In an interview for the Wire, Avtar Singh Bhasin, an expert on India-China relations and a published author, criticised the Modi government’s policy of dealing with the India-China border issue. Talking to the interviewer, Karan Thapar, he criticised the current government, saying that its China policies were irrational, but later added, Nehru’s policies were worse, calling the Nehruvian policy of India-China relations irresponsible.
Avtar Singh Bhasin had come for an interview to promote one of his books “Nehru, Tibet and China”, which was released during the pandemic, but could not garner much attention due to the lockdowns.
The author said in the interview, that Nehru had his own version of what the India-China border should be like, but he apparently missed checking with his Chinese counterparts to see if they agreed with his thinking.
Bhasin said that if we are ever going to come to any solution regarding the India-China border issue, then we should accept that the stand we took as a country for so long was wrong. He said that Nehru’s policy towards China was based not on facts but on his own imagination as to how India-China relations should have been. His policy was asserted unilaterally without taking the stock of the situation.
According to him, Mr. Henry McMahon drew the line without any prior survey, nor did he do any due diligence to understand the culture, geography and language of the area. He added, McMahon was not a qualified cartographer or surveyor, nor did he had any experience in such a domain. He drew the line between India and erstwhile Tibet without any solid foundation. The author further states that the McMahon boundary was not sacrosanct to the British.
The Republic of China was not a party to the McMahon Line Agreement, but the line was part of the overall border of Tibet as defined in the Simla Convention, which was initialed by all three parties and subsequently rejected by the Chinese government.
We recommend reading “Nehru, Tibet and China” to have a deeper understanding of India-China relations and Nehru’s flawed China policy. Link to the interview.