January 01, 2012

Dr.Henry Kissinger’s Book “ON CHINA” – An Indian Perspective

Guest Column: By N. Narasimhan

" Relations Between Great Powers cannot b sustained by inertia,
commerce or mere sentiments" Aaron Freidburg in New Republic, August
4, 2011.

That this Book is unique in many ways is quite obvious. Not just
because of the Statistics. that Dr.Kissinger has counted having made
about 50 trips to Beijing and the sheer mental and physical stamina on
display. Hypothetically, someone can beat that in numerical terms. Or
can conceivably even carry out missions of comparable importance in
future. But there is not even a "ghostly" chance of any one
replicating the meetings he has had with Mao, Deng, and the successor
Chairmen of CPC/CMC/PRC; or the meticulous manner he has kept a record
of these and shared them with the world.

For good or bad, this review will be understandably in the nature of
lessons to be learnt, in the light of where we are now, our system and
other deficiencies, and that have contributed calling for remedial
action with urgency, to safeguard long and continuingly being
neglected vital national interests.

India – China Border Dispute and War:

The India – China border war of 1962 has been covered here more in the
perspective of a major illustration of Dr.K's basic thesis on China's
"exceptionalism" and "singularity", as characteristic style of
statecraft distilled in which principles of "deterrent co-existence",
and "offensive-deterrence"(being defined as "luring in the opponents
and then dealing them a sharp and stunning blow") are important
components.

Parenthetically, the India – China Border War has also been given
dubious pride of place, as a dramatic opening prop for the Prologue
with which Dr.K has begun the book ! Not being a critical element to
his main purpose of the Book, in Dr.K's broad brush treatment of the
history and actual developments preceding the October – November 1962
Chinese attack on India, the facts are smudgy and a number of crucial
issues have been glossed over. In fact, there are arguably many
historic inaccuracies.

The Chinese Attack was a well planned meticulous attack

This Book has done yeoman service to the Indian cause by conclusively
demonstrating that the Chinese attack was a well planned and
meticulously executed "malice aforethought", which was personally
handled by Mao himself. The quotes attributed to Mao in this Section
almost all have been sourced from an article by one John K.Garver.


Some of Dr.K's assessments of Chinese working and decision making
style described in this Section, which get repeated often in different
forms, throughout the Book are worth reproduction for ready perusal.


"It was not yet an order for military confrontation; rather a kind of
alert to prepare a strategic plan. As such, it triggered the familiar
Chinese style of dealing with strategic decisions: thorough analysis;
careful preparation; attention to psychological and political factors;
quest for surprise; and rapid conclusion".
(Page 188, Chapter 7 – from an account of Mao's meeting with Chinese
Military Commanders in 1962)


Dr.K goes on to mention two specific points which demonstrated the
comprehensive way in which Chinese policy was being planned. The
Chinese leaders were concerned that the U.S might use the Sino -
Indian conflict they were preparing for to unleash Taiwan against the
Mainland. Also the U.S may start some mischief in Indo – China, in the
developments of the then current edition of the Vietnam War, and use
it for an American attack on Southern China through Laos.


They used a simple subterfuge to obtain quick reassurance on the first
point. At the routine Ambassador level meetings then under way at far
away Warsaw, they got the U.S. Representative to deny any American
intention of armed action in Taiwan by making a false allegation that
the U.S. had amassed troops for this purpose, and getting it refuted
by him. Remarkable in itself, Dr.K also highlights this to
additionally emphasize the difference between a comprehensive approach
to policy making (Chinese model) and a segmented one (by others).

Then Chinese Ambassador Wang Bingnan at Warsaw had claimed in his
Memoirs that this information played a very "big role" in Beijing's
final decision to proceed with the operations in the Himalayas.
(Page-189, Chapter -7).


