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India V. China: Border Games
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India is now the belle of the ball, as most of the world and Asian regional powers make pilgrimages to New Delhi to flatter and flirt with India’s dynamic Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Modi and India come with a certain amount of unpleasant baggage, which their suitors do their best to ignore. Modi himself is an unrepentant Hindutva cultural chauvinist whose attitudes toward Muslims (and convincing circumstantial evidence of his involvement in an anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat—so convincing, in fact, he was previously banned from the United States) trend toward the fascistic.

In regional affairs, India has not been a particularly responsible or constructive actor, having mixed it up with Pakistan (assisted the split-off of East Pakistan a.ka. Bangladesh in 1971), Nepal (opened the door to the Nepalese Maoists with its ineptly executed deposition of King Gyanendra in 2008), and Sikkim (Sikkim, in case you noticed, doesn’t exist anymore; it was annexed by India in 1975), and has presided over a bloody insurgency and brutal counterinsurgency in Kashmir that has claimed the lives of at least 60,000 people. India birthed the horrific Tamil Tiger insurgency in Sri Lanka and its intelligence services played what may have been a decisive role in organizing and executing the successful electoral challenge, on January 8, 2015, which ended the rule of the pro-Chinese (now-ex) president of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa.

And there’s the People’s Republic of China, and the contested borderlands of Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast and Ladakh/Aksai Chin in the northwest.

Japan’s Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida, got himself tangled up in the Arunachal Pradesh issue during his recent visit to India.

China today lodged a protest with Tokyo after Japan’s foreign minister was quoted as saying that Arunachal Pradesh was “India’s territory”.

Japan’s Sankei Shimbun, a conservative daily, quoted Fumio Kishida as having made the remarks in New Delhi on Saturday.

Japan played down the issue today, saying it could not confirm Kishida’s reported remarks. It added that it hoped India and China could resolve their border dispute peacefully.

Kishida’s reported remarks drew an angry response from China, which called on Tokyo to “understand the sensitivity of the Sino-India boundary issue”.

A Japanese foreign ministry spokesperson said “the statement was made considering the reality that Arunachal Pradesh state is basically in reality controlled by India and that China and India are continuing negotiations over the border dispute”.

China disputes the entire territory of Arunachal, calling it south Tibet, especially Tawang, a key site for Tibetan Buddhism. The historic town briefly fell into Chinese hands during their 1962 war before Beijing retreated.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry backtracked expeditiously, indicating that Kishida’s remarks were perhaps a slip of the tongue and not meant to inject Japan into the Arunachal Pradesh issue.

Ever since Prime Minister Abe returned to office with an India-centric Asian policy, yearnings have been expressed that Japan might openly side with India on the Arunachal Pradesh issue. The PRC, was extremely leery of previous PM Manmohan Singh and his overt diplomatic and emotional tilt toward Japan and, with good reason, has expected the current officeholder, Narendra Modi, to play off China, Russia, and the United States in a more pragmatic manner.

Modi will certainly keep the PRC off balance. President Obama’s decision to accept Prime Minister Modhi’s invitation to attend the Republic Day extravaganza further buttressed Modi’s prestige and popularity within India and elicited a wave of “Mobama” triumphalism in the press, much to China’s discomfiture.

Modi averred to President Obama that he was angry and disappointed with the PRC over alleged border perfidy in Ladakh in 2014 at the time of Xi Jinping’s visit, and Modi endorsed the US position on the South China Sea and efforts to upgrade the US-Japan-India-Australia security quadrilateral.

In the matter of the “border” incident (there is no accepted border or even a mutually understood Line of Control; there is an overlapping 20-kilometer wide band in which Indian and PRC local forces work within ill-defined “Lines of Perception” and engage in persistent envelope-pushing, patrolling, hut construction, and road-building that make it easy for either side to foment an incident) in the barren wastes of Ladakh, perhaps Xi Jinping thought he could get Sino-Indian relations on a solid footing by humiliating Modi before his army and his nation with a gratuitous provocation.

An equally plausible explanation for the otherwise inexplicable PRC affront–which recapitulated a previous incident in Ladakh that similarly overshadowed the decidedly unmartial technocrat Li Keqiang’s state visit in 2013–was that it was engineered by hardliners in the Indian security establishment (who exhaustively backgrounded, briefed, and ballyhoo’d the incident to the receptive Indian press during Xi’s visit) to balk PRC attempts to improve relations and negotiate the borders issue, and Modi grasped the opportunity to wrongfoot the economically and strategically overbearing PRC in order to advance his strategic agenda

In this case, perhaps Modi was putting the incident to further good use to tell President Obama exactly what he wanted to hear, provide a compelling narrative to underpin the important Sino-US relationship, and help extract various economic and security benefits, including the heightened intelligence cooperation that advocates of the US-Indian security alliance are promoting.

