Is this how you conduct a war? Why are you complaining like an old lady and not doing anything? And again, the same thing repeats – international arbitration and messing up as in the case of Kashmir. Does he never learn? And that is besides the fact that he accepts the Chinese position on 1st December and condescendingly decides to inform the same to the lesser mortals in the Parliament. Does he think India is his ancestral property?
About a month ago, on the 8th November, I placed a resolution before the House on the proclamation o ‘ emergency resulting from the aggression and invasion by China. This was followed by another resolution dealing with this aggression and invasion. This resolution was passed on 14th November not only unanimously but in an unusual manner by all Members standing and pledging themselves to what it contained. By that pledge we stand.
Two or three days later, the Chinese forces mounted a massive attack on our position at the Sela pass and at Walong. This resulted on the 18th November in our forces having to withdraw front Sela and Walong and. somewhat later, from Bomdila.
On the 21st November, the Chinese Government issued a statement making a unilateral announcement of cease-fire as from the midnight of the 2lst-22nd November and a withdrawal of their forces from the 1st December. On the 23rd, we asked for some clarification and received a reply on the 26th November. On the 30th we sought further clarifications.
On the 22nd November, the Government of Ceylon announced that they had called a conference of six non-aligned countries in Colombo. The date for this was subsequently changed and it is due to begin or rather has begun in Colombo today.
On the 28th November, a letter was received from Premier Chou En-lai urging the Prime Minister of India to give a positive response, that is, to accept the Chinese offer of cease-fire and withdrawal with all the other provisions contained in it. I replied to this on the 1st December.
These letters have been given in full, together with some maps, in the pamphlet issued by the External Affairs Ministry entitled Chinese Aggression in War and Peace.
The cease-fire took effect as stated, though there were a number of breaches of it on the Chinese side in the first few days. It is not yet quite clear how far the withdrawals of the Chinese forces have been effected. To some extent, withdrawal has been made, but considerable Chinese forces are apparently still in some forward positions.
On the 5th December, the Chinese Red Cross handed over 64 wounded and sick prisoners of war to the Indian Red Cross Society in Bomdila. They have stated that they will hand over more such wounded prisoners within the next few days.
Soon after the Chinese attack on the 20th October, a three-point proposal was made by the Chinese suggesting a cease-fire and a withdrawal of their forces provided India agreed to the proposal. On the 27th October, we stated that we were unable to accept the proposal and that our proposal of the restoration of the status quo prior to 8th September was a simple and straightforward one. This was the only way of undoing at least part of the great damage done by the latest Chinese aggression.
The Chinese proposal made on the 21st November for cease-fire and withdrawal was a repetition of their proposal of the 24th October, with the addition of a unilateral declaration of cease-fire and withdrawal.
I wrote to Premier Chou En-lai on the 1st December indicating that the three-point proposal made by the Chinese violated the principles which the Chinese had themselves been advocating in their documents and correspondence. We could not compromise with aggression nor could we permit the aggressor to retain the position which he had acquired by force by the aggression since the 8th September, 1962, as this would mean not only letting him have what he wanted but exposing our country to further inroads and demands in the future. No direct answer to this letter has been received from Premier Chou Kn-lai. But the Peking Radio has broadcast yesterday a long statement rejecting our proposal about the restoration of the status quo prior to the Both September. There was a further broadcast later yesterday which stated that our Charge d’Affaires in Peking had been given a-Note asking the Government of India three questions. These questions are:
“1. Does the Indian Government agree or does it not agree to a cease-fire?”
“2. Does the Indian Government agree or docs it not agree that the Armed Forces of the two sides should disengage and withdraw 20 kilometers each from the 7th November, 1959, line of actual control?”, and
“3. Does the Indian Government agree or does it not agree that the officials of the two sides should meet and discuss matters relating to the withdrawal of the Armed Forces of each party to form a demilitarized zone, establishment of check-posts as well as the return of captured personnel?’’
Before I answer these questions, I should like to remind the House of the past history of these incursions and aggressions. Before the 8th September, 1962, there was no active aggression on the NEFA frontier by the Chinese except in regard to the small frontier village of Longju. Not only was there no further aggression but in the past repeated assurances were given by the Chinese that the McMahon Line would not be crossed and that, although they considered this line an illegal one and imposed by the then British authorities, they would acknowledge it, as indeed they acknowledged the continuation of the line in Burma.
Thus the aggression across this line near the Thag La pass on the 8th September, 1962, not only was at variance with these assurances, but constituted a major crossing of the frontier for the first time in history. This was a clear case of imperialist aggression and expansion. The Chinese forces continued to cross the frontier in large numbers, and on the 20th October, they delivered massive attacks on the Indian positions and overpowered them by superior numbers. A well-organized and well-prepared invasion on a big scale had been mounted by China. On the same day, a similar invasion look place in the western sector in Ladakh.
