India’s pipe dream of freeing Tibet | Pakistan Today

India’s pipe dream of freeing Tibet

  • India’s rivalry with China is taking it too far

India was badly mauled in 1962, after it tried adventurism against China by supporting Tibetan dissidents and granting political asylum to the 14th Dalai Lama, who fled Lhasa after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese sovereign rule. Despite the fact that the Indian Prime Minister Nehru had been chanting the slogan Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai (Indians and Chinese are brothers), he was fomenting trouble in Tibet. India initiated an offensive Forward Policy from 1960 to hinder Chinese military patrols and logistics, in which it started sending troops and border patrols into disputed areas and placed outposts along the border, including several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Finally, when Indian incursions into Chinese territory increased, Beijing decided to react and the People’s Liberation Army gave a sound thrashing to India.

Unfortunately, New Delhi never learnt any lessons but has been intruding in various areas controlled by China and has been trying to gain footholds by building roads, airstrips and bridges for the rapid mobilization of its troops. On 5 August 2019, New Delhi took the extreme step of annexing Indian-Occupied Kashmir and Ladakh into Indian Union Territory. To add insult to injury, New Delhi started constructing another illegal road in the Galwan Valley. Once again Chinese troops retaliated and beat back the intruding Indian troops, causing over a score of casualties.

The ill-informed RAW operative endorses the view that India needs to draw up a detailed long-range visionary blueprint towards this ultimate end aim of a Free Tibet, an over-riding strategic imperative for India’s national security. Unfortunately, he remains oblivious to the fact that 21 Indian states are on the brink of breaking off and declaring Independence. In its foolhardy scheme to “free Tibet”, there is a strong likelihood of 22 new states emerging in the South Asian Subcontinent after the breakup of India

With its ego badly bruised, New Delhi is again contemplating mischief. This time it is dreaming of inciting Tibetans to demand freedom. Dr Subhash Kapila, a former Brigadier and Indian analyst, author of China-India Military Confrontation: 21st Century Perspectives has written an article titled ‘Tibet Freedom Needs To Be Pivotal Thrust Of Indian Foreign Policy’. The Op-Ed has appeared in the South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG), a think tank ostensibly operated by the Indian Spy agency RAW.

Kapila recommends outright support of a “Free Tibet” as a vast “Demilitarized Zone of Peace”. He proposes that “Free Tibet” should be an internationally guaranteed Buffer State keeping China and its expansionist impulses far away from Heartland Asia. He also malevolently surmises that “Free Tibet” as a ‘Demilitarized Zone of Peace” would in the process contribute to overall security and stability of the “Indo-Pacific landmass and maritime expanse.” He conjectures that China’s expansionist impulses would stand curtailed and so also would China’s intrusive destabilizing strategies in South Asia. Kapila should be asked what is the connection between Tibet and the Indo-Pacific landmass?

This is a clear case of the pot calling the kettle black. Dr Kapila has the temerity to point towards “China’s expansionist impulses”. If he had only examined India’s bleak history of hegemony. On 27 October 1947, India illegally occupied Kashmir. In September 1948, Indian troops invaded the Princely State of Hyderabad, which had invoked its right to be independent in accordance with the Independence Act of 1947. Junagadh met the same fate after its ruler announced the accession of his state to Pakistan on 15 August 1947. Manavadar did not fare better. On 14 September 1947 the Khan Sahib, Ghulam Moinuddin Khanji, unilaterally acceded the state of Manavadar to Pakistan. On 22 October 1947 Indian forces arrested the ruler and annexed Manavadar. In December 1961, Indian armed forces annexed the former Portuguese Indian territories of Goa, Daman and Diu. On 16 May 1975, the Independent Hindu Kingdom of Sikkim ceased to exist and became a part of India despite protests by its citizens.

In 1971, India conspired to create unrest and separatism in East Pakistan, later invading it and declaring the former Pakistani territory as Bangladesh. In 1984, Indian troops furtively occupied the disputed territory of Siachen Glacier.