Per the Indian Express (which also revealed in passing that, in addition to the canonical “Five Eyes” intelligence sharing arrangement, the US has also midwifed “Nine Eyes” and “Fourteen Eyes” intel clubs in Europe in addition to pacts with Japan and South Korea), Indian intelligence priorities will include a) Pakistan b) China c) keeping the US at arms-length, not necessarily in that order:

The pact would enable India access to encrypted digital traffic its intelligence services are now unable to decipher. It would also make state-of-the-art western espionage technology available to the Directorate of Military Intelligence and the National Technical Research Organization…The US has provided a growing volume of information on planned attacks by Pakistan-based groups–helping India pre-empt at least two attacks on diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan.


There are, sources said, several formidable challenges to be overcome before India can begin purchasing cutting edge digital intelligence technologies from the US. For example, fearful that equipment can be used to eavesdrop on sensitive information, India insists on domestic security certification for purchases. However, no Indian firm currently certifies EAL7+, the most stringent standard for digital security.

Fears also exist that an intelligence-sharing agreement might allow penetration of its own secrets. The Vajpayee government (the first BJP national government–ed.) which saw the first warming in ties with the US, was deeply embarrassed by the disclosure that the US had recruited Research and Analysis Wing officer Rabinder Sing…

It remains to be seen who comes out ahead in the US-India tango and, in particular, how deep Modi is willing to follow the US down the China-containment rabbit hole. Modi’s statements on China policy are, for the time being, cost-free lip service and in the end, Modi played true to independent form in the matter of climate change by publicly and bluntly rejecting President Obama’s call to limit India’s greenhouse gas emissions.

For the PRC, an important area of anxiety is Arunachal Pradesh and the threat that India might “internationalize” the bilateral border dispute by canvassing its actual and would-be allies for support on the issue, perhaps even to the extent of going tit-for-tat with Japan i.e. India backing Japan on the issue of Senkaku sovereignty in return for Japanese aid and comfort on AP.

However, for the time being it looks like Japan—like the Asian Development Bank, which ran into a PRC buzzsaw when it tried to put an Arunachal Pradesh hydropower project on its agenda in 2009—is not quite ready to mix it up on AP.

Let’s unpack the Arunachal Pradesh issue.

Arunachal Pradesh is a region controlled by India in its northeast quadrant, between Bhutan and Burma, home to a variety of ethnic groups. One of those groups is Tibetan, centered on the town and district of Tawang in the western end of AP at the border with Bhutan.

The Arunachal Pradesh dispute is bookended with Aksai Chin, a blasted desert between India and the PRC in the northwest that is controlled by the PRC. The Indian claim to Aksai Chin is not terribly robust, since it is based on an internal British Indian survey—the Johnson Line—which was never discussed or agreed with China. The PRC built a strategic road across Aksai Chin in the 1950s, and it took several years for the Indian government to even find out it was there.

There is a third slice of disputed territory, the “Trans-Karakorum Tract” bordering Kashmir, geographically distinct from Aksai Chin, which India claims Pakistan illegally ceded to the PRC in a land swap. For some reason, the PRC and India aren’t arguing about this piece.

Both Arunachal Pradesh and Aksai Chin territories have been openly disputed since before the 1962 Sino-Indian war. The PRC has at times offered a grand bargain in which the two sides acknowledge each other’s regions of effective control, by which India got AP and the PRC gets AC.

The official Indian response has been Nothing Doing and all territory it lost in the 1962 war must be recovered i.e. Aksai Chin is not negotiable. It has decoupled the two issues, and has focused its diplomacy on the insistence that its sovereignty over AP be confirmed.

India’s claim to AP is complicated in an interesting way.

In 1914, Great Britain was interested in creating an autonomous Tibetan buffer—“Outer Tibet”—between British India and Russia/China. To this end, Sir Henry McMahon, the Foreign Minister of British India, invited Tibetan and Republic of China delegates to the Indian town of Simla.