Since our independence, we have tried to develop the area of NEFA and built schools, roads, hospitals, etc. there suddenly the Chinese break through our frontier and deliver massive attacks. Is this the way of peaceful negotiation and settlement by peaceful methods? I repeat that this well- prepared invasion is at variance with the Chinese profession and can only he described as blatantly imperialist expansionism and aggression. We stated that we could not proceed with any talks with them until at least this latest aggression was vacated and the status quo prior to the 8th September, 1962 was restored both in NEFA and in Ladakh. That is the position we have Consistently held during the last few months.
Anxious for peace, we suggested this minimum condition which might lead to a peaceful approach. They have rejected our proposal. The result is that at present there is no meeting ground between us. We have repeatedly laid stress on considering this matter by peaceful methods, but it is not possible to do so when aggression continues and we are asked to accept it as a fact.
As for the three questions which have been asked on behalf, of the Chinese Government, the first one is, whether we agree or do not agree to a cease-fire. The declaration by the Government of China was a unilateral one. But in so far as the cease-fire was concerned, we accepted it and nothing has been done on our behalf to impede the implementation of the cease-five declaration.
The second question is, whether we agree or do not agree that the armed forces of the two sides should disengage and withdraw 20 kilometers each from the 7th November, 1959, line of actual control. We are in favour of the disengagement of the forces of the two sides on the basis of a commonly agreed arrangement. But such an arrangement can only he on the basis of undoing the further aggression committed by the Government of China on Indian territory since the 8th September. 1962. If the Government of China disputes that this was Indian Territory, that is a matter for juridical or like decision. The fact is that it had long been in Indian occupation and this cannot be disputed. The Government of India have given their understanding of the so-called line of actual control of the 7th November, 1959. They do not agree with the Chinese interpretation which is not in accordance with actual facts. It should be easy to determine the facts even from the correspondence between the two Governments during the last five years. The Government of China cannot expect us to agree to the so-called line of actual control of the 7th November, 1959, which is manifestly not in accordance with the facts. What we had suggested is a simple and straight forward proposal of restoration of the status quo prior to the 8th September, 1962, when further aggression began. This is clearly factual and is based on the definite principle that the aggression must be undone before an agreement for i peaceful consideration can be arrived at.
The third question is, whether the Indian government agrees or does not agree that the officials of the two sides should meet and discuss matters relating to the withdrawal of the Armed Forces of each party to form a demilitarized zone, etc. It is obvious that if the officials are to meet they must have clear and precise instructions as to the cease-fire and withdrawal arrangements which they are supposed to implement. Unless they receive these instructions, which must be the result of an agreement between the governments of India and China, they will be unable to function. Therefore, it has to be determined previously which line is to be implemented. Between the line of actual control immediately prior to the 8th September, 1962, and that on the 7th November, 1959, as defined by China, there is a difference of about 2,500 sq. miles of Indian Territory which China occupied as a result of invasion and massive attacks during the last three months. The Chinese government by defining the line in its own way wants to retain the advantages secured by the latest invasion,
Any person who studies the painful history of the last few years, more particular of the recent months, will come to the conclusion that Chinese interpretation of various lines changes with circumstances and that they accept the line, which is more advantageous to them. Sometimes they accept part of a line and not the rest of it which is disadvantageous to them. The major facts are quite clear and, apart from any claims that the Chinese man have, it is on these facts that any temporary arrangement can be made and not on the changing lines which the Chinese put forward as the lines of actual control.
There has been an amazing cynicism and duplicity on the Chinese side. They come to a place where they have never been at any time in history. And they preach against imperialism and act themselves in the old imperialist and expansionist way. Altogether their policy seems to be one of unabashed chauvinism. It is curious that acting in self-defense they have occupied another 20,000 square miles of Indian Territory. The whole thing is manifestly and outrageously improper and wrong, and involves utter misuse of words. It is a little difficult to deal with persons who indulge in double talk. I regret to say that I have been forced to the conclusion that the word of the Chinese Government cannot be relied upon.
The imperialist and expansionist challenge of China is not only a challenge to us but to the world, as it is a flagrant violation of international law and practice. If this aggression is tolerated and acquiesced in today, it will continue to be a threat, not only to India but also to other countries in Asia and will be a bad precedent for the world. What China has done is an insult to the conscience of the world. We still hope that our peaceful and reasonable approaches will be agreed to. Once the preliminary conditions which we have suggested are met, we can consider further the peaceful methods which should be used for solving the basic disputes. I am prepared, when the time comes, provided there is approval of Parliament even, to refer the basic dispute of the claims on the frontier to a body like the International Court of Justice at The Hague. But that also can come only when the aggression is vacated and the position as it was before the 8th September is restored.
The Colombo Conference which is meeting today is considering what recommendations—honourable to both sides— they might make in order to resolve the differences between Indie and China. We recognize their friendly feelings and their well-meant attempts to solve or at any rate to lessen this crisis I trust, however, that they will appreciate that there can be no compromise with aggression and an expanding imperialism and that the gains of aggression must be given up before both the parties try to resolve their disputes.