statement. In these documents, CPSU expressed “regret,” “bewilderment” and “concern” for the border clash, and claimed that the clash “poisoned the international atmosphere” on the eve of Khrushchev’s visit to the U.S., and that the Soviet Union thought that it would be unfavorable not to openly express its stance and had decided to issue a statement through TASS on 10 September. Comrade Chen Yi again pointed out the truth to the chargé, stating that India and the U.S. were pressuring China, that it would not be good if we made a statement too early, and that tensions between China and India would not hurt Khrushchev’s visit to the U.S. On the same day, our deputy section chief, Comrade Zhang Hanfu, met with the Soviet chargé twice, giving him Premier Zhou’s letter for Khrushchev, which had been published on 8 September, and asking him to tell the CPSU Central Committee to consider our stance and views expressed in the letter. Comrade Zhang also told him that that our Party Central Committee had not discussed the letter from the CPSU Central Committee. However, CPSU ignored all this and issued the statement via TASS at 7 P.M. on 9 September, a day ahead of time. On 13 September, our Party Central Committee sent a letter to CPSU, pointing out that the TASS statement had shown the whole world the different attitudes of China and the Soviet Union. India, the U.S., and the U.K. were overjoyed, scrambling to drive a wedge between China and the Soviet Union. This was surely a pity.
- Following his return from the U.S., on 30 September 1959, Khrushchev ranted at the Chinese National Day banquet that “Don’t try to test the stability of the capitalist system with the use of military force.” During his meeting with Chairman Mao on 2 October, Khrushchev brazenly accused China of making a mistake in Tibet and putting the blame on India. Chairman retorted that Nehru’s opposition to China was aimed at opposing communism and obtaining U.S. aid. On 20 October, Indian troops provoked another armed clash at Kongka Pass. At a session of the Supreme Soviet on 31 October, Khrushchev expressed “deep regret” over the clash. On 11 November, in his speech to a group of journalists from the New Century magazine of the Communist Party of India, Khrushchev claimed that the Sino-Indian border incident was “extremely stupid.”
- From 10 December 1959 to 30 January 1960, Comrade Zhou Enlai and Comrade Chen Yi separately met with the Soviet Ambassador to China on several occasions, explaining to him in detail why Nehru was reluctant to resolve the Sino-Indian boundary question, and pointing out that we would not make a compromise in principle to Nehru win them over. Comrades Zhou and Chen also asked the Soviet Ambassador to tell the CPSU Central Committee that CPC and CPSU had fundamentally different views on the issue, and that the TASS statement and Khrushchev’s speech on 31 October had demonstrated to the whole world that the two countries had different attitudes. Comrade Zhou also specifically reminded CPSU that Khrushchev should not inquire about the Sino-Indian border issue during his visit to India. On 19 January, the Soviet Ambassador relayed CPSU’s opinion to Comrade Chen Yi, saying that CPSU would observe strict neutrality, whether in newspapers or in speeches, when it came to the Sino-Indian boundary question. On 20 January, Comrade Zhou Enlai and Comrade Chen Yi pointed out to the Soviet Ambassador that it was inconceivable, and unprecedented, for CPSU to observe strict neutrality on such a question of principles between socialist China and capitalist India. On 27 January, the Soviet Ambassador had his verbal notification to us retranslated and demanded to retract the words “neutral stance,” denying that the CPSU Central Committee had used the words in its reply.
- From February to September 1960, representatives from CPC and CPSU held talks in Moscow and Bucharest. During this period of time, Khrushchev and CPSU’s attitude towards the Sino-Indian boundary question deteriorated. They brazenly pushed the whole responsibility for the outbreak of the Sino-Indian border incident onto us, slandered us as having attacked India, and vilified our Party as “having given up its policy of ‘unity and struggle’ towards neutral Asian and African countries, claiming that we believed that the national bourgeoisies in these countries “were turning into imperialists.” They also accused us of being “nationalistic” and of “giving off no air of communism,” and claimed that the border conflict had exacerbated tensions in Southeast Asia, aided the Right, caused severe difficulties to the Communist Party of India, made it harder for the Soviet Union to carry out its peace operations, etc. When our Party Central Committee was replying to the CPSU Central Committee on September 10, Comrade Peng Zhen and Comrade Deng Xiaoping, in their speeches, both cited facts and criticized Khrushchev and CPSU for ignoring the truth, losing their stand, and siding with capitalist India while blaming socialist China in a brazen attempt to please the class enemy, which actually encouraged India to oppose China and communism. They also pointed out that CPSU’s slander of us as “proposing to revise” the policy towards neutral Asian and African countries was an utter fabrication.
- From November 1960, when the Moscow conference was held, to October 1962, when India launched a large-scale attack, there was a considerable lull in the contention between China and the Soviet Union on the Sino-Indian boundary question.
- On 8 October 1962, Comrade Zhou Enlai notified the Soviet Ambassador to China that India might attack us on the eastern front and that we would act in self-defense. Indian troops were engaged in provocative behaviors using Soviet-made aircraft, which affected our soldiers on the frontline. We informed the Soviet side of this issue, but did not make any demand. On 13 and 14 October, Khrushchev stated twice to Comrade Liu Xiao, who was returning to China, that the Soviet Union sided with China on the Sino-Indian boundary question, and that if the Soviet Union were in China’s shoes, it would take the same measures (referring to counterattacks in self-defense). He also said that he would consider suspending the sale of MiG aircraft to India. On the other hand, however, he also remarked that China and the Soviet Union should not jointly oppose India, as this would push India into the arms of the U.S., and that the MiG aircraft that the Soviet Union had sold to India and the license issued to the factories for producing such aircraft was of no military significance and would not tip the balance of power between China and India. On 20 October 1962, India launched a large-scale offensive along the border, forcing us into a counteroffensive in self-defense. At the same time, the Cuban situation worsened as the U.S. imposed strong pressure on the Soviet Union. As such, Khrushchev resorted to double-dealing on the Sino-Indian boundary question. On 25 October, Pravda issued an editorial, pointing out that British colonialists had tried to impose the “infamous” McMahon Line on the Chinese people, and that the Chinese Government’s 24 October statement was “a substantial manifestation of goodwill.” On 30 October, while speaking at the United Nations, Zorin expressed his support for the above statement made by the Chinese government, saying that it could be used as the basis for Sino-Indian negotiations on a peaceful resolution to the dispute.
However, as we adhered to our principles on the Cuban issue and opposed surrender, the Khrushchev clique was ashamed into anger. In its 5 November editorial, Pravda changed its tone, claiming that “what is increasingly in play is the prestige issue rather than the territorial dispute issue.” Khrushchev’s remarks on 12 December were even worse. He slandered us as opposing India’s “nonalignment” policy and accused us of “creating a hotbed for the bacillus of nationalism and war mania,” pushing India to the West, and causing the Communist Party of India to be persecuted. He also said that China had no intension to invade India and that India did not want to go to war with China. He was, in fact, trying to impose the responsibility ofthe conflict upon us.
II. The Soviet Union’s Encouragement and Support for India’s Opposition to China
(For details, see Appendix II)
- On the political front: (1) the Soviet Union openly expressed its stance, favoring India and inhibiting us; (2) whenever India stirred up an anti-China tide, the Soviet Union would fan the flame through visits or editorials and speeches; (3) the Soviet Union lavished praise on Nehru, singing a tune opposite to ours; (4) they didn’t refute open slanderous remarks about us; instead, they acquiesced and even gave praise.
- On the economic front: (1) After India stepped up its opposition to China, the Soviet Union greatly increased its economic assistance and trade with India; (2) most of the projects that the Soviet Union helped India to build were heavy industries closely linked to defense, and Soviet extended long-interest loans to India for long periods and on favorable terms; (3) following India’s large-scale offensive last year, the Soviet Union accelerated assistance for Indian projects and promised new aids.
- On the military front: (1) the Soviet Union began military aid to India in 1960 in the wake of the incident at Kongka Pass on the Sino-Indian border; (2) the more anti-China India is, the more military aids the Soviet Union offers to India; (3) India has directly used the Soviet Union’s military aids, ranging from road building machinery to military aircraft, in its military operations against our nation; (4) the Soviet Union has refused to give us complete equipment for making MiG-21 aircraft, but has sold it to India.
III. Soviet Union’s Viewpoints on the Nehru Regime and Its Main Arguments Concerning the Sino-Indian Border Issue
(For details, see Appendices III and IV)
- Viewpoints on India’s Current Regime and Nehru
- Nehru stands for national interests and is a representative of the national bourgeoisie and a “rather honest man” in the capitalist class.
- Despite the mounting class struggle in India, the ruling Congress Party has adopted a policy of peace and neutrality internationally and introduced “progressive” measures domestically.
- Nehru is different from India’s reactive forces and the Right, and is under pressure from them.
- India’s policy would become worse if Nehru stepped down.
- Viewpoints on India’s Foreign Policy
- India has adhered to its policy of peace, nonalignment and opposition to colonialism.
- The Soviet Union and India see eye to eye on the matters of peace and peaceful coexistence, and have never had divergent opinions when discussing international issues at the United Nations. The two countries have been “fighting side by side” and “standing in the same line.”
- China has changed its policy of “unity and struggle” towards India, pushing India into the arms of the West, and India may change its nonalignment policy.
- The Soviet Union’s India policy is aimed at sustaining India’s neutrality. It is the influence of the Soviet Union that has prevented Nehru from associating with America and Britain, which have had to “adopt a comparatively restraining attitude towards the Sino-Indian dispute.”
- Main Arguments Concerning the Sino-Indian Border Issue
- China has attacked India.
- The conflict stems from China’s nationalism.
- The conflict is not conducive to the neutrality of India and Asian and African countries, the Communist Party of India, the socialist cause, or peace. It “just helps the imperialists and India’s reactionary clique.”
- The Soviet Union’s stance is “strictly neutral,” but it has accused China of being “foolish” and “unforgivable.”
- The only way to resolve the border dispute is to hand over territory to India.
- Sellingaircraft to India is conducive to India’s policy of nonalignment and neutrality, and will not tip the balance of power between China and India.
- How to Perceive India’s Ruling Clique Headed by Nehru
Regarding how to perceive India’s ruling clique headed by Nehru, Soviet comrades insist that Nehru stands for national interests, is a representative of India’s national interests, the national bourgeoisie, a rather honest member of the capitalist class, and so on. This concerns a fundamental issue in the debate between CPC and CPSU, and we believe that it is necessary to further expound our viewpoints and opinions.
Marxist-Leninists are historical materialists. According to historical materialism, the development of society is not determined by people’s subjective wishes; instead, it depends on the objective rules of the development of class struggle. We have never denied that in India’s post-independence period, Nehru represented, to a certain degree, the interests of India’s national bourgeoisie. China has also done a great deal of work to unite with and win over Nehru. However, it should be emphatically pointed out that with the development of India’s domestic and international class struggles, especially in recent years, Nehru has steadily become a representative of India’s big bourgeoisie and big landlords. This evolution of India’s ruling clique headed by Nehru is an objective reflection of India’s class contradictions and struggle development.