Tibet, eager to be acknowledged as an autonomous power with its own rights to negotiate directly with foreign powers (and not just through China), generously conceded a delineation of Lhasa’s sphere of control—the McMahon Line–alienating Tawang, a market town that interested the Raj, to British India.

However, the Simla Agreement was negotiated between the Tibetan and British representatives in a provisional sort of way after the Chinese representatives had packed up and left. Since Britain’s Foreign Office was protective of its China diplomacy and not interested in encouraging Tibetan pretensions to negotiate as an independent sovereign power, the absence of the Chinese representatives—and without a Chinese endorsement of the border arrangement accepted by the Tibetan authorities–was a dealbreaker.

The Simla Agreement was apparently treated as an aspirational document and was recorded in the most authoritative compendium of British Indian treaties, Sir Charles Umpherston Aitchison’s Collection of Treaties, Engagements, and Sanads, with the notation that neither Great Britain nor China had ratified the treaty. China, indeed, never accepted the McMahon Line. Since Tibet wasn’t recognized as a sovereign power, whatever it hoped to achieve with the Simla Accord—and what it had tried to give away, namely Tawang– was, in the eyes of the British, moot.

Things puttered along until 1935, when the detention of a British spy in Tawang by Tibetan authorities awakened the cupidity of a diplomat in the Foreign Office of British India, Olaf Caroe.

Caroe checked the files, found that Great Britain had no ratified claims on Tawang, and decided to amend and improve the record.

He arranged for the relevant original volume of the 1929 Aitchison compendium to be withdrawn from the various libraries in which it was filed, discarded, and replaced with a new version—but one that still claimed to be compiled in 1929, thereby removing the need for awkward explanations or documentation concerning why the switch had happened. The spurious version claimed that Tibet and Britain had accepted the treaty. Thereby, the unsurveyed McMahon Line was repurposed as a sacrosanct British imperial border, and Tawang was slotted into the British Indian side of the ledger.

The deception was only discovered in 1964, when a researcher was able to compare one of the last three surviving copies of the original compendium, at Harvard University, with the spurious replacement.

Unfortunately, that was too late for Nehru, who staked his security strategy and his diplomatic exchanges with China to a significant extent on the fallacy that he had inherited from British India a clear and unequivocal claim to its borders.

In 1962 Nehru decided to move up military units to assert India’s claim to contested territory in Ladakh/Aksai Chin and in Arunachal Pradesh under a gambit optimistically named The Forward Policy. Unluckily for Nehru, Chairman Mao was itching to stick it to India’s patron, Nikita Khrushchev, and the PLA attacked with overwhelming force on both fronts. India’s entire strategy had been predicated on the assumption that the PRC would not respond (shades, I think, of Western confidence that Vladimir Putin would stay his hand in eastern Ukraine out of fear of sanctions and the wrath of his impoverished and disgruntled oligarchs) and the Indian Army, outnumbered, undersupplied, and disorganized, was completely unprepared for a desperate fight on the remote, high altitude battlefields.

India suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the PLA. After its victory, the PRC decided to take the high ground, diplomatically as well as geographically. It withdrew its forces to behind the McMahon Line and offered negotiations of the boundaries based on the status quo, in other words a de facto swap of AP for AC.

No dice, as we have seen. India clearly does not see any need to credit Arunachal Pradesh—territory that the PRC abandoned—as any kind of bargaining chip concerning Aksai Chin. This is, perhaps, a cautionary tale to the PRC as to the geostrategic minuses as well as pluses of trying to behave like Mr. Nice Guy.

This history is officially persona non grata in India. The report the Indian government commissioned on the 1962 war—the Henderson Brooks Report–was so devastating to India’s position and its legal, military, and diplomatic pretensions it was promptly banned and publication is forbidden to this day. In an ironic recapitulation of the case of the Aitchison compendium, it was assumed that there were only two typewritten copies and they were securely buttoned up in safes in New Delhi. However, the Times of London correspondent, Neville Maxwell, promptly got his hands on a copy and used it to write an expose on the tragedy of errors in 1962, India’s China War, thereby earning himself the fierce hatred of generations of Indian nationalists.

Maxwell tried several times to put the report into the public domain.

As quoted in Outlook India, Maxwell provided an interesting account of how the freedom of expression sausage gets made when the information involved is not necessarily a matter of national security (the report is classified Top Secret, but its content—the minutiae of military decisions and movements fifty years ago–has no current strategic or tactical significance) but is a matter of supreme political embarrassment (to Nehru, the Congress Party, the Gandhi political dynasty, and to the army).