The role of the Soviet Union, Khrushchev and the Cuban missile crisis
finds a mention in this Section, with references to Soviet flip-flops.
But Dr.K does not make a specific point that the then raging Sino –
Soviet ideological war may have played any significant role in the
Chinese decisions and actions leading to the 1962 war – the point (the
cruciality of the Soviet/Russian factor and role) he has made in every
other of the three major comparable international conflicts/crises he
has elaborated on, namely, the Korean war, the Taiwan Straits crises
and the third Vietnam war ("We touched the Tiger's buttocks"), to
exemplify China's use of armed action as a policy tool in its
international relations. (Page-340, Chapter-13).


It needs to be noted though that Dr.K has graphically/gleefully, but
briefly, described, in different places, caustic /acerbic exchanges
between the Chinese and Soviet leaders and their publications, to show
China's irritation and indignation at different aspects of Indo-Soviet
relations. But not as significant factor in China launching the Border
War.
The so called 1961 "Indian Forward Policy/Nehru's Forward Policy" gets
mention, as occasion to quote Mao epigrammatically telling the Central
Military Commission (CMC) and top leaders, "a person sleeping in
comfortable bed is not easily roused by someone else's snoring". (Page
187, Chapter 7). (What or whom, did he have in mind in this
allusion?!)

Tibet, Tripartite Agreement, Tripartite Agreement and Neville Maxwll's Thesis"

Neville Maxwell who had made much of this "Forward Policy" as the main
reason for "India's China War", in his eponymous Book sponsored by the
PRC, (he was a State guest in Beijing writing the Book) gets a small
foot note reference (Serial # 7, Page-545, Notes), in the early
tracing of the history of the Simla Tripartite negotiations leading to
the Mac Mahon Line Agreement (1914), to quote the Emperor's then
Representatives in Calcutta, Lu Hsing – Chi on the Middle Kingdom's
positive attitude to the Simla Meeting; "We must exert muscles to the
utmost during this Conference", (Page-186, Chapter 7)

Dr.K, however fails to note that the main reason for the then Chinese
Central Government's refusal to fully "sign" the Tripartite Agreement
was their non acceptance of the border between "Inner" (Sechuan and
Yunnan provinces) and "Outer" (present Autonomous Region area) Tibets,
and not the India – Tibet segment of the Line, while he elaborates on
the significance/ difference in Diplomatic Practice between
"initialling" and "signing" an International Agreement.

Though mentioning Tibet in the context of the evolution the Mac Mahon
Line aspect of the border dispute, Dr.K briefly refers to HH the Dalai
Lama (DL) taking asylum in India in 1959 in this Section, only to the
extent of China beginning "to treat the issue of demarcation line
increasingly in strategic terms", not as a significant trigger for the
Border War China launched three and a half years later. (Page 187,
Chapter 7).


There is an amazing passage of brutal frankness, in a book replete
with breath taking dialogue scripts, on the 1959 Tibetan Revolt and
the D.L's escape – a verbatim record of a macabre exchange between Mao
and Khrushchev during the latter's visit to Beijing in October, 1959,
that has to be highlighted . (Page-171, Chapter-6)


Three Mao quotes given by Dr.K in this Section on India – China 1962
War are worth reproducing, as they unambiguously establish the "malice
aforethought" of Mao to unleash the War on India, as supplementary
Diplomacy, with meticulous preparedness.
(i)"You (perhaps referring Nehru) wave a gun, and I will wave a gun.
We will stand face to face and can each practice our courage." Mao
defined it as policy of "armed coexistence" (to the CMC – page 188,
Chapter-7).
(ii) "Lack of forbearance in small matters upsets great plans. We must
pay attention to the situation". (to the CMC – Page 188, Chapter-7)
(iii) "We fought a war with old Chiang (Kai-shek). We fought a war
with Japan, and with America. With none of these did we fear. And in
each case we won. Now the Indians want to fight a war with us.
Naturally, we don't have fear. We cannot give ground, once we give
ground it would be tantamount to letting them seize a big piece of
land equivalent to Fujian province......Since Nehru sticks his head
out and insists on us fighting him, for us not to fight with him would
not be friendly enough. Courtesy emphasizes reciprocity".(In early
October 1962 – "to assembled Chinese leaders to announce the final
decision, which was for war" – Page190, Chapter-7)