There were a few noteworthy trends in the development of India’s class contradictions in the ten years before India’s independence: First, the strength of monopoly capital increased. From 1951 to 1955, there was a 50% increase in the assets of the 750 Indian business conglomerates which had paid-up capital of 500,000 rupees (according to statistics released by the Reserve Bank of India in September 1957). Second, foreign capital forces strengthened. Foreign capital amounted to 2.56 billion rupees in June 1948 and surged by more than 100 percent to 5.42 billion rupees in 1957 (according to the Pocketbook of India’s Economic Intelligence prepared by India’s Ministry of Finance). Third, land became more concentrated. In 1951, farm labor accounted for 30% of agricultural households (according to a survey by India’s Ministry of Labor), and the percentage rose to 40% in 1955 (according to a sample survey by India’s Ministry of Finance). Fourth, the gap between the highest and lowest incomes widened, jumping from 110-fold in 1948-9 to 356-fold in 1956-7 (according to a survey by India’s Central Employee Remuneration and Service Survey Committee). By and large, over the ten years, India became a polarized society and its economic dependence on the imperialists increased.
In such an economic situation, Indian people, who originally had considerable hopes forNehru, felt disillusioned, and their resentment and resistance steadily mounted. Since 1957, India’s mass movement has surged at a rate not seen since independence. In 1955, during the struggle for grains, Calcutta alone saw about 300,000 people taking to the streets. The National Herald, founded by Nehru, exclaimed in an editorial (the 8 January 1961 issue) that “Now, everyone wants revolution; socio-economic revolution is the most important thing today.”
In 1958, India was hit by a foreign exchange crisis, as the country depleted its British pound reserves that it had relied on for offsetting its trade deficits over the previous ten-plus years. This posed a question to the Indian capitalist class: From then on, where could they find a source of foreign exchanges?
Faced with massive popular uprising, Nehru didn’t adopt the policy of uniting the people; instead, he introduced the policy of large-scale suppression. For the shortages of funding for development, Nehru didn’t adopt the policy of self-reliance; instead, he introduced the policy of replacing dependence on the British imperialists with dependence on the American imperialists.
In linewith the above policies, long before the occurrence of the Sino-Indian boundary question, the Nehru administration introduced a series of reactionary measures. Domestically, in 1958, the Minister of Finance sought various investment assurances from American capitalists during a visit to America. On 31 July 1959, the Indian President dissolved the Karala government set up by the Communist Party of India. In September 1959, the grains movement in West Bengal was violently quelled. Internationally, India steadily retreated from its stance of opposing imperialism and supporting national liberation in Asia and Africa.
Nehru’s such policies have only served India’s big bourgeoisie, landlords and imperialists, but are harmful to Indian people and are even detrimental to India’s national capitalist class.
Since gaining power, some of the capitalist classes in Asia, Africa and Latin America have turned into reactionary nationalists, suppressing people and progressive forces domestically while rallying to the imperialists internationally. Some are progressive nationalists who continue opposing imperialism and colonialism and fighting for national liberation, and some have even taken part in people’s revolutionary struggles and embarked on the path of socialism. Where the capitalist class will go largely depends on whether they are truly anti-imperialism and whether they dare to side with the people at the time of massive popular uprising.
As such, Nehru’s opposition to China can only be the result of the escalating class struggle in India and Nehru’s implementation of reactionary nationalist policy, rather than the other way around.
In 1958, at the request of Comrade Suslov, Comrade Eugene wrote an article entitled “Can We Agree to Jawaharlal Nehru’s Measures?” (appearing in the April 1958 issue of Peace and Socialism Issues). The article correctly pointed out that the most important task that India must fulfill on the economic front is to thoroughly free itself of the shackles of colonialism. In recent years, Nehru’s domestic and foreign policy has not improved, but became increasingly reactionary. It’s puzzling, however, that in its 1960 notification to the CPC Central Committee, the CPSU Central Committee even attempted to deny inevitable influence of India’s class struggle on Nehru’s domestic and foreign policy, marking a U-turn on its previous stance.
Soviet comrades have also exaggerated the differences between Nehru and India’s Far Right. In fact, Nehru is a rightist and reactionary as well, and is as anti-communist, anti-people, anti-socialist, and anti-China as the Far Right. Nehru and the Far Right are making use and relying on each other. Nehru has deliberately allowed the Far Right to rant and rave, faking a pitiful image of being subject to pressure from the Far Right, all for the purpose of deceiving Indian people and winning foreign sympathy. And the Far Right in fact can’t live without him either. Admittedly, there is a difference between them, but it is diminishing rapidly and is of little practical significance. At the recent congress session, India’s Far Right demanded an end to the state of emergency, only to be rejected by Nehru; thus, the claim that Nehru’s opposition to China has been the result of pressure from the Far Right does not hold water at all.
V. On the Issue of India’s Nonalignment Policy
I. India’s nonalignment policy has long been nonexistent.
Soviet comrades lauded India’s much-touted nonalignment policy to the skies, claiming that “the steadfast and vigorous nonalignment policy has secured tremendous moral weight and political power around the world.” But on what facts is the claim based?
Facts have proven that the nonalignment and neutrality policy of Asian and African countries are true in some cases and false in others, and no generalization can be made. As far as India is concerned, nonalignment is merely a disguise for concealing its true nature of alignment.
Although India has not formally joined the imperialist military bloc, it has undertaken many military obligations for the military allies of imperialist countries. India has not only requested and received military aid from American and British imperialists, but also agreed to America’s dispatch of a military delegation to India and accepted America’s control of Indian troops, pursuant to a military agreement signed in November 1962 as a supplement to the treaties signed between India and America in 1951 and 1958. Recently, the Indian government even discussed its China situation with American and British military representatives.
Politically, Nehru has brazenly sided with the imperialists and colonialists, acting as the world’s policeman in national liberation movements suppressed by the American imperialists (for example, in Congo). This is a fact known all over the world, but Soviet comrades have heaped praise on Nehru for “his hard work towards eradicating the shameful colonial system.” This is indeed incomprehensible. Recently, the Indian representative voted in favor of the motions of the U.N. Political Committee on the so-called Hungary issue and Korea issue. Isn’t this a satire of the claim that India implements friendly policy towards socialist countries?
II. India is not going to give up its facade of nonalignment, which is much appreciated by the American imperialists.
Although in reality India has drifted far away from nonalignment, it is not going to formally give up its “nonalignment” disguise. This is true while Nehru is power and will still be so after Nehru dies or steps down and is replaced by someone more reactionary. Why so? This is because under the disguise of nonalignment, India can not only continue opposing China, but also maintain its balance between America and the Soviet Union and obtain economic and military aid from America and the Soviet Union. This is something that India would be more than happy to do. More importantly, the American imperialists now badly needs India to stir up trouble in Asian and African countries under the disguise of nonalignment (for example, India’s behaviors at the Conference of Nonaligned Countries in 1961 and the fourth Asian Games in 1962, and Nehru’s attempts to foil the second Bandung Conference) and to undermine China’s relations with Asian and African countries. Just as Yugoslavia is under the pretense of being a socialist country, playing the role that the Social Democratic Party cannot play, India, with its disguise of nonalignment and being a large country, is playing a role that cannot be played by smaller countries which have joined the military bloc or are nonaligned. In this regard, Kennedy is craftier than Dulles. He appreciates India’s nonalignment in this way and would even allow Nehru to fawn upon the Soviet Union as long as he opposes China.
III. Nehru’s practice of “nonaligned alignment” has been predestined by his class interests and is not the result of anyone trying to push him away from his nonalignment policy.
Soviet comrades argue that the deterioration of Sino-Indian relations and the Sino-Indian border conflict may cause India to change its current foreign policy to a certain extent and increase India’s inclination towards the West. In fact, Soviet comrades accuse China of pushing India into the arms of the West.
Soviet comrades’ accusation is totally unfounded. India became a not entirely nonaligned country long before the Sino-Indian boundary question occurred. During his visit to America, on 19 October 1949, Nehru claimed that “we can’t and won’t remain neutral where freedom is under attack or justice is under threat or aggression is underway.” Back then, international opinion was that Nehru stood on the side of the West. On 19 September 1951, Madam [Vijayalakshmi] Pandit resolutely proclaimed in New York that India’s foreign policy was inclined towards the U.N. and free countries. In 1951, India secretly signed a military treaty with America, which was renewed in 1958. Admittedly, for a considerable period following the 1953 Korean War armistice, Nehru exhibited a certain degree of nonalignment, due to the expansion and solidarity of the socialist camp and increased contradiction between America and India. Nevertheless, even during this period of time, Nehru often sided with the imperialists and largely followed the policy of “small criticism and big favors” towards the imperialists.
From the Marxist-Leninist point of view, the evolution of Nehru’s foreign policy, whether it has abandoned nonalignment altogether or has maintained a semblance of nonalignment, has been predestined by his class interests and determined by the needs of his domestic and foreign policy. Nobody has pushed him away from the nonalignment policy at all.
IV. Our policy of “unity and struggle” towards India has never changed.
Soviet comrades accuse us of changing our policy of “unity and struggle” towards India’s bourgeois. This accusation is utterly unfounded.
Towards Asian and African nationalist countries, our nation has always followed the policy of “unity and struggle.” Our nation adhered to this policy even when India’s reactionaries took advantage of the border issue to stir up an anti-China movement. Our nation has never treated India as our arch-enemy in our entire outward struggle. Our struggle with India is not aimed at toppling Nehru; otherwise, we would have not affected a ceasefire and pulled back on our own initiative. What we want to do is to expose his anti-China policy. If Nehru draws the lesson, we will still seek unity in the struggle. If we kept appeasing him and made unprincipled concessions, we would just be stoking his arrogance, and this would not be helpful in compelling him to consider taking a friendlier attitude towards socialist countries; instead, it might push him closer to the imperialists.
Soviet comrades should remember how CPC and the Chinese government resisted Nehru’s repeated anti-Soviet tide. In 1956, when Nehru framed Soviet troops for going against Hungarian people’s wishes, China resolutely supported the Soviet Union and even engaged in a rigorous debate with Nehru, thinking that it was our internationalist obligation and that we shouldn’t curry favor with Nehru.
Now, the Soviet Union not only fails to resist Nehru’s anti-China tide; instead, it provides military supplies to support India, facilitating Nehru’s anti-China campaign. How can this be explained except that it shows that the Soviet Union has put itself the position of opposing China in collaboration with Nehru?
VI. Differences between the Soviet Union and China on the Sin0-Indian Border Issue
The Sino-Indian boundary question is not “something about nationalism,” but a class struggle between capitalism and socialism in the international arena.