My first attempt to put the Report itself on the public record was indirect and low-key: after I retired from the University I donated my copy to Oxford’s Bodleian Library, where, I thought, it could be studied in a setting of scholarly calm. The Library initially welcomed it as a valuable contribution in that “grey area” between actions and printed books, in which I had given them material previously. But after some months the librarian to whom I had entrusted it warned me that, under a new regulation, before the Report was put on to the shelves and opened to the public it would have to be cleared by the British government with the government which might be adversely interested! Shocked by that admission of a secret process of censorship to which the Bodleian had supinely acceded I protested to the head Librarian, then an American, but received no response. Fortunately I was able to retrieve my donation before the Indian High Commission in London was alerted in the Bodleian’s procedures and was perhaps given the Report.

In 2002, noting that all attempts in India to make the government release the Report had failed, I decided on a more direct approach and made the text available to the editors of three of India’s leading publications, asking that they observe the usual journalistic practice of keeping their source to themselves. … To my surprise the editors concerned decided, unanimously, not to publish… Later I gave the text to a fourth editor and offered it to a fifth, with the same nil result.

Narendra Modi, a determined foe of the Congress Party and the Gandhis (I had to chuckle when I read these fawning articles about President Obama bonding with Prime Minister Modi over their shared Gandhi love, despite the awkward fact that Modi’s Hindutva movement was and apparently still is the spiritual home of Gandhi’s assassin), came to power promising to release the report…but didn’t. And when Maxwell finally posted part of the report on his website in 2014, the site was symbolically blocked.

Here is a link to a scan of Maxwell’s copy of the Henderson Brooks report..

The Indian army, in particular, is wedded to a creation myth of PRC perfidy that is infinitely more utile than acknowledging that the PLA attack, rather than unprovoked, was a response to a strategically and diplomatically bankrupt Indian border gambit compounded by non-stop miscues by India’s civilian leadership and disastrous defeat for its military forces. This default presumption of Chinese aggression against innocent India, which is still widely accepted in India and abroad, also makes it easy for India to impose its narrative on murky matters like the Ladakh incidents of 2013 and 2014–clashes which, when viewed through the lens of 1962, invite the speculation that India has not abandoned its border-pushing ways.

In 2005, the PRC and India started negotiations over the borders issue. Here’s a nice explainer from the Daily Mail! in 2013 which signals that Aksai Chin might be on the table, but Tawang is off the table, and unfortunately omits the significant complication of the Caroe forgery.

India’s move into Arunachal Pradesh in the 1950s is less than a slam dunk according to international law, complicated in particular by the issue of Tawang.

Not only is there the problem of the shakiness of the McMahon line, highlighted by Olaf Caroe’s bibliographic hijinks, there is the awkward fact that India forcefully displaced Tibetan theocratic rule in Tawang—nominally rule from Lhasa, actually local rule by the immensely powerful monastery.

Lhasa had apparently experienced cartographic remorse over Simla and implored India to recognize Tawang as Tibetan territory in 1947. Instead, India seized the district in 1951 in a quasi-official/quasi-military “liberating the Tibetan serfs” operation rather similar to what the PRC conducted in its part of Tibet.

In recent years, the Dalai Lama has been forced into the unpleasant position of affirming Indian sovereignty over Tawang, whose great monastery (the second largest in Tibetan Buddhism) first gave him shelter when he fled PRC control in 1959, and which had hosted the reincarnation of the 6th Dalai Lama way back when.

The Dalai Lama apparently verbally acknowledged, if not in writing, that AP and Tawang belonged to India on a couple occasions while he still served at the apex of power in the Tibetan government in exile (a position he relinquished in 2011).

However, I assume twisting the Dalai Lama’s arm to concede Indian sovereignty over Tawang falls a little bit short, since the Tibetan government-in-exile lacks international recognition (and with it the right to cede territory to India).

The PRC is happy to harp on Tawang’s role in the AP situation, since it serves as a continual reminder that India is occupying territory in AP that, however you slice it, is a core component of the Tibetan homeland, thereby keeping alive a non-Indian or, if you want, a PRC-cum-Tibet claim to at least part of the region and attempting to balk India’s attempt to claim full sovereignty over Arunachal Pradesh under international law.

To understand how this relates to the Senkakus requires reflection on another piece of suppressed history—that the United States returned the Senkakus to Japanese administrative control not sovereignty in 1973 as part of the Okinawa package with the stated expectation that the sovereignty of the rocks would be negotiated between China and Japan.