Other Aspects of Indian Interest

It is somewhat disappointing for the Indian observer that Dr.K. had
not found time and space to cover China – Pakistan relations despite
their having been found to be crucial in U.S – China bilateral talks,
and had apparently been dealt with as such at top leadership meetings,
from two important perspectives, namely, nuclear/missile proliferation
and international terrorism, during the Clinton and George W.Bush,
Presidencies.(On Terrorism, Dr.K evocatively describes China as an
"agnostic bystander" – till America's "9/11")

However, all that he has to say on the bilateral, collusive violations
of international agreements and commitments on nuclear and missile non
proliferation areas by the two "rogue" friends of the U.S. is :–

"Finally, the experience with the "Private" proliferation network of
apparently friendly Pakistan with North Korea, Libya, and Iran
demonstrates the vast consequences to the international order of the
spread of nuclear weapons, even when the proliferating country does
not meet the formal criteria of a rogue state." (Page-496 –
Chapter-18).

The following passage from Huang Hua's harangue to Brzezinski in the
segment relating to the third Vietnam War (page 352, Chapter 13) has
something India can ponder over, in the light of its so far
ineffective responses to Pakistan's long persisting Low Intensity War
strategy, to expose the fallacious perceptions it is based on.
"As for the argument that the Soviet Union would not dare to use
conventional arms for fear of nuclear attack from the West, this is
only wishful thinking. To base a strategic stance on this thinking is
not only dangerous but also unreliable". (citation # 15, page 352,
Chapter 13 and page 555 of Notes ).


The suggestion is that India needs to drastically change the ambience
of bilateral equations in Subcontinent, and gain "strategic space and
strategic autonomy", by appropriate actions and responses to periodic
provocations by Pakistan, so that its "all weather friend" China, as
ever pragmatic, finds it prudent to read the wisdom of the above quote
to its permanently parasitic neighbour - with two small changes,
inserting "India" in place of "Soviet Union" and "you" in place of
"the West", as highlighted in passage above.


Four major Historic Occurrences in US-China Relations: Principled?

These figure repeatedly in the context of the four major historic
occurrences, marking the evolution of U.S – China bilateral relations,
post October 1949, namely; the triangle of U.S - Soviet Union – China,
Cold War era and beyond, the tortuous negotiations over Taiwan, the
Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as the domestic convulsions
engineered by Mao in revolutionary zeal.

Behind the facade of fiery militancy bordering on nuclear war
mongering/of "principled" ideological firmness/political
toughness/historic Civilizational patience, drawing inspiration from
Confucius, Sun Tzu, and so on, the PRC leadership is capable of
extreme elasticity and pliability, surpassing the marvels witnessed in
the fantastic physical contortions of the famed Chinese Circus
Gymnasts.

The only principle of their "Principled stand" is pragmatic
achievement of the desired goal, by hook or crook, which may be battle
for survival against, or keeping at bay, the Polar Bear time and
again, checkmate the U.S. Imperialism in Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan,
Southeast Asia, and of late, the East Pacific, or determined pursuit
of pulling the country out of backwardness, poverty, towards economic
domination of the world.


It looks like the hoary Middle Kingdom Statecraft culture held the
concept of "consistency" at arm's length and use of the ideograph to
depict this. Or that it had been banned along the way by Emperor Chin
Shi Huang Di, with the writings of Confucius and other Chinese wise
men.

Dr.K's dramatic, 'blow – by – blow' account of how the Chinese
Leadership desperately sought to settle the crisis precipitated by
Fang Lizhi, (China's Andrei Sakhrov sans the Noble and perhaps the
Hydrogen bomb), suddenly seeking refuge in the US Embassy in Beijing
with his wife on June 4 1989, fearing the worst to his safety
following the Tienanman (TAM) crack down, is a vivid,
"no-holds-barred" play out of most of the above "Chinese
characteristics" (pages 428-432, Chapter 15). It is also the high
point of the trust Chinese Leaders had in Dr.K and his (brain) power
to deliver them from the most awkward of situations (they were many)
when he specially undertook this mission (November 1989) as a non
official. The passage "At this point Deng got up from his seat and
unscrewed the phones between his seat and mine as a symbol that he
wanted to talk privately" (page 430) and what followed to a happy,
face saving package deal end, epitomises the quintessential spirit and
substance of Dr.K's Book, on himself, China, and all in between. Point
to note:- When the chips are down, there is no scale to measure the
depth of a Chinese climb down.