From the above analysis of the Nehru regime and India’s foreign policy, we can only come to the conclusion that Nehru’s use of the Sino-Indian boundary question to oppose China is the result of the development of class struggle in India and the outcome of increasingly reactionary domestic and foreign policy of Nehru. Nehru provoked the dispute and then refused to reconcile or negotiate with China. This can only be comprehended in terms of the true class nature of Nehru as a representative of India’s big bourgeois and landlords, as well as the needs of his domestic and foreign policy, and in a broader international context.
1958 marked a vital year in India’s modern history. In this particular year, Nehru was sitting on the crater of mounting mass movements across India, and a foreign exchange crisis loomed large. In the same year, China embarked upon the Great Leap Forward and was about to introduce democratic reform in Tibet, and its political influence was extending beyond the Himalayas. At this point, Nehru’s anti-Chinese campaign was gathering momentum, and the only question was which topic he was to pick. Initially, Nehru opted for the Tibet issue, instigating Tibetan serf owners to rebellion and giving support to them. The rebellion broke out in March 1959, and was quickly quelled. It laid bare Nehru’s true intention of interfering in China’s internal affairs. Shortly afterwards, Nehru kicked up a rumpus about the Sino-Indian boundary question and created the Longju and Kongka Pass incidents. The Sino-Indian boundary question involves territory and sovereignty and can easily stir up strong nationalistic and chauvinistic feelings. After provoking the Sino-Indian border dispute, Nehru used the tactic of allowing the Far Right to rant and rave while attacking the Left, thereby diverting public attention, suppressing progressive forces, and consolidating his rule. He also obtained increased American aid. He reckons that he has successfully guarded against China’s socialist development, especially the “plague” of the democratic reform in Tibet. Thus, using and provoking the border dispute to oppose China has become Nehru’s established policy.
As such, the Sino-Indian border dispute does not stem from “misunderstanding,” nor is it a struggle for the so-called barren land. In essence, the dispute is not even about the border. The Sino-Indian boundary question is a serious international class struggle.
We are aware of the true nature of the Sino-Indian boundary question; we are also conscious of the complexity and acuteness of this international class struggle. In order to preserve the fundamental interests of the peoples of China and India, strengthen the solidarity of Asia and Africa, and ensure world peace, we have always insisted on working out a peaceful solution to the Sino-Indian border issue through negotiations; we respect the extent of land actually controlled by both sides before a peaceful solution is reached; and neither side should take any unilateral action to change the status quo of the border. Our stance and guideline have earned us the sympathy and support of many socialist nations, Asian and African countries. We are convinced that as long as our socialist nations stay united and give no loophole to Nehru and the imperialists, and as long as we apply our policy of unity and struggle towards India, it is very likely that Nehru will shrink back and return to the negotiation table.
It is extremely distressing to see that Soviet comrades believe in capitalist India rather than socialist China and ignore the fact that Indian troops engaged in aggression and launched armed attacks. Transcending classes, Soviet comrades also use the difference between the strengths of China and India as the criterion for judging between truth and falsehood, and allege that China has attacked India and that India can’t have threatened China. They even go so far as to make the slanderous claim that the conflict stems from Chinese “nationalism.” By doing so, they are actually siding with Nehru and trying to obliterate the nature of the People’s Republic of China as a socialist state, and are turning the facts upside down and attempting to foist the responsibility for aggression onto China. May we ask this: if China has indeed adopted a nationalistic stance as alleged, how can we have resolved border issues with Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, and the People’s Republic of Mongolia through negotiations in the spirit of mutual understanding and concessions? Why have the attempts of the imperialists and Nehru to slander and isolate China failed? In its 25 October 1962 editorial, Pravda acknowledged that the infamous McMahon Line had been foisted on the Chinese people. This indicates that Soviet Comrades also believe that the vast stretches of land south of the McMahon Line belong to China. We appreciate for this fair remark of the Soviet Comrades. We have never crossed the customary line between China and India, nor have we taken an inch of Indian territory. Rather, vast stretches of our territory have been illegally occupied by India. Although we don’t recognize the illegal McMahon Line, we had never crossed the line until the outbreak of the armed conflict in October last year. In our counterattack in self-defense, we had no choice but to cross the line, but we made a point of never going more than 20 kilometers from the line. Thus, where did Soviet comrades sniff out the nationalism of China?
The Soviet Union’s stance was not neutral at all; rather, it was engaged in intervention, supporting and encouraging India’s opposition to China, in a serious breach of the provisions of Article III of The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance.
The CPSU Central Committee stated to us that the Soviet Union would be strictly neutral on the Sino-Indian boundary question and oppose intervention by any third country. However, facts have proven the contrary: (I) When socialist China had a conflict with bourgeois-ruled India and was on the side of justice, the CPSU and the Soviet government were supposed to support China. Anyway, even if the Soviet Union wanted to be neutral, it should not have intervened or spoken out. Regrettably, the Soviet Union merely paid lip service to neutrality but was favoring India and inhibiting China, and therefore was not neutral at all. This means that the Soviet Union has not only breached the principles of internationalism, but also contradicted the guideline of impartiality for international affairs. (II) Although the Soviet Union claimed that it would oppose intervention by any third country, it was actually engaged in intervention itself. The CPSU and the Soviet government supported and encouraged the Indian government’s opposition to China on all three fronts – political, military and economic, giving aircraft and money to India to beat its brother China. Soviet comrades argued that Soviet military aid to India did not have much military significance. This argument does not hold water. Moreover, the question is not about whether the military aid had significance, but it is about political influence and practical impact. Weren’t Indian reactionaries and America imperialists wild with joy to take advantage of the opportunity to drive a wedge between China and the Soviet Union?
Last, we must emphatically point out that Article III of The Sino-Soviet Treaty of Friendship, Alliance and Mutual Assistance contains the following provision: “Neither Contracting Party shall conclude any alliance directed against the other Contracting Party or take part in any bloc or in any action or measure directed against the other Contracting Party.” Regrettably, from the CPSU and Soviet government’s actions and measures described above, we can only conclude that the Soviet side has seriously breached the provisions of Article III of the treaty. This is not an issue about the divergence of opinion between our two Parties on the Sino-Indian boundary question, but a question about whether the solemn treaty signed by our two countries is honored.
An Account of the Contention between China and the Soviet Union on the Sino-Indian Boundary Question
Following is a chronological account of the contention between China and the Soviet Union on the Sino-Indian boundary question.
On 25 and 26 August 1959, Indian troops invaded Longju and Migyitun, sparking the first armed clash on the Sino-Indian border. To explain the truth of this border clash and expound China’s stance, Comrade Liu Shaoqi received Soviet chargé d'affaires ad interim Antonov on September 6. During the meeting, Antonov handed in a copy of a notification that the Indian government had given to the Soviet Ambassador to China. The notification claimed: “There is increasing evidence that China has adopted an unfriendly attitude towards India” and “the Chinese are actively implementing the policy of disrupting the international border and encroaching upon Indian territory.” Comrade Liu reminded Soviet Comrades that India’s notification was aimed at winning over the Soviet Union and exerting pressure on China. He also pointed out that the Tibetan rebellion was instigated by Nehru, that the border issue was not the real issue, and that Nehru was actually taking advantage of the opportunity to oppose China, as he feared that reforms in Tibet would affect India’s political development.
On 11 A.M. on 9 September 1959, Soviet chargé d'affaires ad interim Antonov handed to Vice Premier Chen Yi the CPSU Central Committee’s letter of 8 September for CPC Central Committee and a copy of a TASS statement. In the letter, the CPSU Central Committee said: “Frankly speaking, we are concerned about what has happened and feel confused. …… The debate over the border line has evolved into mutual shooting which is damaging to the Indian side.” After handing the letter, Antonov said: “Some political cliques in America are taking advantage of the border clash to poison the international atmosphere on the eve of Comrade Khrushchev’s visit to America,” “Soviet leaders are concerned about the current developments,” and “it would be unfavorable for us not to take a stand amidst various parties’ discussions of the Sino-India border incident; therefore, we plan to issue a statement under the name of TASS on the tenth.” Vice Premier Chen Yi pointed out that Nehru, Eisenhower and Indian reactionaries were exerting pressure on us, and that the tension between China and India would help, not hinder, Eisenhower’s visit to America, as it would demonstrate to Eisenhower that imperialists’ attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs and to undermine the socialist camp headed by the Soviet Union were doomed to fail.
On the afternoon of 9 September 1959, Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu handed to Soviet chargé d'affaires ad interim Antonov a copy of Comrade Zhou Enlai’s letter of 8 September to Nehru, asking him to pass it onto the CPSU Central Committee.
At 11:30 P.M. on 9 September 1959, Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu again received Antonov, conveying to him Minister Chen Yi’s request for the Soviet side to consider China’s stance, attitude and guidelines as expounded in Premier Zhou’s published letter for Nehru, and for the Soviet side to reconsider its plan to issue a statement via TASS. Vice Premier Zhang also told Antonov that our Party Central Committee had yet to discuss the letter from the CPSU Central Committee.
On 9 September 1959, disregarding our opposition and not waiting for a reply letter from our Party, the Soviet Union issued a statement on the Sino-India border incident under the name of TASS on 7 P.M., a day ahead of time. Failing to distinguish right from wrong, the Soviet Union generically expressed regret, exposing the differences between China and the Soviet Union to the whole world for the first time. During the talks between the CPC and CPSU in September 1960, the CPC delegation took note of Suslov’s remarks suggesting that the TASS statement had something to do with Khrushchev’s visit to America.
On 13 September 1959, our Party Central Committee sent a reply letter to the CPSU Central Committee, pointing out that before TASS issued the statement, Comrade Liu Shaoqi had pointed out to the Soviet chargé d'affaires ad interim that India was attempting to exert pressure on China through the Soviet Union. We had also reiterated our Party’s stance on the Sino-India border issue, the Tibet question on several occasions, and requested the Soviet Union to reconsider its intended statement. The India government provoked the Sino-Indian border incident with a plan in advance, and justice and truth are on the Chinese side. Yielding to Nehru would do no good to the friendship between China and India. The TASS statement revealed to the whole world the different attitudes of China and the Soviet Union towards the Sino-Indian border incident, much to the delight of the Indian bourgeois and American and British imperialists, who scrambled to seize the opportunity to drive a wedge between China and the Soviet Union. This was indeed something regrettable.
On 30 September 1959, during his speech at the banquet celebrating our National Day, Khrushchev stated that it was not advisable to test the stability of the capitalist system with the use of military force. International opinion held that Khrushchev was criticizing China for attacking India and bombarding Jinmen [Quemoy].
On 2 October 1959, Chairman Mao met with Khrushchev in Beijing. During the meeting, Khrushchev brought up the Sino-Indian boundary question. He brazenly said: Nehru shouldn’t be blamed for the Dalai Lama’s escape to India, the Tibet incident was a miscalculation on the part of the CPC, the CPC attempted to push the responsibility for the incident onto India, our Party had made a mistake, “we are not interested in the line (the McMahon Line) at all…,” those who had been shot dead were Indians or Chinese, “I don’t know who opened fire first,” and “if we hadn’t issued a statement, they would have thought that the entire socialist camp had untied to oppose Nehru.” Chairman Mao retorted: “Nehru’s opposition to China is aimed at opposing communism and securing American aid,” “the imperialists are pleased by your statement,” and “we have taken steps, but you would issue more statements; the imperialists would say that we are at odds with each other.” Premier Zhou and Vice Premier Chen both pointed out that Khrushchev’s claims were inconsistent with the truth, and that to win over Nehru, appeasing would not work. Seizing upon this point, Khrushchev said: “Comrade Chen Yi is even claiming that we’re following the line of appeasing.”