My personal opinion is that the PRC is in no hurry to unfreeze the conflict over Arunachal Pradesh, and its insistence on sovereignty over Tawang—a district, I suspect, that has extremely limited interest in reunification with the Chinese motherland—is something of a pretext.

With the Simla Agreement tainted and no subsequent cession of Tawang by Tibet or China, the Indian position in Tawang is embarrassingly similar to that of the PRC in the matter of its seizure of the Paracel Islands from Vietnam in 1974 i.e. having expelled the previous rulers by conquest and achieved control of the territory without attaining international recognition of its sovereignty. And it’s somewhat similar to the Senkakus, where the United States effectively surrendered its sovereignty over the islands when it returned Okinawa and the Ryukyus to Japan, but didn’t cede its claim to anybody else.

Maybe Arunachal Pradesh is another one of those Mexican-standoff situations like Kashmir vs. Tibet (a.k.a. the Indian temptation to make mischief in the ethnic-Tibetan areas of the PRC is inhibited by concern that the PRC, via Pakistan, might light the fuse in Kashmir). The PRC keeps the Tawang/AP issue alive to forestall thoughts by India of giving aid and comfort to Japan on the Senkakus or, for that matter, Vietnam on the Paracels.

Both the PRC and India are bulking up their infrastructure and military on their respective sides of the de facto McMahon-Line-based border, making it a virtual certainty that India will never alienate any part of AP, including Tawang.

That’s good news for reduced actual tensions (as opposed to defense ministry posturing) at the shared border, but India’s heightened sense of security concerning Arunachal Pradesh may encourage it to be less tentative vis a vis the PRC in its Japanese and Vietnamese diplomacy.

So, paradoxically, greater security along the PRC-Indian border may lead to greater insecurity elsewhere.

N.B. For further reading, readers are welcome to review my previous pieces on Sino-Indian relations: China “pivot” trips over McMahon Line; China’s Flank of Discontent; India Places Its Asia Bet on Japan; Is Narendra Modi the Leader of the World’s Largest Democracy…Or the World’s Most Successful Fascist?

(Republished from China Matters by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: China, India 
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  1. Very interesting.

    The 1962 India-China war broke out right in the middle of the 13 day Cuban Missile Crisis. Supposedly China enjoyed some strategic cooperation from the Soviets ahead of time, even though the date of their final split is usually put a couple of years before.

    I would imagine that this could have terrified Washington into imagining that the Soviets and Chinese would still work together in a coordinated aggressive global strategy. Perhaps the short India-China War contributed to making the Vietnam conflict seem more strategically important to the Kennedy-Johnson Administrations than it really was.

  2. It seems like it’s not particularly in the U.S. interest to encourage a settlement of the boundary dispute, since it keeps two giant countries ill at ease with each other.

    In contrast, Putin signed a boundary settlement with China around July 21, 2008, right before the crazy little Georgia-Russia war a few weeks later. I imagine Putin felt pretty good about having done that deal and thus calmly settling his longest border when the tanks started rolling in the Caucasus.

  3. The most dangerous situation is likely a Sudenland-like situation where a border traps a large number of co-ethnics of a rising neighboring power in a weaker country, and the co-ethnics desire to be included in the neighbor. But in the territory centered around the big Tibetan monastery, presumably the locals don’t look fondly upon the PRC and are more or less content with the status quo?

    • Replies: @Honorary Thief
  4. @Steve Sailer

    I’ve always assumed there will be large scale Chinese illegal (or worse, legal) immigration into Siberia that will lead to this exactly situation with Russia.

    • Replies: @Vendetta
  5. Vendetta says:
    @Honorary Thief

    Not so much the case, the Chinese have had thousands of years to try to settle there and have never taken the bait. And now that the region is already populated, there are fewer resources available to support the entry of large numbers of immigrants.

  6. CC says:

    You’ve forgotten to list the 1961 annexation of Goa (overseas territory of Portugal) among India’s military adventures.

    Goa had a 85% Catholic majority (Catholic Encyclopedia, 1911). To destroy the non-Hindu nature of Goa, the first thing the Indian government did after the annexation of 1961 was order the arrest and expulsion of all ‘white’ Portuguese (in reality, as many Catholics as possible, especially those of the ‘mestiços e descendentes’ educated class). Around 17% of the total population had to leave as a result. Today Goa’s Catholic population is 26% (India pushed for unrestricted Hindu immigration from other states into Goa after 1961) and falling continuously. Most of the Catholic community uses Portugal’s ‘jus sanguinis’ laws to get Portuguese nationality and leave India permanently due to anti-Catholic discrimination in jobs, and continued harassment from the Hindu immigrants to be more ‘Indian’ – i.e. Hindu.