The Chinese Leadership of all generations practises with consummate
success all verbal and physical feints, duplicity, outright lies,
wrapped in deliberate studied ambiguity, grandstanding calls for World
Revolutions against Imperialism, Revisionism, Hegemonism, Brinkmanship
in readiness to risk nuclear war annihilation, as a tool of blackmail,
and so on, to achieve well planned, meticulously executed, long range
objectives of domination, even from an intrinsically weak position –
Wei Qi style.

The "Chinese characteristics"- the world should take note of:

The known history of the 1962 India-China Border War, and the
"unknown" developments in this area of the past three decades since
the resumption of the dialogue between the two countries, post the
1962 War hiatus, (dealt with in detail elsewhere in this Paper), are
the close-to-home, hurtful, demonstration of these "Chinese
Characteristics".


Most of the time they have succeeded in pulling the wool over the eyes
of "friends" as well as "foes" at the given point of time. (many times
the same entity is simultaneously invested with both the roles and
dealt with).


PRC's 'cohort'-ing with impunity with "rogue"countries and their
discredited leaders, shunned by most the world at a given point of
time, like those of Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Somalia, Cambodia,
Myanmar and many despots of latter America, inter alia, for crass
material benefits like access to oil and other commodities, or for
diplomatic purposes, uniquely sets them apart as unafraid of isolation
or widespread unpopularity. Eventually they have the last laugh.

There have been, inevitably, a few misfires and failures, in this
approach, and the PRC has taken the tumble, at times grievous hurt, on
the chin, and continued to march forward.


Now the Chinese involvement with Col.Gadhafi in Libya and the
temporary set-back in their oil fortunes there are the latest
illustration. Their cosy relationship with Bangladesh after a short
interregnum, despite their support to the hilt to Pakistani
suppression in the East, prior to and during 1981 war, is another
classic of adroit, nimble footwork, turning 180 degrees, sans any
qualms.


All along, the Chinese Leadership has demonstrated extraordinary
capacity to mobilize resources, man power, material and what have you,
on a stupendous scale, and concentrate these to tackle the tasks on
hand, be it the Korean War, Taiwan Straits crises, border show downs
with the Soviets in Siberia, or the ill-conceived, force-marching of
the country to instant economic Utopia, through the Great Leap Forward
steroid administration, the Societal Purification and perpetual
Revolution sought in the GPCR and dazzling achievements in putting up
modern Infrastructure show pieces or disconcerting cyber attacks on
strategic assets of countries all over the world with uncanny ease
which can poise them to the role of Hitler of the future e-universe.


Aggressive Postures of Chinese Diplomacy:

To illustrate (one of many) the confidence and aggressive facet of
Chinese diplomacy, even when in a hole of relative weakness, Dr.K
cites detailed accounts of meetings of not only Deng, but also of
second tier leaders like Foreign Minister Huang Hua, where they
passionately hector his successor NSA, Zbig. Brzezinski, on the wrong
line of policy and approach, in their view, adopted by the U.S towards
the Soviet Union, (in the backdrop of the 3rd Vietnam War) which,
inter alia, allowed the Soviets various concessions in areas of trade
and technology, instead of putting military pressure on it, that would
rebound to haunt the U.S. through competition and challenge in future
(Page 351- 353 Chapter 13).