On 31 October 1959, 11 days after the Kongka Pass incident, while delivering a report at the third session of the Supreme Soviet, Khrushchev said: “We keenly regret the incidents which have lately taken place on the borders of two countries with which we are friends … We are particularly distressed by the fact that as a result of these incidents, both sides have suffered human losses. We shall be glad if the incidents on the Sino-Indian border were not to be repeated and if the existing dispute border questions were to be settled by friendly negotiations to the mutual satisfaction of both sides.” (People’s Daily, 3 November 1959)
On 10 November 1959, during an interview with Indian’s New Century weekly reporters, Khrushchev went further to claim that the Sino-Indian border incident was a sad and extremely stupid story, and stated that “we, on our part, will do all we can to help.” He even cited the example of the Soviet Union’s settlement with Iran on a border issue, declaring: “We gave up more than we gained,” and asked: “What were a few kilometers for a country like the Soviet Union?” (These remarks did not appear in New Century or Soviet newspapers on 15 November 1959.)
On 11 November 1959, at the instruction of the CPSU Central Committee, the Soviet Ambassador informed us that the presidium of the CPSU Central Committee had decided to destroy the transcript of the 2 October conversation (between Khrushchev and eight CPC leaders in Beijing).
On the evening of 10 December 1959, Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi received Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko. Premier Zhou pointed out that: (1) Nehru had no desire to resolve the Sino-Indian boundary question, but wanted to drag it on. He was taking advantage of the border issue to tighten his control of India’s domestic situation and to ease domestic woes. (2) Nehru wouldn’t join in a military bloc; otherwise, it wouldn’t be working as it was now. Nehru faked a pitiful image of being subject to pressure from the Right so that we revolutionaries and communists would make concessions. (3) Unprincipled concessions to Nehru would not prompt him to adopt a friendlier attitude towards socialist countries, but push him closer to the imperialists. As such, we believe that we must stick to our position, as this may compel Nehru to reconsider his stance.
Premier Zhou asked Chervonenko to convey his viewpoints to Khrushchev and the CPSU Central Committee that our two Parties had differences of principle on the Sino-Indian boundary question, and that China and the Soviet Union had publicly expressed different attitudes on the issue. Premier Zhou cited the examples of the TASS statement and Khrushchev’s 31 October remarks, and pointed out that departing from its normal practices, the Soviet Union on 22 November published in Izvestia the main viewpoints that Nehru expressed in his 16 November reply letter for Premier Zhou, before we could respond to Nehru’s letter. Objectively, this was interpreted by India as a sign of the Soviet Union’s support of the proposals put forward by India in the letter.
In response, Chervonenko claimed that the Khrushchev’s 31 October remarks reaffirmed that the Soviet Union’s support for China was absolute and beyond doubt, that Khrushchev had expressed regret on the Sino-India border incidents in the hope that these incidents would be resolved by peaceful means, that this shouldn’t be seen as one-sided support for India over China, and that Premier Zhou’s remarks demonstrated that there wasn’t any divergence of opinion between us.
On 19 January 1960, Premier Zhou received Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko, informing him of India’s designs to drive a wedge between China and the Soviet Union on the eve of Khrushchev’s visit to America. Premier Zhou asked Chervonenko to pass the message to the CPSU Central Committee and Khrushchev that Nehru hadn’t responded to our note dated 26 December 1959, and that it seemed that Nehru was waiting for something. He might be waiting for the general election in Kerala; he might also be waiting for an opportunity during Voroshilov’s and Khrushchev’s visits to India to ask Soviet comrades to mediate. Premier Zhou reminded the Soviet side: “It wouldn’t be good if Soviet comrades express concern during their visits to India, as it would reveal our differences to the Indian bourgeois. Even an expression of neutrality on the surface would be no good.”
On 22 January 1960, Vice Premier Chen Yi received Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko. Chervonenko conveyed the CPSU Central Committee’s position on the Sino-Indian boundary question to the CPC Central Committee, saying: “After receiving a briefing on the earlier conversation (the one between Premier Zhou and Chervonenko on 19 January), the CPSU Central Committee is willing to announce that the Soviet Union would observe strict neutrality on the Sino-Indian boundary question, whether in newspapers or in speeches, and oppose intervention by any third country. …… So far, we’ve stuck to this position and will continue to do so in the future. …… Chinese comrades’ concern surprises us, as since the very beginning, there has been nothing in our words and deeds that should arouse the concern of Chinese comrades. And, if we have other ideas, we would exchange views with the CPC Central Committee as soon as possible.”
On 26 January 1960, Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi received Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko. Chervonenko confirmed that the transcript (in Russian) of his conversation with Vice Premier Chen Yi on 22 January were largely correct.
Premier Zhou first cited the five things that we were concerned about. He pointed out that the Soviet Union was neutral on the surface but arguing for India in actuality. He also remarked that he was “rather surprised” by the CPSU Central Committee’s intention to observe strict neutrality on the Sino-Indian boundary question, saying that it was a new phenomenon and a new proposition that when a fraternal country in the socialist camp was bullied and violated by a bourgeoisie-ruled country in border incidents, another fraternal country would declare strict neutrality, and that “there is no strict neutrality when it comes to the relations between the socialist camp and capitalist countries.” Premier Zhou cited the example of our support for the Soviet Union’s position during its suppression of the counterrevolutionary revolt in Hungary and during attacks against Soviet Union by bourgeoisie leaders. “The point is that in border incidents between socialist China and India of the nationalist bourgeoisie, justice is on the Chinese side. And it’s unbelievable that on the issue of principle, the Soviet Union observes strict neutrality between socialist China and bourgeoisie-ruled India. The Soviet Union is in actuality supporting the views of nationalist countries and the views of India while criticizing China.”
Vice Premier Chen Yi pointed out that when it came to the Sino-Indian border incidents, India was unreasonable and justice was on the Chinese side, that if the CPSU and Soviet government believed the truth, they should have supported China, and the second type of attitude was total indifference and silence, which would not show that the Soviet Union was kind to India and unkind to China, and that the Soviet Union opted for the third attitude instead, favoring India and inhibiting China.
On 27 January 1960, Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi obliged Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko’s request to receive him. Chervonenko said that when he was relating the CPSU Central Committee’s reply on 22 January, he used the words “neutral stance” in his speech, but there were actually no such words in the CPSU Central Committee’s reply. He then asked the translator to verbally translate the CPSU Central Committee’s reply into Chinese.
Comrade Zhou Enlai stated that the Soviet Ambassador’s remarks didn’t clarify the issue but instead made it more complicated, and that the CPSU Central Committee’s reply read out by the Soviet Ambassador that day was seriously inconsistent with the transcript of the 22 January conversation that Chervonenko had confirmed on 26 January. As such, Premier Zhou suggested that the Ambassador submit the transcript of the conversation to the CPSU Central Committee to clarify the issue.
Comrade Chen Yi pointed out that on 22 January Chervonenko was reading from a script, and that it was not a verbal message and he was reading it correctly.
On 30 January 1960, Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice Premier Chen Yi received Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko. Premier Zhou stated that, aside from the “stance of strict neutrality,” the content of the CPSU Central Committee’s reply verbally conveyed by the Soviet Ambassador on 27 January was more serious than the content of the CPSU Central Committee’s reply he verbally conveyed on 22 January. Premier Zhou said that his opinion was based on three facts: (1) In its reply, the CPSU Central Committee expressed surprise at Comrade Zhou’s 19 January statement to the Soviet Ambassador, arguing that the statement was groundless. In the statement, we cited facts with dates, places and people’s names; they had all been published in newspapers in black and white. How could the Soviets say that that they were groundless? (2) In its reply, the CPSU Central Committee said that our views and dissatisfaction were improper. (3) It was correct for the CPSU Central Committee to pledge non-intervention in its reply, but at the same time, it continued to accuse China of doing something wrong.
Vice Premier Chen Yi stated that on the Sino-Indian boundary question, we shouldn’t make any more concessions and must struggle with Nehru. He quoted Lenin as saying that “Revolutionaries should be adept at making revolutionary compromise, while unprincipled compromise is tantamount to revisionism.”
In January 1960, during an interview with Indian journalist Abbas, Khrushchev again expressed regret over the Sino-Indian border incidents, claiming that all “had been the result of some misunderstanding as I don’t think neither side is intent on any aggression or seeking to grab some territory.” (Lightning Weekly, 30 January 1960, and New Century, 31 January 1960)
On 4 February 1960, Comrade Kang Sheng spoke at the meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty member countries, stating that Chinese people always sympathize with and supported the nationalist and democratic movements of Asian, African and Latin American people, and work to maintain long-term friendly relations with nationalist countries in Asia and Africa on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence that China has put forward with India and Burma. The imperialists, with their ulterior motives, are sparing no efforts to undermine the solidarity between China and these countries. One of the main methods that the imperialists use for this purpose is to take advantage of historical issues relating to borders and overseas Chinese to ferment dissension and hatch plots to oppose China, in order to isolate China. Reactive forces in certain Asian countries also use these issues to damage the friendship between the people of their countries and Chinese people. They attempt to divert public attention to domestic issues through anti-China movements, and create excuses for suppressing democratic and progressive forces in their countries. Although a small cloud has appeared over China’s relations with certain nationalist countries in Asia, the sun can never be obscured, and the friendship between Chinese people and people of these countries will sustain and grow.