    • Replies: @Numinous
    , @Zachary Latif
  7. Numinous says:

    A worthy comment to accompany a hatchet job of an article. Presenting fictional accounts of expulsions of white people (probably to garner sympathy on this website), forgetting that Hindus were then and have always been a large majority in Goa, and were discriminated against during Portugese rule. India’s takeover of Goa was as legitimate or illegitimate as the American Revolutionaries’ declaring independence even in areas where loyalists had a large following.

    This comment is similar to Mr. Lee’s attempt to characterize the creation of Bangladesh as an irresponsible application of foreign policy. Ignored are the facts that Pakistan was committing genocide on Hindus in that country, and refugees were pouring into India at the rate of a million per month. All the while China’s forceful annexation of Tibet is ignored, perhaps implicitly condoned as a natural occurrence, Tibet being the birthright of Han China. India’s offer of humanitarian refuge to the Dalai Lama and his followers is also treated as an irresponsible and hostile action; it seems that in Mr. Lee’s view, China has a right to do whatever it wants in its backyard and other countries must bow to its wishes.

    • Replies: @CC
  8. CC says:

    Fictional accounts?!

    Hindus were not always the majority. Anti-Hindu discrimination was during the Portuguese monarchy till the Marquis of Pombal became PM of Portugal in the 1700s, following which Hindus gained emancipation and the government expelled the Jesuits (in hindsight, Portugal’s biggest mistake). India’s loyalist following was in the Hindu-dominated ‘Novas Conquistas’ only – that too mostly among less-educated outcaste Hindus (e.g. the 1st CM of Goa, Dayanand Bandodkar, was an illegitimate Std III dropout involved in timber smuggling to Maharashtra) and Communists (e.g. Tristao de Braganza-Cunha, who despised the anti-Marxism of the Salazar dictatorship but adored Nehru’s Champagne Socialism). The majority of the more educated and hence more prosperous Catholic-dominated ‘Velhas Conquistas’ didn’t want to be part of a 3rd world country already infamous for red tape, crime, corruption and a cumbersome legal system (Unlike other states, which follow the British Indian model of civil laws framed for individual religions, the Portuguese Uniform Civil Code, based on the Napoleonic code, was followed in Goa).

    “India’s takeover of Goa was as legitimate or illegitimate as the American Revolutionaries’ declaring independence even in areas where loyalists had a large following.”
    Freedom from Portugal =/= Merger with India
    The USA was not a forced merger of the American Colonies with a neighbouring country that sent in an invading army. Also, unlike British India, Goa had its own MP in the Portuguese Parliament for the past couple of centuries so you can’t argue “Taxation Without Representation” either.

    • Replies: @Pierre
  9. Pierre says:

    I’m amazed that anyone could lie about something so easily verifiable. An 85 percent Catholic majority is reduced to a 26 percent minority yet, somehow, we’ve never heard of it from any major Christian organization?

    • Replies: @Duke of Qin
  10. @Pierre

    Its probably because no one cares. Portugal is politically irrelevant as was India for most of the Cold War. The territory seized was neither very large nor the populations displaced. Goas fate was shared by Sikkim but narrowly avoided by Bhutan and Burma. Most the Anglophone West is wretchedly ignorant about India which is particularly strange because the Indian elite communicate primarily in English. Most people do not understand that India is fundamentally an expansionist state and a successful one at that using the weight of demographics to secure newly acquired territories. To the uninitiated, India is the land of Democracy, Ghandianism, and New Age spiritualism so the idea of India as a revisionist power is deeply incongruent with widely shared preconceptions. Few people understand the origins of Indian nationalism as espoused by Nehru and how his vision of India was formulated in contrast to the British vision of India. For Britain, India as a polity was fundamentally their creation, a creature forged out of opportunistic conquest and at heart an imperial holding whose borders were to be determined and negotiated as the situation warranted. For the 20th century Indian nationalists, this vision of India as an artificial state was anaethma so their formulated vision of India in response was the idea of a unified Indian polity projected backwards through time. India was not simply some geographic detail on British maps, it was eternal. Naturally they chose to take the maximalist approach and define Indias now sacrosanct territory as those areas encompassed then by Britains colonial administration in India and beyond. So you end up with issues like Kashmir, Goa, Junaghad, Hyderabad, and Sikkim which all ended up as parts of India by virtue of bayonets inherited from the British. It is also the root cause of Indias border dispute with China because they vew every single inch of that undemarcated border as eternal Indian land and to negotiate would be defacto acknowledging the British role in creating them in the first place undermining their creation myth.

