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Posted at: Dec 7, 2017, 2:10 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2017, 10:46 AM (IST)

Nehru’s forward policy not to blame for ’62 war: Book

Claims Beijing was preparing for it since 1959

Ajay Banerjee

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 6

Fifty-five years after the Sino-India war of 1962, a new book claims the much-maligned “forward policy” of Jawaharlal Nehru was not to blame for the conflict. Rather, the Chinese had been planning it since 1959, it says.

The book, ‘China’s India War — Collision Course on the Roof of the World’, authored by Bertil Lintner, was launched here today.

Lintner said Neville Maxwell, author of ‘India’s China War’ (published in 1971), and several other analysts had put the war onus on the forward policy, adopted by India in November 1961.

“Maxwell may have misjudged and most people do make that mistake,” Lintner told an audience, ironically at the Nehru Memorial Library. He said the decision to go to war with India was taken in 1959 — the year Dalai Lama arrived in India. The Chinese captured Tawang and the areas where their army entered in Arunachal were Tibetan-speaking. China had intense knowledge of the terrain, probably through a network of spies. He cited the attack at Sela Pass (south of Tawang) where the Chinese attacked from behind.

“India had emerged as leading conscience keeper for Asia and Africa, which China disliked,” he said. The author claimed China had never been in the Indian Ocean Region for the past 600 years, and that it was venturing there for the first time. “I don’t think there will be a war in China… Instead, a conflict, not necessarily an armed one, may happen in the oceans,” he said. Army ex-Chief Gen JJ Singh said China appeared quite prepared as its army possessed language interpreters, who couldn’t have been arranged at a short notice.

Lt Gen SL Narsimhan (retd), member of National Security Advisory Board, said the book’s crux was the war was not aimed at resolving the boundary dispute.

Nitin A Gokhale, author of ‘Beyond NJ 9842: The Siachen Saga’ said, “The book debunks the theory of Neville Maxwell and Alistair Lamb. Both have had an unduly vast influence of the post-Independence thinking. It was a Chinese ploy to bring down Nehru from the pedestal he was on.”

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