On her northern border, India has two unfriendly powerful countries – China and Pakistan. She has a long frontier running over several thousand miles in common with China. So long as Tibet served as a buffer state between India and China, the possibility of border skirmishes, or a sudden attack from North, was negligible. But India recognized the suzerainty of China over Tibet. The result was that in 1967, China marched into Tibet, occupied it, and gradually turned it into a Province of China. India could not intervene as it was legally an internal matter of China. Any intervention would have been against the principle of co-existence accepted by India and China earlier.
Not content with swallowing of Tibet, China threw all agreements to the wind and began to claim 4000 square miles of Indian Territory as her own. India’s desire for peace was mistaken as a sign of weakness. Encouraged by India’s conciliatory attitude, China moved in and occupied large parts of Indian Territory. Longue in the North West and some parts of N.E.F.A. were the important border areas occupied by her. Chinese act of aggression raised a hue and cry throughout the country. Leaving aside the communist, who considered the aggression merely? As a border dispute, all other parties were unanimous in condemning the aggression and pledged their solid support to the government in any action it might take to meet the Chinese menace.
The government, too, were quite alive to the seriousness of the danger. Our late prime minister, Mr., Nehru, repeatedly emphasized their determination to fight the aggressors and not to yield even a single inch of Indian Territory. But he also pointed out the difficulties in the way of the defense of our northern border. For one thing, the climatic conditions are extremely unfavorable. For the greater part of the year it is all frozen and uninhabitable. It will entail great hardships on our soldiers, if the army is moved in and has to stay there for a long period.
Moreover, it is a difficult, mountainous terrain and roads must be built for any effective defense. At the time there were no roads and India did not have the necessary equipment for the purpose. The Chinese have a huge man power. Being a dictatorship, it could march more swiftly than can be possible for a democratic country like India.
Another hostile neighbor of India is Pakistan. She has been seeking military aid from a number of countries. She regards India as her enemy. History tells us that China in her days has always been expansionist. Recently, they have come closer to Pakistan. The two have evil designs on our country. Pakistan has been getting sophisticated weapons from the U.S.A. the Chinese, specially, are war-like and ambitious and there is no knowing when it may come into their heads to march once again into India. India must prepare herself for any eventuality.
The government has already done much. The entire northern border has been placed under military command. Roads are being constructed at a rapid speed. Large quantities of equipment have already been purchased from U.S.A. radars now cover the entire northern border. Our experts visited different countries to purchase the necessary material. Russia established in India factory for the manufacture of mig-aeroplanes.
A program of heavy recruitment is also on. About 21 mountain divisions have already been raised to guard our borders. Many more divisions are being raised. Above all, through constant propaganda and publicity, the people have been made conscious of the real nature and seriousness of the problem. Laws have already been passed to check spying and other anti-national activities in the border areas. The policy of the government has been a faced one. On the one hand, they have been willing to carry on negotiations with the Chinese to settle the matter amicably and, on the other, they are also preparing with all seriousness for the defense of the border. It has a wise policy and every Indian must wish it a perfect success.
There has been some improvement in our relations with china. Diplomatic relations have been established with china once again. Late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, visited China, and talks were held on bilateral issues in a very cordial atmosphere. The officials of the two countries are making efforts to find out solutions to the border issue which has embittered the relations between the two countries. Prime minister of China has already visited India, and as a result the two have come even closer. Former Prime Minister Narasimaha Rao also visited China. Friendship between the two countries was strengthened. A number of agreements were signed, and co-operation in a number of fields was assured. The border problem is a thorny one. An agreement was also signed for its settlement.
Our relations with Pakistan are also strained. That country has been making arm purchases on a large scale. It also has its own atom bomb. It has got F-16 aircraft from the U.S.A. and so its military power has increased considerably. All this preparation is aimed at India. It is hoped that friendly relations between the two countries would be established. Our late Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi, visited Pakistani counter-part was invited to visit India at an early date. But all such hopes have been belied. Pakistan has been giving help to terrorists in Kashmir and Punjab. Arms on a massive scale have been supplied to them. A large number of training camps for terrorists have been set up. Secretary level talks are going between the two countries for settlement of issues but Kashmir issue is the main hurdle in the way of peaceful settlement of issues. Let us hope good sense will prevail upon Pakistani leaders and they will sooner or later agree to settle the issues in accordance with Shimala agreement. India must not neglect the defense of the northern border under any circumstances. She must continue to be vigilant. The problem has become serious since both china and Pakistan have got the nuclear capability. With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, India has lost its most powerful friend and supporter. India has to be very vigilant.