  11. @CC

    Well it seems like a pretty good trade for Goan Catholics, exchange life in Goa for Portugal?

    Also your demographics seem a bit off:

    In 1900 there were 262,648 Goan Catholics in Goa and 200,144 Hindus.[38]

    By 1921 it was estimated that 200,000 out of 670,000 Goans, mostly Christian, resided outside Goa.[39]

    On 1 May 1928 the Diocese of Goa was renamed and was promoted to the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Goa and Daman (Goa e Damão). While this status changed in 1976, in 2006 it became the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Goa and Daman once more.[citation needed]

    By 1960 Goan Catholics accounted for 224,617 (36 percent) of the total population in Goa.[13] During the early 20th century, they started migrating to other parts of India, especially to Bombay[41][42] and Bangalore in the 1920s and 1930s.[43] They also started migrating to Portuguese territories, the United Kingdom, and the United States.[42] Today, Goan Catholics form 30 percent of Goa’s total population.[42] During the 1970s coastal communication increased between Bombay and Goa, after introduction of ships by the London-based trade firm Shepherd. These ships facilitated the entry of Goan Catholics to Bombay.[44]

    According to the 2001 census there were around 359,568 Christians in Goa,[1] and most of them are Roman Catholics following the Latin Rite.[citation needed] Many Goan Catholics live in Mumbai and Bangalore. In the 1960s there were around 100,000 Goan Catholics in Bombay, of which 90,000 were in urban Bombay, and 10,000 in suburban Bombay.[2] Other regions of India which have a small proportion of Goan Catholics are Delhi, Calcutta, Madras, Pune, Ahmednagar, Hyderabad, Nagpur, Nasik, and Ranchi.

    • Replies: @CC
  12. CC says:
    @Zachary Latif

    Nobody likes being pushed out of their home.

    To add insult to injury there’s now a growing population of Indian immigrants (mostly Hindus and Sikhs) in Portugal who are promoting multiculturalism and demanding accommodation for their different way of life (but back in India their relatives love to nag Catholic Goans to be like them in order to be ‘real Indians’).
    “The total Catholic population in Portuguese territory is reckoned at 293,628 out of a total population of 365,291.”

    The Wikipedia article on Goan Catholics talks mainly about the descendants of Hindu converts, not the Portuguese settlers and Luso-Goans (Portuguese men in Goa were encouraged by the government to marry native women and have families in Goa from the 16th century onwards). The conversos under BJP influence seem to be regressing back to the old religion

  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    “To add insult to injury there’s now a growing population of Indian immigrants”

    Give me a break, Portugal is too poor to have anymore than a trickle of immigrants from outside of the EU.

    • Replies: @CC
  14. CC says:

    Nope, if you come to Portugal you’ll see that the rise of tourism has also led to a rise in Indian immigrants looking to make money off it. Check out the Rossio neighbourhood in Lisbon (packed with turbaned men and salwar kameez women), and also Odivelas (Sikh owned businesses with the Khalsa flag displayed at the entrance).

  15. Marcus says:

    There are so many things wrong with this article. Let me address a few.

    Modi is basically all about Modi. He took a particular route to the top (RSS) but the idea that he is an RSS man is quite ridiculous.

    The 2002 riots were started by the Muslims who burnt a railway carriage carrying Hindu pilgrims. Modi had been in power less than 7 months. Try reading up on who the VHP is, what Shah Bano case is and Teesta Setalvads imbroglio over stealing money.

    The McMahon line was accepted by China and no mention was made of this dispute. Nehru stupidly urged China to take over Tibet but disagreed over its timing. After China took over Tibet they have started claiming Tibet should not have ceded Tawang.

    Indian nationalists hate Nehru. They would welcome declassification of the Henderson report. (Now available on the internet). It shows Nehru and the Congress party in a bad light and that is the goal of Indian Nationalists.