On 6 February 1960, the CPSU Central Committee instructed Pospelov, Gromyko and Andropov to read out a verbal communication for the CPC Central Committee to Comrades Kang Sheng, Liu Xiao and Wu Xiuquan, who were in Moscow for the meeting of the Political Consultative Committee of the Warsaw Treaty member countries as observer representatives. The verbal communication was an all-out attack on our position as expounded by Premier Zhou in his conversation with the Soviet Ambassador in January 1960. In the verbal communication, the CPSU Central Committee vilified our Party by claiming that it had made the mistake of adopting a stance of narrow nationalism on the Sino-Indian boundary question, and attributed the Indian government’s entire responsibility for provoking the Sino-Indian border incidents to China. It said: “China’s acts in this issue will be interpreted as an outgrowth of a narrow nationalist attitude,” “expanding the border dispute and conflict…is unforgivable in the struggle to win over people’s souls and in the large-scale economic competition between two systems …,” “we didn’t in the past and don’t at present believe that the conflict between China and India was triggered by aggression on the part of India,” “one cannot possibly think that India would really launch a military attack on China and commit aggression against it,” and “you think that the way to resolve the problem is to force Nehru into concessions, … if Nehru were overthrown, … it would just accelerate Indian revolution.” The verbal communication also distorted the consequences of the Sino-Indian border dispute, asserting: “It has exacerbated the tensions in Southeast Asia and made the Right Wing forces of the national bourgeoisie in the region more active,” “it has created enormous difficulties for Indian communists, … helped Indian reactionaries defeat communists in Karala,” China “has suffered a tremendous loss of its influence among other Asian countries,” “as a result, the entire socialist camp has suffered, and internationalism has lost some ground,” and “the gunshot on the Sino-Indian border” on the eve of Khrushchev’s visit to America “has made the Soviet Union’s peace-loving operations more difficult.” Moreover, the verbal communication argued for the CPSU’s erroneous stance, claiming: “You have attempted to criticize us for failing to distinguish right from wrong, which is not true. … we are unable and unwilling to find out the specifics about where the Sino-Indian border line runs across”; “if the Soviet Union publicly gave one-sided support to the People’s Republic of China, it would get America, Britain and other imperialist states involved in this dispute. … our stand has prevented imperialist forces fro meddling in the conflict,” “Comrades Zhou Enlai and Chen Yi still believe that since the Soviet Union has neither directly given one-sided support to China nor condemned India, it would better not speak out. However, … with this, the entire world may point out that in the complicated international situation, the Soviet Union has not supported fraternal China,” and “you have claimed that the Soviet statement has provided a basis for people to gossip about the differences between the CPSU and the CPC, but we believe that in actuality, it is your actions against India and your desire to exert pressure on it that has given rise to the gossips.”
On 24 February 1960, responding to a question about the Sino-Indian boundary question during an interview with Indian journalists, Khrushchev claimed: “I believe that the best stance for countries pursuing peace and international friendship should be the position that we have adopted in our statement.”
On 7 March 1960, Chairman Mao received Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko in Guangzhou. Chervonenko said he was instructed by Khrushchev to relate his conversation with Nehru to Chairman Mao.
On 17 June 1960, CPC and CPSU representatives held a talk in Moscow. Comrade Peng Zhen remarked that the Soviet side had sought our opinion on the TASS statement, and we did voice my opinion, but the statement was released before we could send a reply letter. On the surface, the statement was neutral, but in actuality, it was a slap in our face. The Soviet pronouncement of its stance did have an impact on the world. During its interview with Indian communist reporters, Khrushchev also accused our Party of being stupid and pitiful. While the Indian bourgeoisie was provoking us and justice was completely on our side, Soviet comrades were openly criticizing us on such a major issue of principle. Kozlov argued that the TASS statement was helpful to China and that Khrushchev hadn’t said so during his interview with the Indian communist reporters. (Comrade Peng Zhen retorted: “You’ve never openly denied it?” The Soviet side kept silent.)
On 21 June 1960, in its statement of opinion to the CPC Central Committee, the CPSU Central Committee slanderously accused our Party of having abandoned the policy of “unity and struggle” towards the national bourgeoisies of neutral Asian and African countries, vilified us of “proposing to revise this policy,” and claimed that our Party believed that the national bourgeoisies of these countries (including India) “are turning into imperialists.”
At 5 P.M. on 22 June 1960, CPC and CPSU delegations held a talk in Bucharest at the villa where the CPSU delegation was staying. Khrushchev said, “Even today, we still believe that our position is absolutely right. … As for the mutual shooting between you and India, I would say in a fraternal attitude that it is stupid. … We are all communists. Where the border line runs across is not our main concern. … As for the Sino-Indian border conflict, it is void of the flavor of communism but is something national or nationalist.” He added: “I know what war is. Since some Indians were killed, it shows that China has attacked India.” Comrade Peng Zhen explained: “The conflict was provoked by India. We have just acted in self-defense. The gist of the issue is not the border, but Nehru’s fear of the influence of the Tibet reform.” He also questioned Khrushchev: “You declared to the whole world that our Party is stupid. Does it help our Party’s prestige? You said that we are nationalists without a trace of the flavor of communism. This is a big problem.” Khrushchev averted the question by claiming that he wasn’t the person bringing up the topic on the Sino-Indian border conflict.
On 24 June 1960 in Bucharest, at the first meeting of representatives of the fraternal Parties of twelve countries, Comrade Peng Zhen refuted Zhivkov’s slanderous remarks about us, and pointed out that during his conversation with us in Beijing, Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko affirmed that the Soviet Union adopted a neutral stance on the Sino-Indian boundary question and later retracted his affirmation. However, during his walk in Beijing with Comrade Liu Ningyi, Grishin also stated that the Soviet Union could only adopt a neutral stand on the Sino-Indian boundary question. At a reception, Khrushchev asserted that the Sino-Indian border conflict was a stupid and sad story (according to Indian Communist Party publication New Century), which was a criticism of the CPC and the Chinese government before the whole world. Khrushchev argued: “Why do you think it is directed against China? I might be referring to the Indian government …… or to both sides.”
On 10 September 1960, in its reply to the CPSU Central Committee’s statement of opinion dated 21 June, our Party Central Committee countered that the accusations that our Party had “proposed revising” the policy of socialist nations uniting neutral Asian and African nations to fight imperialism and that our Party held that the national bourgeoisies of India, Indonesia and other nationalist countries were “turning into imperialists” were groundless. The CPSU’s arguments in the statement of opinion were fraught with contradictions. Inwardly, the Indian national bourgeois were becoming increasingly anti-democratic; outwardly, they were gradually retreating from their anti-imperialism position, and for domestic and international objectives, they had provoked the Sino-Indian border incident and quelled revolutions. However, the Soviet Union sided with the Indian bourgeoisie all the time while pointing an accusing finger at China.
From 19 to 22 September 1960, CPC and CPSU delegations held a talk in Moscow. Comrade Deng Xiaoping pointed out that the Soviet Union’s open accusations of the CPC and China had begun with the TASS statement, which encouraged Nehru to oppose not only China but also communism within India. It was unprecedented for Soviet comrades to adopt such an attitude towards a conflict between a socialist country and a capitalist country. In the Middle East Road incident, we stood up for the Soviet Union, and all our enemies accused us of being the lackey of the Soviet Union. Comrade Deng also mentioned Khrushchev’s open insinuations against us on different occasions on 30 September, 6 October, 31 October, and 7 November 1959. Suslov argued that the stance took by the Soviet Union was the only correct one and eased Sino-Indian relations and threw cold water on the reactionaries. Comrade Deng retorted, what good did this stance of the Soviet Union do? what attitude did Khrushchev have towards the U2 plane incident?, and how about the Congo issue?
On 5 May 1961, the Soviet Ambassador to China personally delivered to Vice Premier Chen Yi a verbal communication about Indian Vice President Radhakrishnan’s conversation with Suslov. According to the verbal communication, the Indian Vice President asserted that it was unlikely for the Sino-Indian boundary question to be resolved before India’s general election.
In July 1962, Mikoyan visited India. At a banquet in honor of Mikoyan on 24 July, Krishnamacharya said: “Regrettably, recently someone has increasingly accused us, saying we have no restraint, sometimes throwing a temper tantrum for no reason, and even acting a little bit aggressively towards some neighboring country. No matter how disturbing these accusations are, they have come from the mouths of someone who claim to be our friends. At the same time, however, our relations with another neighboring country have convincingly showed that things are not like this. Our amicable relationship with the Soviet Union is a good case in point.” Mikoyan replied, Krishnamacharya made “such a great speech” and “I completely agree with him. He has found very distinctive and correct words for his speech.”
Mikoyan didn’t refute Krishnamacharya’s slander of China; instead, the openly expressed sympathy and appreciation for the remarks of this famous anti-communist Indian politician.
On 8 October 1962, Premier Zhou informed Soviet Ambassador Chervonenko that India was prepared to launch a massive attack on the eastern section of the Sino-Indian border and that should India attack, we would resolutely defend ourselves. He also pointed out the fact that Soviet-made planes were being used by India for transporting military supplies and provocative acts in the Sino-Indian border areas was making a bad impression on our frontier guards and that we deemed it our internationalist duty to inform the Soviet side of the situation.
On 13 and 14 October 1962, during his meeting with outgoing ambassador Liu Xiao and at the farewell banquet hosted by the presidium of the CPSU Central Committee, Khrushchev twice talked about the Sino-Indian boundary question. Khrushchev engaged in double-dealing. On one hand, he said, on the Sino-Indian border dispute, the Soviet Union was standing on the side of China; if, unfortunately, a war against China broke out, the Soviet Union would side with China; if the Soviet Union were in China’s position, it would take the same measures (in reference to Ambassador Liu Xiao’s remarks that if India foisted a war on China, China would counterattack); and he would consider suspending sale of MiG-21 aircraft to India. On the other hand, he asserted that he didn’t think that China and the Soviet Union should form a battle line against India, as it would push India into the arms of the imperialists. He also claimed that “it does us good” for the Soviet Union to sell MiG aircraft to India and grant a license for the production of such aircraft. Ambassador Liu pointed out that the Chinese public was bewildered by the Soviet Union’s sale of MiG aircraft to India.
Following India’s large-scale attack on 20 October 1962, the Soviet Ambassador to China, Chervonenko, personally delivered a Soviet government memorandum to Vice Minister Zhang Hanfu on 22 October. On 3 November, he again delivered a copy of the transcript of a conversation between the Soviet Ambassador to India and Nehru, three copies of correspondence between Nehru and Khrushchev, and a copy of the transcript of the conversation between Khrushchev and the Indian minister of mines and fuel. According to these documents, the Soviet Union’s position and arguments were as follows: (I) The development of the situation on the Sino-Indian border would only do good to the imperialists and India’s reactionary clique. The Soviet Union was “concerned” and “distressed” and “again expressed deep regret.” (II) The boundary question was surely a question of principle; however, it might evolve into a question of prestige; it was not worthwhile to shed blood for a barren stretch of land without much value. (III) The McMahon Line was not an established national boundary line and had never been recognized by China. The Chinese side’s ceasefire, withdrawal and proposal for negotiations were wise. (V) It was acknowledged that Indian troops initiated military operations against China (according to the conversation between the Soviet Ambassador to India and Nehru). (VI) Sale of more aircraft to India had no military significance, but would “serve our mutual interests.”