It is ironic that, right now, the shoe is on the other foot. The
accommodative policy adopted by the U.S towards China in the past two
decades, 1990-2010, in trade and technology transfer areas, have made
China a major challenge to U.S, while the Soviet Union had withered
away.
Throughout the Book Dr.K gives invaluable insights into the PRC and
CPC inner working, and thought – cum - decision making processes at
the highest levels from extensively researched authentic records,
mostly of U.S provenance, but also plenty of Chinese and Soviet
origin. It is felt that China watching scholars and diplomats will
reap adequate dividends if they strive to access similar archival
records of Albania, under Enver Hoxha / Mehmet Shehu the only country
which PRC/CPC had kept close relations with during its decades of
"revolutionary" isolation, including the domestically turbulent GPCR
years, when it strove to be the center / leader of World Revolution
and Communist Orthodoxy. In particular, significant keys to the
mystery of Lin Piao's death and the rise and fall of the Gang of Four
may be available here.

Insistent Posture of the Chinese:


The most important take for me personally from Dr.K's Book, in dealing
with China is the phrase "Insistent Posture" (IP). This occurs
obscurely (Page 508) in the last brilliant Chapter-18, "The New
Millennium", in the context of Dr.K comprehensively analysing a
December, 2010 seminal, authoritative Statement on PRC Foreign Policy
by State Councillor Dai Bingguo in its multi faceted aspects. It has
apparently been used by the "Triumphalist" school in the ongoing "The
National Destiny Debate", exemplified by two very popular, "deeply
nationalistic" Books, "China is Unhappy", a 2009 collection of essays,
and "China Dream" a 2010 publication by PLA Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu,
both of which advocate that China should stand up and follow
aggressive measures "to become the number one in the world". One
ostensible purpose of Dai Bingguo is to distance the PRC leadership
from this popular, almost militarist posture, carry conviction with
and reassure the world about the bonafides of the Official policy,
namely, "peaceful rise" – since revised to "peaceful development" -
and "harmonious world". (Pages 504 onwards, Chapter-18).


All the above three offerings have been expertly summarised and
analyzed by Dr.K, with appreciable objectivity and thoroughness, as
well as realism of an American strategic thinker. Hence, one should
refrain from seeking to gild the lily, as it were, but recommend that
this Chapter should be read in full, along with the succeeding,
equally brilliant, "Epilogue", where, after drawing parallel from the
developments leading to World War-I, with the help of a U.K.
diplomatic study, "The Crowe Memorandum", he weighs in, ever so
gently, in favour of a non-confrontationist development of U.S – China
relations, in future, in the face of real, strong, inevitable
challenges.


I have plumbed that "Insistent Posture" should be the watch word
hereafter which should guide India's approach to all aspects of
bilateral relations with the PRC.


Obiter on India – China relations- The Indian Public Should be taken
into Confidence:

The nitty-gritty of the post Nehru era India - China border dispute
negotiations have been marked by near total secrecy. This has been
plainly proven to be purposeless, self defeating, counterproductive,
and arguably much worse. This has given rise to lot of unhealthy
speculation about various proposals proffered by either side.

One of these is a "swap", attributed to different Chinese Leaders
including Mao, Chou, Deng, at different points of time. In essence
this amounted to a Chinese offer that they would allow India to keep
the disputed area in the Eastern sector, in return for India's
acceptance of the Chinese claims in the Western (Ladakh) sector.


Dr.K's Book refers to this Swap in suitably authentic tone, as having
been offered by Chou Enlai, and its non acceptance by India, without
however any specific official level citation at this point (page 187,
Chapter 7). Other references allude to this subject else were in the
Book in general terms, basing on the secondary source, Mr John Garver.


Ambassador C.V.Ranganathan's Book, "India and China, The Way Ahead",
second edition, 2004, (herein after referred to as "CVR – ICWA"),
gives strong credence to this thesis, with a detailed narrative of the
1979 talks in Beijing between Deng and the visiting then Indian EAM,
Mr. Vajpayee, wherein the Swap had figured (Pages 166 – 168, CVR –
ICWA). No documentary authority has however been cited. The narrative
also shies away from authoritatively spelling out specific details of
the Swap. It however avers that India rejected the PRC proposals on
Constitutional legal, technical grounds, again without citing any
authority.