    The idea that India is constrained as China might light the fuse in Kashmir is absurd. Both US and Chinese have funded the Pakistan Government which in turn funds the ISI and thus the various militant organizations operating in Kashmir. To date 58,000 have died. The reason India in the past has not raised the Tibet issue is that they are on record as favoring it (see Nehru’s papers) and despite your link to the SMH article are generally incapable/incompetent to carry out effective action.

    India is a weak, poor , corrupt, country riven by communal tensions aggravated by funding of terrorists by China, Saudi Arabia and the US (through funding of the Pakistan Government.) Try reading Hussein Haqqani’s book Magnificent Delusions.

    China if it merely holds to its current position will win long term as it steadily grows stronger, its current 4x differential in per capita income likely to become 8x within twenty years at which point India will simply be unable to keep up defensively with China.

    Modi, electorally has employed a certain demographic strategy. But he is far from Right wing!. It is unlikely he will deregulate the economy, and given his apologies in Kashmir is unlikely to be a favourite of the army, and as the recent Delhi elections show (won three seats to the AAPs 67) the Modi wave might very well be over. His best hope now is to message via the budget.

    On an even longer term most countries will have to adjust to Chinese hegemony as the Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid payments overwhelm the US budget and the appetite for confronting China, never great to begin with will completely fade away.

    • Replies: @Duke of Qin
  16. @Marcus

    “The McMahon line was accepted by China and no mention was made of this dispute. Nehru stupidly urged China to take over Tibet but disagreed over its timing. After China took over Tibet they have started claiming Tibet should not have ceded Tawang.”

    This is factually incorrect. Neither the government of the Republic of China nor the People’s Republic ever recognized the McMahon line. The original negotiation between the British and Tibetans at Simla had a conditional clause that that any border settlement would not be valid without the agreement of the Chinese. Olaf Caroe, continuing the tradition of perfidious Albion, omitted this and subsequently included the McMahon Line as an agreed upon boundary in Aitchison’s Treaties which the British used as a record of diplomatic accords in colonial India. To further the deception, Caroe had the previous version of Aitchison’s Treaties withdrawn and destroyed and replaced with his revision that had a forged publication date of the original. This deception was discovered in 1963 by John Addis when a surviving copy of the original Treaties was discovered at the Harvard Library and later at the India Office Library, and the National Archives in New Delhi.

    Nehru did not in the least bit encourage Mao’s takeover of India. He merely recognized it as a fait accompli and did not realistically see how it could be effectively opposed so accepted it. His correspondence with others clearly demonstrated that he was cognizant of the threat that China now posed being right next to India’s border. Secondly, it is erroneous to assume that Mao actually cared one iota of what Nehru thought. In Mao’s world, he was a poet warlord and Nehru was merely a British lackey and upjumped clerk.

    Also Tawang was never ceded by Tibet to British India. In a miniature replay of Molotov-Ribbentrop, the Indian army opportunistically invaded Tawang in 1951 during the PLA invasion of Tibet at large and kicked out the Tibetan administration.

    Certain segments of Indian nationalists hate Nehru, but it was not because of his ideology. Rather Nehru was one of the progenitors of Indian nationalism and his vision of India is one shared even by his detractors. The problem with Nehru in their eyes was that in addition to being a Nationalist, he was also a Fabian Socialist and his detractors saw him as weak in dealing with India’s enemies.

  17. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Well this is not surprising given India’s other adventures. The difference between this 1962 war and India’s other war is that for the first time the bully was given a bloody nose by the Chinese whereas in other wars India waged on its neighbors, India always won. The Indian government handle this humiliation by playing the victim card to its own people and the world audience at large. Hence the constant ‘Chinese intrusion accusation’ by India. This ‘Big bad Chinese Communist bullying innocent democratic India’ narrative works for the gullible West largely in part because of West bigotry towards Communist China in that Chinese side of the story is always cavalierly dismissed because it is simply not worth considering. However there is one problem for India and it is sticking out like a sore thumb and it is called past records. Here is a list of India’s past records towards its neighbors since its creation in 1947.

    1947 Annexation of Kashmir

    1949 Annexation of Manipur

    1949 Annexation of Tripura

    1951 Annexation of South Tibet:

    1961 Annexation of Goa:

    1962 Annexation of Kalapani, Nepal:

    1962 Aggression against China:

    1971 Annexation of Turtuk, Pakistan:

    1972 Annexation of Tin Bigha, Bangladesh

    1975 Annexation of Sikkim:

    1983 (Aborted) Attempted invasion of Mauritius

    1990 (Failed) Attempted annexation of Bhutan:

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