On 20 October 1962, India launched a massive attack against China in the Sino-Indian border areas. On 25 October, Pravda carried an editorial acknowledging that the boundary question was a “lingering harm” of the British colonialists. It also pointed out that “the notorious McMahon Line was imposed on the Chinese and Indian people by the British colonialists and had never been recognized by China.” However, the editorial also said that “the Soviet people and all other peace-loving people” were concerned about the armed conflict between China and India” and that “the aggravation of the tensions between China and India” would only benefit “international imperialism.” Moreover, it claimed that “all peace-loving forces” were “pleased” by the Chinese government’s 24 October statement, that the Soviet people “believe that the Chinese government’s statement demonstrates its sincere anxiety about the Sino-Indian relations and its desire for an end to the conflict” and “believe that the Chinese government’s proposal is constructive.” On the same day, Izvestia also published an editorial, affirming that China “has never recognized the unilaterally designated ‘McMahon Line’” and that the Sino-Indian border incident aroused “deep concern of the Soviet people and the entire peace-loving opinion.” Regarding the Chinese government’s statement, the editorial said that “it is a substantial manifestation of goodwill” and “will create a positive atmosphere for peaceful settlement of the dispute.” (People’s Daily, 26 December 1962; Izvestia, 27 December 1962)
On 30 October 1962, during the vote at the UN on China’s seat, Zorin proclaimed that the Chinese government had put forward constructive proposals in its 24 October statement for resolving the conflict, and that “these proposals do not harm any side’s prestige and can serve as the basis of negotiations and peaceful settlement of the conflict with considerations for the interests of both China and India.” (People’s Daily, 2 November 1962)
On 5 November 1962, Pravda carried another editorial, which was a big step backward from the position the Soviet side announced in the 25 October editorial. The editorial did not touch up the so-called “McMahon Line” and made no mention of the three proposals that we had made on 24 October. It merely expressed “deep concern” about the armed clashes on the Sino-Indian border, and asserted that “if the war continues, what will be increasingly in play is more of considerations of prestige than territorial dispute,” and that it “will lead to a catastrophe for the peoples of the two countries and exert an adverse impact on the international situation.” (5 November 1962, Pravda)
On 5 November 1962, Comrade Zhao Yimin received the Soviet Ambassador to China, Chervonenko. Chervonenko delivered a copy of the transcript of the 30 October conversation between Kuznetsov, the Soviet Union’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs, and Ral, deputy head of India’s delegation to the UN General Assembly. Ral said, “As a stabilizing force, the Soviet Union’s role is crucial on this question (referring to the Sino-Indian boundary question) …… Today, Zorin expressed support for Zhou Enlai’s proposal. This proposal is hard to accept. If India leaves all socialist nations, it is something all people hate to see…… If the Soviet Union can do something for the mediation of the dispute, then it will be unnecessary to get weapons from America.” Kuznetsov only expressed regret onthe development of the situation.
On 6 November 1962, at a rally in Moscow marking the 45th anniversary of the October Revolution, Kosygin again asserted that “the Soviet people cannot help but feel deeply sorry for the incident on the Sino-Indian border.” “The conflict would only benefit the imperialists.” “Ceasefire and negotiations between India and China on a reasonable basis is the right solution.” “The sooner the negotiations are started, the more good they will do to the peoples of the two countries and to the cause of peace.” (published in the newspaper on 7 November 1962)
On 1 December 1962, following our announcement of ceasefire on 11 November, a TASS commentator produced a report that constituted a malicious attack on us: Gunshots on the Sino-Indian border have died down, and the meaningless bloodshed that would only benefit the world’s reactionary forces has stopped. (Published in the newspaper on 2 December 1962)
On 3 December 1962, at the tenth congress of the Communist Party of Italy, Kozlov again asserted that, the Sino-Indian border conflict “has aroused deep concern among peace-loving people all over the world,” and “the imperialists and India’s reactionary ruling clique are seeking to take advantage of the conflict; India’s reactionary ruling clique is dreaming of smashing the Communist Party and domestic progressive forces in the midst of chauvinist mania, pushing India off its path of neutrality and into the imperialist aggression group.” He also announced that the Soviet people and the entire progressive human race “welcomed” “the news of ceasefire,” and expressed the hope that the Sino-Indian border dispute “will be settled by peaceful means.” (Izvestia, 4 December 1962)
On 12 December 1962, Khrushchev spoke at a session of the Supreme Soviet. Speaking of the Sino-Indian boundary question, in an attempt to conceal their plot to support Nehru, Khrushchev slanderously accused us of opposing India’s “nonalignment policy.” His main fallacious arguments included:
- “India’s policies of nonalignment and neutrality have taken on tremendous moral and political weight in the world.”
- Khrushchev failed to distinguish right from wrong, asserting that the conflict was “a sad story.” “Has China wanted to invade India? No. We object to such an assertion. Admittedly, we don’t completely relinquish the thought that India might have wanted to fight with China.” (Izvestia, 4 December 1962)
- Khrushchev claimed that the conflict “created a hotbed for the bacillus of nationalism and war mania,” pushed India to the West, and benefited the imperialists and reactionary forces.
- He also suggested that China was to blame for the persecution suffered by the Communist Party of India.
On 25 December 1962, Pravda carried a commentary. Regarding the escalation of the Sino-Indian border conflict, the commentary said, “The world’s reactionaries have been looking for opportunities to attack young nationalist countries, and they have taken advantage of the armed conflict on the border between China and India.” “The conflict may escalate, creating favorable conditions for the plot to push India, and maybe not just India but also a host of other Asian nations, off the track of neutrality. As such, the ceasefire ordered by China has caused despair in the imperialist camp.” (Published in the newspaper on 26 December 1962)
On 6 December 1962, a Pravda editorial expressed “shock and distress” over the arrest of a number of Indian Communist Party members, saying that the arrests were made “in the pretext of the Sino-Indian armed conflict” and that “this would only benefit Indian’s enemies, who are seeking to compel the great nation to abandon its neutral stance.”
On 3 January and 23 February 1963, Ambassador Pan Zili had separate conversations with Khrushchev and Gromyko about the Sino-Indian boundary question. Khrushchev stressed that the Soviet Union had a different understanding on the question. And Gromyko continued to argue that the Soviet Union’s agreement to sell aircraft to India was signed before the breakout of clash on the Sino-Indian border on 20 October. Ambassador Pan pointed out that the border clashes had occurred in August and October of 1959.
On 5 February 1963, at the Afro-Asian People’s Solidarity Conference, the head of the Soviet delegation stated that “the Soviet Union welcomed the proposals and suggestions put forward by six nonaligned Asian and African nations at the Colombo Conference,” and that the governments of China and India “have accepted these proposals and suggestions as the basis for negotiations.” (These remarks did not appear in TASS’s 6 February report, but were carried in the 8 February report.)
Soviet Union’s Main Arguments Concerning the Nehru Regime and Its Foreign Policy
- Soviet Union’s Political Encouragement and Support for India’s Opposition to China
- Soviet Union’s Economic Aid to India
- Soviet Union’s Military Aid to India
I. Soviet Union’s Political Encouragement and Support for India’s Opposition to China
In addition to opening taking a stand which actually favored India for the Sino-Indian boundary question, the CPSU and the Soviet government also heaped praise on Nehru and trumpeted Soviet-Indian relations through mutual visits and other activities and sang in discord with us, whenever the Indian reactionaries instigated an anti-Chinese movement. What they were doing was in actuality supporting and encouraging India’s opposition to China.
The First Stage: From 1959 to February 1960, when the Indian reactionaries were stirring up an anti-Chinese tide using the two border incidents, two senior Soviet government delegations, headed by Voroshilov and Khrushchev, visited India, vigorously trumpeting Soviet-Indian friendship. During their visits, the Soviet leaders heaped praise on Nehru and his foreign policy and kept silent on India’s anti-Chinese rhetoric, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
From 20 January to 26 February 1960, Voroshilov, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet; Kozlov, first deputy chairman of the Council of Ministers; and Furtseva, Supreme Soviet representative, paid visits to India. The Soviet leaders asserted that India was a “nation that desires peace” (Voroshilov made this remark at the airport on 20 January, reported by Press Trust of India on the same day). At the civic reception given by the citizens of New Delhi residents, Khrushchev claimed that after Independence, India extended an olive branch to all nations, “but there are exceptions. Sometimes, some people would return evil for good” (AFP), attacking China by insinuation. On 5 February, at a press conference in Delhi, Kozlov failed to refute a reporter’s accusation that China had “committed aggression against” India and engaged in “expansionism” (reported by Xinhua News Agency, Press Trust of India, and Associated Press on 5 February).
From 11 to 16 February 1960, Khrushchev visited India. During his visit, the Soviet Union and India signed an economic agreement specifyingthe uses of a 1.5 billion-old-ruble aid in support of India’s third five-year plan, as well as the first Soviet-India cultural and scientific cooperation agreement. On 11 February, during his brief remarks before Khrushchev addressed the Indian Parliament, the speaker of the Lok Sabha, (He-yang-ge [sic]), accused China of “committing aggression” right in the presence of Khrushchev, asserted: “Our former friend has encroached upon our northern territory” (Indian Information Service script, reported by Xinhua News Agency on 21 February). Khrushchev did not say anythingabout the assertion, and his silence was headlined in Indian newspapers the following day (according to a report written by Yi Ya in June 1962). During his visit, Khrushchev lauded Nehru to the skies. “The Government of the Republic of India, headed by the esteemed Primer Minister Nehru, represents national interests” (Khrushchev’s remarks at Bhilai Steel Plant on 15 February, published in the newspaper on 17 February). “We highly appreciate the outstanding roles of the Indian government and Prime Minister Nehru who steadfastly and vigorously pursue peaceful means and negotiations to settle thorny international issues” (Khrushchev’s remarks at the civic reception given by the citizens of Calcutta on 1 March, published in Pravda the following day). “Prime Minister Mr. Nehru’s prestige is built on the Indian government’s policies of nonalignment and non-participation in military alliance. This is where wisdom and power lie.” “Panch Shila had emerged into history which was in no way due to the efforts of India” (published in the newspaper on 23 February). The Soviet-India joint communiqué also contained Khrushchev’s “highly positive comments” on India’s nonalignment policy, claiming that the policy was “greatly respected” in the Soviet Union and was making “a substantial contribution” to world peace (published in the newspaper on 18 February).
On 20 June 1960, Indian President Prasad visited the Soviet Union, receiving a lavish reception from the Soviet Side. In his welcome speech, Brezhnev used particularly flattering terms for India. Suo-fu-long-nuo-fu [sic], vice chairman of the Soviet Afro-Asian Solidarity Committee brazenly claimed that the great movement of the solidarity of African and Asian peoples had originated in India (speech at a public rally in Kremlin Palace on June 30, published in Pravda on 1 July). On 20 June, Izvestia carried an editorial entitled “India – Our Close Friend,” asserting that “India’s foreign policy has received and is receiving the understanding and support of the Soviet government” (reported by Xinhua News Agency on 21 June). As such, the India press commented that the visit at a time of tensions between China and India was not just a ceremonial reciprocal visit, and that India “sincerely appreciates” the Soviet Union’s “helpful attitude adopted towards the recent bickering between China and India” (a comment made by Times of India editor-in-chief Jadia).
The Second Stage: On 20 and 23 February 1961, Nehru released reports on Chinese and Indian officials’ communication about the boundary question to the Indian Parliament. He took advantage of the reports to stir up another anti-Chinese movement in India.