"CVR – ICWA" nevertheless speculates that difficulties envisaged in
"selling" any line of territorial compromise to the Indian public to
settle the Border issue would be electoral hot potato. Does this mean
that India just kept mum without any response, beyond, "Sorry we
cannot accept this for domestic political reasons"?. Or they discussed
their problems with their counterparts, in whatever fashion, but had
chosen to hide it from the Indian public?

Whichever way, even if essentially correct, this premise is a totally
fallacious, escapist, if not a "cop-out", showing poor appreciation
and judgement of the dynamics of India's domestic polity.

India's relations with the PRC is one area which can be safely
postulated as extrinsic to, and fairly well insulated from the
vagaries of domestic electoral politics, which can be safely kept that
way unless violently mishandled.


Whatever the assessed obstacles, these will not go away with time, but
only assume more dangerous dimensions, eventually bringing greater
grief to the country, through the tactics of "seeping aggression"
being successfully pursued by the PRC, through more frequent,
enlarging, and growingly emphatic references to their claims to Tawang
and "South Tibet", which had not been seen till recently.


Recently, there was an article in Chinese media in which the author
discussed in detail the relative merits of China handing over to India
areas claimed by it in the Eastern Sector (Arunachal Pradesh), in
return for India agreeing to China's retention of the area under its
occupation in the Ladakh Sector (Aksai Chin).


Probably for the first time, this author claimed at length that
Chairman Mao had himself convincingly advanced in detail (obviously
before his death) the strategic advantages of China retaining Aksai
Chin, compared to lesser purchase in keeping Arunachal Pradesh. This
seemed to indicate the existence of an ongoing debate, or its
recrudescence, on the subject within China and a serious attempt being
made by some section of the leadership to gain wider acceptance among
the country's population for this move, in the face of internal
opposition.


This clearly calls for India to have a goal and a strategy to take
advantage of such debates in China by appropriate, adroit
modifications in negotiating positions / postures.

India Should produce a White paper on Border Negotiations:

In view of these developments, it is time that GOI sets all
speculation on this at rest without further delay, with an authentic,
comprehensive report on Border negotiations held so far since
1963-1964, on the lines of the White Papers published on pre 1963
events. Simultaneously, GOI should make public every aspect of what
all has transpired in bilateral negotiations between the two countries
covering all subjects, beyond the Border Dispute too.


The paradox and contrast with GOI in keeping its "Aam Admi" in total
darkness on momentous external relations issues affecting national
security, thereby denying itself the strength and support of the
masses, needs to be taken note of and corrected.


Issue of River Waters

There is a special urgency to do this immediately in respect of
negotiations on the exploitation of waters of international rivers
flowing out of Tibet for which both the Governments have constituted
the "India – China Expert Level Mechanism on Trans – Border Rivers"
which holds annual meetings.

The potential long term adverse effects of the River Waters issue are
much more damaging to the future of the Nation and its population,
than even the dispute over Border territorial claims, whose (mis)
handling over the years has proved dangerous enough to National
security. The absence so far of any meaningful detailed disclosures on
this subject, covering GOI's attitude and actions, if any, as well as
PRC's responses, if any, evoke an eerie, nightmarish feeling of replay
of the Border dispute tragedy of the 1954 – 1962 vintage.

In the absence of more detailed information, the PM's recent statement
on the River Waters, in the current Parliament Session, gives the
impression that GOI may be following a wrong course of action
intending to domestically down play the problems with the PRC, in the
misplaced assessment that this is either necessary, or will lead to
maintaining over all, friction – free, "friendly" relations with the
PRC. If so, there has been a culpable failure to learn the lessons
from the tragic experiences of Mr.Nehru which led to his refusal to a
January, 7 1963 oral message of Chou Enlai requesting to meet
personally and discuss the six (NAM) nation Colombo proposals, with
the observation "matters are gone too far and the people of India
could not be persuaded to accept Chinese 'bluff and nonsense' any
more". (Pages 99 – 101 of India's CDA in Beijing, Dr.P.K.Banerjee's
Memoirs of the Chinese Invasion of India).