New Delhi has been browbeating all its smaller neighbours, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Myanmar. Only Pakistan has refused to be cowed down. Now that China has reacted to Indian illegal action in Ladakh, Dr Kapila is advocating “freedom for Tibet.”

The rationale he provides is at best laughable. He professes: firstly, the growing impatience of Tibet’s young generation with Chinese #of Tibet and with the Dalai Lama’s counselling patience in fighting for Tibet’s independence and settling for self-autonomy. Secondly, were the 14th Dalai Lama, who is a senior citizen now, to die, Beijing would “impose” its political choice of the Dalai Lama as opposed to the centuries-old Tibetan convention of a ‘Spiritual Reincarnation’ of the next Dalai Lama.

Assuming these conjectures to be true, Kapila asks what are the Indian foreign policy establishment and its higher national security organs contingency plans to deal with the turbulence in Tibet that would follow in the wake of the above occurrences.

He strongly advocates India, as the Nation most impacted by Tibet’s turbulence, to mobilize its foreign policy organs to commence sensitizing global public opinion on the continued dangers of China militarily embedding itself and transforming “China-Occupied Tibet” into a vast military garrison expanse in the heart of Asia, bristling with nuclear weapons and missiles endangering contiguous areas of Greater South West Asia, South Asia and South East Asia.

The misinformed pundit recommends that the Indian foreign policy establishment should publicize and mobilize global public opinion against China for its “Religious Genocide and Ethnic Genocide” of the peaceful and spiritually inclined Buddhist millions of China-Occupied Tibet.

The ‘tipping point’, according to Dr. Kabila, was reached in mid-2020 where China’s expansionist mood does not rest with “China-Occupied Tibet” but now transcends into nibbling attempts of Indian Territory in Ladakh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. It also now embraces Bhutan Territory just because Bhutan tilts more towards India. Kapila lives in La La Land; Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have spurned India.

He assumes that China’s expansionist thrusts against India are impelled by twin objectives of China’s Grand Strategy primarily in 2020 as witnessed in recent military clashes in Eastern Ladakh, by military occupation of the Indian territorial wedge in Eastern Ladakh that separates China-Occupied Aksai Chin from Pakistan-ceded to China of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. This Indian Wedge which revolves around India’s hold on the Karakoram Pass and holding the Siachen Glacial Heights prevents the ultimate consummation of the China-Pakistan Axis as one complete military contiguous whole on India’s crowning head.

Continuing his train of machinated thoughts, the “erudite scholar” deduces that the second Chinese objective is to dent India’s global image as an Emerged Power and its salience in global strategic calculus at the expense of China which in 2020 stands severely impacted by China (herein parroting Donald Trump’s malicious accusations) inflicting on the global community the unprecedented “China Wuhan Virus19 Pandemic.” According to him, this accounts for Chinese brinkmanship in other Sectors of Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

If only Dr Kabila had taken stock of Indian economy’s ignoble downfall due to bad governance, its poor handling of the covid-19 pandemic and New Delhi’s draconian laws of citizenship, which have drawn the ire of the entire world including its friends, in Kabul, Riyadh, Washington DC, Moscow, Dhaka and Tel Aviv.

Brazenly, Kapila claims that the onus lies directly on India’s first PM Jawaharlal Nehru. In one stroke of political timidity, Nehru facilitated Communist China’s expansionist borders to shift from thousands of miles away and rest on India’s Himalayan watershed.

The ill-informed RAW operative endorses the view that India needs to draw up a detailed long-range visionary blueprint towards this ultimate end aim of a Free Tibet, an over-riding strategic imperative for India’s national security. Unfortunately, he remains oblivious to the fact that 21 Indian states are on the brink of breaking off and declaring Independence. In its foolhardy scheme to “free Tibet”, there is a strong likelihood of 22 new states emerging in the South Asian Subcontinent after the breakup of India.

Sultan M Hali

The author is a retired Group Captain and author of the book Defence & Diplomacy. Currently he is a columnist, analyst and TV talk show host.



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