From 20 February to 4 March 1961, Kosygin, first deputy chairman of the Soviet Union’s Council of Ministers, visited India, signing an agreement that allowed India to use a long-term credit of 500 million old rubles (approximately 600 million rupees) pledged earlier by the Soviet Union. Kosygin asserted that Soviet-Indian relations were a good model of cooperation and that the Soviet Union was satisfied with the development of the relations (remarks at the Calcutta International Club on 25 February, published in the newspaper on the same day).
From 6 to 11 September 1961, Nehru visited the Soviet Union. Prior to his visit, at the Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries, Nehru expressed “regret” over the Soviet Union’s resumption of nuclear tests. Although we had exposed this, the Soviet Union still gave Nehru a warm welcome and heaped praise on India, asserting that it “highly appreciates” India’s “peace-loving policy” and “efforts to exterminate the shameful colonial system” (remarks at state banquet on 6 September, published in the newspapers the following day), and praising Nehru as “a statesman who has made substantial contribution to the enhancement of international friendship and the cause of cooperation” (Khrushchev’s remarks at a banquet in the Indian embassy on 7 September, published in the newspaper the following day).
The Third Stage: In the winter of 1961, on the eve of India’s third general election, and after his return from his visit to America, Nehru made a gratuitous accusation that China had “committed one aggression after another” against India, stirring up a new anti-Chinese tide. During this period, Soviet heads of state, Brezhnev and Gagarin, paid separate visits to India in an attempt to influence India’s general election and rally support for the Congress Party.
From 29 November to 8 December 1961, the Soviet Union’s first astronaut, Gagarin, visited the Indian cities of Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Lucknow and Hyderabad.
From 15 to 29 December 1961, Brezhnev, chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, visited India. During his visit, he ranted and raved about Soviet-Indian friendship and cooperation, lauded Nehru’s policy, and asserted that “Soviet-Indian friendship is first and foremost the friendship between two peace-loving nations” (remarks at the airport on 15 December, published in the newspaper the following day). He also said, Soviet-India relations were “a fraternal friendship and close relationship,” “Nonaligned nations, particularly India, have made substantial contribution to the cause of peace and international cooperation” (remarks at the reception hosted by Nehru), and Nehru was an outstanding politician and statesman (remarks at the An-ke-lei-si-wa-er [sic] oil industry center on 19 December, published in the newspaper on 21 December).
The Fourth Stage: On 24 July 1962, Mikoyan paid a visit to India following Indian troops’ armed provocations in the Galwan and Chip Chap Valleys. In October, after Indian troops launched a massive attack, the Soviet government said something fair as it needed China’s support on the Cuba issue. At the same time, however, the Soviet government continued to brazenly support India’s opposition to China and there were mutual visits between the Soviet Union and India.
On 24 July 1962, Mikoyan, the first deputy chairman of the Soviet Union’s Council of Ministers, had a one-day stopover in India on his way to Indonesia. On the evening of that day, Krishnamacharya, minister of oil of the India’s central government, hosted a reception in honor of Mikoyan. In his speech at the reception, Krishnamacharya said: “Regrettably, recently someone has increasingly accused us, saying we have no restraint, sometimes throwing a temper tantrum for no reason, and even acting a little aggressively towards some neighboring country. No matter how disturbing these accusations are, they have come from the mouths of someone who claim to be our friends. At the same time, however, our relations with another neighboring country have convincingly showed that things are not like this. Our amicable relationship with the Soviet Union is a good case in point.” Mikoyan spoke after Krishnamacharya. He didn’t refute Krishnamacharya’s remarks; instead, he echoed Krishnamacharya’s anti-China comments, claiming that “it is such a great speech” and that “I completely agree with him. He has found very distinctive and correct words for his speech.” The complete speeches of Krishnamacharya and Mikoyan were published in Pravda on 26 July under the title “A Great Model of Peaceful Coexistence” (published in the newspapers on 29 July).
In late October 1962, Maravia, minister of mines and fuel of India’s central government, visited the Soviet Union. He met with Khrushchev on 26 October. During their meeting, Maravia repeatedly accused China of “committing aggression” against India and launching attacks on India. Failing to distinguish right from wrong, Khrushchev asserted that “both sides’ arguments are opposite of each other and mutually exclusive” (see the transcript of the conversation between Khrushchev and Maravia delivered by the Soviet ambassador to vice minister of foreign affairs, Zhang Hanfu).
On 12 December 1962, Khrushchev met with Dange, chairman of the Communist Party of India. According to a Times of India report, on 30 December following his return to India, Dange said in Mumbai that he had had a lengthy discussion with Khrushchev on the Sino-Indian boundary question, and that Khrushchev did not agree to China’s actions in several aspects.
From 18 to 26 January 1963, Ratan Kumar Nehru, secretary-general of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited the Soviet Union. He met with Khrushchev on 22 January. He paid another visit to the Soviet Union in early March and was personally received by Khrushchev on 1 March. After his return to India from his first visit to the Soviet Union, Ratan Kumar Nehru told the press on 28 January in Mumbai that Soviet leaders repeatedly expressed appreciation for India’s policies of nonalignment and peaceful coexistence, in stark contrast to China’s accusations that India had abandoned its nonalignment policy and leaned toward the Western Camp (AFP, 28 January), and that Soviet leaders sympathized with India’s position on the boundary dispute issue (AFP, 28 January). On 2 March, Ratan Kumar Nehru asserted at a press conference in Moscow that he and Khrushchev “discussed the international situation in an amicable and cordial atmosphere. Of course, we discussed the Sino-Indian border conflict,” and “the Soviet Union didn’t suggest that we make a concession on the Sino-Indian border conflict, but we can say that Khrushchev understands our position on our issue with China.” (AFP, 2 March) On 3 March, he told the press that Khrushchev “has a full understanding of our stance.” (UPI, 3 March)
II. Soviet Union’s Economic Aid to India
From 1955 to February 1961, the Soviet Union openly signed nine economic aid agreements with India, with a total value of 3.849 billion rupees, including 3.837 billion rupees in six loans and 12.3 million rupees in three donations (Table I).
In the four-year period from February 1955 to March 1959, when the Tibet rebellion broke out, the Soviet Union made two loans and three donations to India, with a total value of 1.254 billion rupees, averaging 313 million rupees per year. In the past four years since the outbreak of the Tibet rebellion, the Soviet Union extended four loans to India, totaling 2.595 billion rupees, averaging 649 million rupees per year, more than double the average amount of the previous four years. Sixty-seven percent of the aid was given after India began to oppose China. On 17 September 1959, seventeen days after the eruption of the first Sino-Indian border clash, the Soviet Union gave India an enormous 1.78-billion-rupee loan.
After India launched a massive attack on China in October 1962, the Soviet Union accelerated Indian projects built with Soviet assistance. India’s Lightning weekly (5 January 1963) reported that, in light of the “state of emergency” faced by the Indian government, the Soviet government had instructed Soviet experts in India to speed up the construction of two heavy-industry projects – the Ranchi Heavy Machine Building Plant and the Durgapur Coal Mining Machinery Plant. On 19 December 1962, Subramanian, India’s minister of steel and heavy industries, told the press in Delhi that since India’s declaration of the “state of emergency,” the pace of projects built with Soviet assistance had picked up (Times of India, 20 December 1962).
In January this year, during the visit of Ratan Kumar Nehru, secretary-general of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Soviet Union pledged to assist India with another 15 projects, with a total value of 539 million rupees, in addition to the 30 projects during India’s third five-year plan period (from April 1961 to March 1966). Moreover, the Soviet Union promised to consider India’s needs for its fourth five-year plan (according to Ratan Kumar Nehru’s remarks at a press conference in Moscow on 25 January 1963).
Since India set out to oppose China, the Soviet Union has also expanded its trade with India, giving India aid in the form of expanded trade. Bilateral trade totaled 800 million rupees in 1962 (DPA, 11 October 1962), almost double the 450 million rupees for 1959 and far exceeding the 600-million-rupee target specified in the trade agreement signed by the Soviet Union and India for the five-year period from 1959 through 1963. The figure is expected to hit 1 billion rupees in 1963 (remarks by Veliki, Indian trade representative in the Soviet Union at a press conference on 22 December 1962). At the end of 1962, to meet India’s fuel requirement for its military buildup and war preparations, the Soviet Union exported 300,000 tons of fuel to India on preferential terms of payment in rupees (according to a Press Trust of India report from Mumbai on 21 December 1962)
Although the Soviet Union’s economic aid accounted for just 8.5 percent of the total foreign trade that India received (45.18 billion rupees), in terms of quality, the overwhelming majority of the 30 projects built with Soviet assistance were heavy industries related to defense production, such as steel, coal, oil, electricity and heavy-duty machinery. The additional 15 projects pledged by the Soviet Union at the beginning of this year include manufacturing facilities for ball-bearings, compressors, water pumps, blast furnaces, special steel and heavy-duty electric plants, which are impossible for India to get from Western countries. The Soviet Union grants aid to India on very favorable terms and long periods (7-12 years) with a low interest rate (2.59%), half the level of loans extended by Western countries, and allows India to repay its loans in rupees in order to ease its foreign exchange burden.
Table I Particulars of the Soviet Union’s Agreements on Economic Aid to India
(in million rupees)
(in million rupees)
2 Feb., 1955
Bhilai Steel Plant
Suratgur Machanized Farm
11 Sep., 1957
Five industrial projects
12 Dec., 1958
India Polytechnic College
Farming Machinery Repair Plant
29 May 1959
Four drugs plant
12 Sep., 1959
Ten projects for the Third Five-Year Plan
28 Sep., 1959
Dadong Oil Refinery
21 Feb., 1961
Six projects for the Third Five-Year Plan
- The September 1962 Monthly Review, published by the State Bank of India;
- The 1959 Foreign Aid Handbook, published by the Indian Ministry of Finance.