White papers published by GOI on the 1962 War graphically show the
background for Mr.Nehru's above frustration. That it is fatal to
second guess PRC's intentions and meanings from their cleverly
ambiguous statements, especially from a self induced, pre conceived
naive mind set, resulting in make believe or wishful interpretations
of what one wants to see and hear, rather than nailing the PRC in
writing on what they had specifically intended or wanted say.

Two letters exchanged between the two Prime Ministers, one of Mr Nehru
dated May, 22, 1959 where he sought it interpret Chou Enlai on having
accepted the Mac Mohan Line during his visit to India in January, 1957
(letter written after a lapse of two years after the visit!) and Chou
Enlai's flat contradiction of the same in his reply dated September,
8, 1959 are prime examples of the failure to adopt the methodology of
"Insistent Posture" (refer Para 73).

An extract of Diplomatic Note dated 31 May 1962 by the Chinese Foreign
Ministry to the Indian Embassy in Beijing at Appendix – II is another
shining illustration of the dangers of the preconceived mind set in
dealing with the PRC (Page-142, CVR – ICWA).

There was no Dr.K in the 1950s to wise up the world with experience to
share in dealing with latter day Middle Kingdom Mandarins who have
carried the same Imperial DNA for millennia, mutated for good measure
with dyed – in – the wool , Marxist – Leninist Revolutionary
ambitions.


GOI will be well advised even now to go over with fine tooth comb what
all have been officially exchanged with the PRC, on the subject of
River Waters, what replies the PRC had given in writing, including the
record of exchanges at annual meetings of Experts. ( hopefully they
are comprehensive.

The Concept of "Line of Actual Control":

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a crucial concept, which
unfortunately has remained only that, for decades now, in India –
China Border negotiations. The PRC has successfully evaded giving any
meaningful idea of their version of this LAC, in spite of undertaking
to do so in solemn bilateral undertakings in Agreements signed by
Heads of States and Governments of the two countries periodically.
Absence "Insistent Posture" on GOI's part, the PRC has merrily gotten
away without giving any concrete description of the LAC, so that they
can draw it any time in future South of Tawang and tell GOI that they
have never said anything contradictory before officially and they
cannot be proven wrong. And they will get Neville Maxwells of 21st
century (perhaps some Indians too!) to paint them as paragons of all
Celestial virtues, attributed to Confucius, Sun Tzu etc.

Singularity and Exceptionalism

Dr.K devotes time and space in the Book to highlight China's
"Singularity" and "Exceptionalism". One salient aspect emphasized is
the great influence of China's ancient Civilizational history,
Culture, and writings of Philosophers like Confucius, Sun Tzu as the
bedrock and guiding force throughout the many millennia, to the
cataclysmic contemporary developments of 20th/21st Century, and the
strength and sustenance Mao and his successors had drawn from this, to
the extent of even using the same ancient elliptical, allegoric,
epigrammatic, vague circumlocutory verbiage to hide and fudge, so as
to thrive and succeed.


India too has a great History:


India has also been blessed with ancient history and civilization and
great philosophers and thinkers whose teachings had served generations
of Rulers and the Ruled for millennia. Except that in Indian case
there seems to be a disastrous break in the past couple of centuries
under British colonialism, and contemporary Rulers seem unaware of and
unwilling to draw strength, sustenance and guidance from their
Heritage, in meaningful, practical ways.
This is an important point to ponder over while learning from the
successful Chinese experience, so rivetingly told in the Book by the
master practitioner of International Diplomacy.
Another noteworthy/mentionable fact is that the PRC has been most
successful in educating and sensitising the entire country without
significant distinction among populations in rural and urban areas, on
the major aspects of its Foreign Policies and external relations with
important countries at any given point of time, (dealt with in the
Book), both in broad strategic long term perspective and nuances, as
well as immediate tactical moves, as situations develop, so as to be
able to demonstrate massive support on the street, especially when it
concerns countries like Japan, Soviet Union, Vietnam and the U.S.

Even allowing for the differences in the systems of government,
control over media etc., this gulf is a major, self inflicted failure
which is regrettably, totally unjustified.

(The writer is a former chief of India's External Intelligence Agency)

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