Table II The 30 Soviet Aid Projects for India
Designed Annual Capacity
1. Bhilai Steel Plant, Madhya
2.5 million tons of steel ingots
2. Coal Washery at Kathara, Bihar
3 million tons
3. Coal Washery for Korba Coal Fields, Madhya
1.5 million tons
4. Central Mining Machine Repair Plant
Repairing 75 million tons of coal mining equipment per year
5. Strip Mining
2 million tons
6. Coal Washery at Bokaro, Bihar
3 million tons
7. Barauni Refinery, Bihar
Refining 2 million tons of oil per year
8. Refinery at Koyali, Gujarat
Refining 2 million tons of oil per year
9. Exploration and oil and gas production in Cambay An-ke-lie-shen-wa-er [sic]and other cities in Gujarat
10. Oil exploration in Assam
11. Oil exploration in Punjab
12. Heavy Machine Building Plant at Ranchi, Bihar
13. Coal Mining Machinery Plant at Durgapur, West Bengal
14. Heavy Electricals & Turbines Plant, Uttar
15. Thermal Power Station in Neyveli, Madras
16. Expansion of Korba Thermal Power Station, Madhya
17. Thermal Power Station at Patratu, Madhya
18. Thermal Power Station at Singrauli
19. Barkla Right-bank Power Station & four sets of hydropower generation equipment, Punjab
20. Antibiotics Plant at Rishikesh, Uttar
21. Synthetic Drugs Plant at Sanatragar, Andhra
22. Photochemical Plant at Neziamangalam, Kerala
23.Surgical Instruments Plant in Madras
2.5 million pieces a year
24. Precision Instruments Plant, Kerala
25. Refractories Plant in Madhya
26. Ophthalmic Lenses Factory at Durgapur, West Bengal
27. India Polytechnic College in Maharastra
28. Suratgar Mechanized Farm, Rajasthan
29. Provision of technical and economic reports for water pump and compressor factories
30. Farming Machinery Repair Plant
Data Source: Issue 13 of Soviet Land, the gazette of the Soviet Embassy in India, July 1961
III. Soviet Union’s Military Aid to India
The Soviet government’s military aid to India began in October 1960 after the Indian reactionaries set out to oppose China. The aid is primarily meant to strengthen India’s military force to deal with China. The Soviet Union’s military aid consists of the following:
- Supply of Aircraft to India
According to press reports in various countries, from October 1960 to March 1963, the Soviet Union supplied to India, or received India’s orders for, 90 planes of various types, including 28 Ann-12 transport planes, 24 Ilyushin-14 transport planes, MiG-21 fighters, 26 Mi-4 helicopters and six Yak-7 jet engines. Among the 90 planes, except eight MiG-21 fighters, the other 82 have been delivered to India (see Table I). On 22 October 1962, Soviet Ambassador to China, Chervonenko, delivered a memorandum of the Soviet Government to our vice foreign minister Zhang. The memorandum acknowledged: “So far, the Soviet Union has sold eight Ann-12 transport planes and 20 Mi-4 helicopters to India.” During a banquet that he gave in honor of our ambassador Pan Zili, Soviet foreign minister Gromyko said: “According to the agreement, we will supply six MiG planes this year and six more next year to India, totaling 12.” The MiG planes referred to here were MiG-21 aircrafts.
Although the Soviet Union has sold us MiG-21 planes, they haven’t sold us all equipment and instruments, but they have also sold such planes to India.
In October and November 1962, our frontier guards, in their counterattack in self-defense, seized two Soviet-made Mi-4 helicopters from India’s intruding troops.
- Assistance for India in Building Military Aircraft Manufacturing Plants
In addition to the sale of MiG-21 aircraft, the Soviet government has also granted India a license for making such aircraft. This was acknowledged by Comrade Khrushchev during his conversation with our ambassador Liu Xiao on 13 October 1962. He also explained that it would take at least five years from factory completion to actual aircraft production. Moreover, on 17 August 1962, former Indian defense minister Menon announced at the Lok Sabha that India and the Soviet Union had signed an agreement to produce supersonic fighters at the Bangalore Hindustan Aircraft Manufacturing Factory (see Table III).
- Assistance for India in Training Air Force Personnel
We have information that three groups of Indian air force personnel have received training in the Soviet Union (the first group of 50 in January 1961, the second group in March 1961, and the third group during the second half of 1962). Among the trainees were Indian air force officers at the rank of major general (See Table III).
- Agreement to Supply Ground-to-Air Missiles to India
Following his return from his visit to the Soviet Union in February this year, Ratan Kumar Nehru, secretary-general of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told the press that the Soviet Union had agreed to India’s request for ground-to-air missiles (India’s Lightning newspaper, 9 February 1963). According to a Reuters report on 25 February 1963, Soviet-made ground-to-air missiles arrived in India last week for equipping MiG-21 fighters.
- Supply of Heavy-duty Road Building Machinery to India for Road Construction along Sino-Indian Border
During an informal meeting with Punjab congressmen on 25 February 1961, former Indian defense minister stated that the bulk of the equipment used in the construction of roads along the Sino-India border was supplied by the Soviet Union (India’s Statesman newspaper, 26 February 1961).
Table I Aircraft Supplied by the Soviet Union to India (October 1960 to March 1963)
According to a news report from New Delhi on 4 October 1960, India and the Soviet Union would sign purchase contracts on transporters, helicopters and road building machinery to enhance transport infrastructure in the northern region. The Ann-12 transporters were procured by the Border Roadway Development Bureau and were flied by Soviet pilots to the Sino-Indian border areas for testing purposes. Some of the planes landed in border towns.
New York Times, 6 Oct. 1960;
Times of India, 31 Mar. 1961;
New York Times, 1 Feb. 1962;
Aviation Daily (American), 5 Feb. 1962;
Flight (British), 15 Feb. 1962;
India Express, 5 Apr. 1961
Ordered in January 1962, and delivered in March 1962
New York Times, 1 Feb. 1962;
Aviation Daily, 5 Feb. 1962;
Flight , 15 Feb. 1962
The order was placed in May 1962. According to an Indian Information Service report on 28 May, Menon announced at the Lok Sabha that India would consider purchasing a number of Ann-12 transporters from the Soviet Union. According to a New York Time report on 10 January 1963, the Soviet Union had delivered 12 Ann-12 transporters (departing from Toshkent.
Reuters, 6 May 1962;
AP, 6 May 1962;
IIS, 28 May 1962;
New York Times, 10 Jan. 1963
The order was placed in late 1960. India troops are now using these transporters.
New York Times, 1 Feb. 1962;
Aviation Daily, 5 Feb. 1962;
Flight, 5 Feb. 1962
India started talks with the Soviet Union on the purchase of MiG-21 fighters in May 1962, and decided in principle to purchase such aircraft in July. The Soviet Union agreed in September to sell such aircraft. TASS officially reported on 23 Feb., 1963 that as agreed, the Soviet Union would supply 12 new MiG fighters to India, with four delivered in February. According to an AP report on 11 Feb. four MiG-21 fighters arrived in Mumbai on the same day. And according to a report by the British Sunday Express, the Soviet Union had agreed to deliver air-to-air missiles along with the MiG fighters to the Indian air force. Reuters reported that the missiles were delivered in mid-February 1963.
Times of India, 6 May 1962;
India’s Sunday Banner Weekly, 22 Jul. 1962;
UPI, 4 Sep. 1962;
British Sunday Express, 8 Oct. 1962;
TASS, 23 Feb. 1963;
Reuters, 25 Feb. 1963;
AP, 11 Feb. 1963
Order placed in May 1961.
New York Times, 1 Feb. 1962;
Aviation Daily, 5 Feb. 1962;
Flight, 5 Feb. 1962;
Times of India, 11 May 1961
The order was placed in January 1962, with delivery scheduled for March 1962. New York Times reported on 10 January 1963 that the Soviet Union would deliver four Mi-4 helicopters.
New York Times, 1 Feb. 1962;
DPA, 1 Feb. 1962;
New York Times, 10 Jan. 1963
Yak-7 Jet Engines
Ordered in September 1961 for powering Hindustan-24 fighters
Daily Telegraph, 16 Sep. 1961;
Aviation Daily, 25 Sep. 1961;
New York Times, 21 Feb. 1962;
Aviation Daily, 5 Feb. 1962
90 planes plus six jet engines
Note*: There are different numbers for MiG fighters. Our number is based on a TASS report on 23 February 1963 that the Soviet Union would deliver 12 MiG fighters. The numbers for all other types of aircraft have been verified.
Table II Assistance for India in Building Military Aircraft Manufacturing Facilities
(I) On 17 August 1962, former Indian defense minister Menon announced at the Lok Sabha that the Soviet Union had signed an agreement with India to produce supersonic fighter engines at the Bangalore Hindustan Aircraft Manufacturing Factory. On 4 March 1963, Indian minister of defense production, Raghuramaiah, announced that “pursuant to the agreement,” the Soviet Union would provide new engines in the initial stage and then help India produce MK-11 engines of Type HF-24. Soviet engines arrived in India in late 1963, and production of such engines began in India in 1964. The factory planned to produce three new types of aircraft.
In December 1962, the Indian minister of defense production stated at the Rajya Sabha that, with Soviet help, India planned to build factories in Orissa and Maharashtra to make engines, components and equipment for MiG fighters. On 23 February 1963, TASS reported that under the previously signed “technological cooperation agreement,” the Soviet Union would assist India with the design and construction of a fighter factory. On 25 February, Indian minister of defense, Chavan, stated that a number of Soviet technicians had arrived in India, and that once their proposal was completed, construction would begin on an aircraft factory.
On 15 December 1962, Indian newspaper National Herald reported that the Soviet Union would not only build a MiG aircraft factory in India as agreed, but had also offered to help India build a helicopter factory. On 21 December 1963, Chavan stated at the Lok Sabha that the Soviet Union had previously permitted India to build Mi-4 helicopters, but later decided that it was unnecessary to make such helicopters in India as the quantity needed was small.
In late January, secretary-general of the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ratan Kumar Nehru, said in Moscow that Soviet technicians were about to leave for India to help build a MiG aircraft factory. AFP reported on 23 February 1963 that two Soviet experts had arrived in Delhi to help build an airport for MiG fighters. AFP reported on 27 February 1963 that a group of 14 Soviet aircraft experts had arrived in Mumbai.
(II) India’s Liaison weekly revealed on 17 December 1961 that the Soviet Union would help India build a tank factory and had provided India with a tank for testing purposes.
Press Trust of India, 17 Aug. 1962
Press Trust of India reporting from Delhi, 5 Mar. 1963
India Information Service, 12 Dec. 1962
Press Trust of India reporting from Moscow, 25 Feb. 1963
Press Trust of India, 21 Jan. 1963
AFP, 25 Jan. 1963
Table III Assistance for India in Training Air Force Personnel
In January 1961, a group of 50 Indian air force personnel, headed by Indian warfare commander and vice marshal Pint [sic], left for the Soviet Union to learn to fly Ilyushin-14 transporters. They returned to India in March.
On 13 March 1961, America’s Aviation Daily reported that 100 Indian air force personnel were receiving training in the Soviet Union.
And according to a Hindustan Times report on 8 October 1962, under Soviet-Indian agreements, more Indian air force officers and technicians were about to receive training in the Soviet Union in the operations of Soviet-made fighters, transporters and helicopters. AFP reported on October 30 that about 150 Indian air force personnel were receiving training in the Soviet Union. On 26 February 1963, India’s Statesman newspaper reported that a number of Indian air force officers had returned to India after the completion of MiG aircraft flying and maintenance training, and that another group was about to depart for the Soviet Union to study the production of MiG aircraft.
The Times, 16 Mar. 1961
An extensive report from the Chinese Foreign Ministry on the Soviet Union's policies vis-a-vis the Sino-Indian Border War.
Associated People & Organizations
The History and Public Policy Program welcomes reuse of Digital Archive materials for research and educational purposes. Some documents may be subject to copyright, which is retained by the rights holders in accordance with US and international copyright laws. When possible, rights holders have been contacted for permission to reproduce their materials.
To enquire about this document's rights status or request permission for commercial use, please contact the History and Public Policy Program at [email protected].