Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's letter to Jawaharlal Nehru on 7 November 1950 not only deploring ndian !

mbassador "# Pani$$ar's a%tion but also warning about dangers &rom 'hina ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( #y dear Jawaharlal) *ver sin%e my return &rom !hmedabad and a&ter the %abinet meeting the same day whi%h had to attend at pra%ti%ally &i&teen minutes' noti%e and &or whi%h regret was not able to read all the papers) have been an+iously thin$ing over the problem o& ,ibet and thought should share with you what is passing through my mind( have %are&ully gone through the %orresponden%e between the *+ternal !&&airs #inistry and our !mbassador in Pe$ing and through him the 'hinese -overnment( have tried to peruse this %orresponden%e as &avourably to our !mbassador and the 'hinese -overnment as possible) but regret to say that neither o& them %omes out well as a result o& this study( ,he 'hinese -overnment has tried to delude us by pro&essions o& pea%e&ul intention( #y own &eeling is that at a %ru%ial period they managed to instill into our !mbassador a &alse sense o& %on&iden%e in their so. %alled desire to settle the ,ibetan problem by pea%e&ul means( ,here %an be no doubt that during the period %overed by this %orresponden%e the 'hinese must have been %on%entrating &or an onslaught on ,ibet( ,he &inal a%tion o& the 'hinese) in my /udgement) is little short o& per&idy( ,he tragedy o& it is that the ,ibetans put &aith in us0 they %hose to be guided by us0 and we have been unable to get them out o& the meshes o& 'hinese diploma%y or 'hinese malevolen%e( 1rom the latest position) it appears that we shall not be able to res%ue the 2alai 3ama( 4ur !mbassador has been at great pains to &ind an e+planation or /usti&i%ation &or 'hinese poli%y and a%tions( !s the *+ternal !&&airs #inistry remar$ed in one o& their telegrams) there was a la%$ o& &irmness and unne%essary apology in one or two representations that he made to the 'hinese -overnment on our behal&( t is impossible to imagine any sensible person believing in the so.%alled threat to 'hina &rom !nglo.!meri%an ma%hinations in ,ibet( ,here&ore) i& the 'hinese put &aith in this) they must have distrusted us so %ompletely as to have ta$en us as tools or stooges o& !nglo.!meri%an diploma%y or strategy( ,his &eeling) i& genuinely entertained by the 'hinese in spite o& your dire%t approa%hes to them) indi%ates that even though we regard ourselves as the &riends o& 'hina) the 'hinese do not regard us as their &riends( 5ith the 'ommunist mentality o& 6whoever is not with them being against them6) this is a signi&i%ant pointer) o& whi%h we have to ta$e due note( 2uring the last several months) outside the 7ussian %amp) we have pra%ti%ally been alone in %hampioning the %ause o& 'hinese entry into 8N and in se%uring &rom the !meri%ans assuran%es on the 9uestion o& 1ormosa( 5e have done everything we %ould to assuage 'hinese &eelings) to allay its apprehensions and to de&end its legitimate %laims in our dis%ussions and %orresponden%e with !meri%a and :ritain and in the 8N( nspite o& this) 'hina is not %onvin%ed about our disinterestedness0 it %ontinues to regard us with suspi%ion and the whole psy%hology is one) at least outwardly) o& s%epti%ism perhaps mi+ed with a little hostility( doubt i& we %an go any &urther than we have done already to %onvin%e 'hina o& our good intentions) &riendliness and goodwill( n Pe$ing we have an !mbassador who is eminently suitable &or putting a%ross the &riendly point o& view( *ven he seems to have &ailed to %onvert the 'hinese( ,heir last telegram to us is an a%t o& gross dis%ourtesy not only in the summary way it disposes o& our protest against the entry o& 'hinese &or%es into ,ibet but also in the wild insinuation that our attitude is determined by &oreign in&luen%es( t loo$s as though it is not a &riend spea$ing in that language but a potential enemy(

western threat to se%urity is still as prominent as be&ore) a new threat has developed &rom the north and north.he 'hinese were divided( .east) there&ore) be%omes both %ommunist and imperialist( 5hile our western and north.he unde&ined state o& the &rontier and the e+isten%e on our side o& a population with its a&&inities to the .ibetans or 'hinese have all the elements o& the potential trouble between 'hina and ourselves( 7e%ent and bitter history also tells us that 'ommunism is no shield against imperialism and that the %ommunists are as good or as bad imperialists as any other( 'hinese ambitions in this respe%t not only %over the .ibetan autonomy as e+tending to independent treaty relationship( Presumably) all that we re9uired was 'hinese %ounter.hroughout history we have seldom been worried about our north.east) we have on our side o& the &rontier a population ethnologi%ally and %ulturally not di&&erent &rom .east( .ibet on whi%h we have been &un%tioning and a%ting during the last hal& a %entury( 'hina is no longer divided( t is united and strong( !ll along the .he .here) too) our outposts do not seem to be &ully manned( .ibetans would be a handi%ap( Nepal has a wea$ oligar%hi% regime based almost entirely on &or%e> it is in %on&li%t with a turbulent element o& the population as well as with enlightened ideas o& the modern age( n these %ir%umstan%es) to ma$e people alive to the new danger or to ma$e them de&ensively strong is a very di&&i%ult tas$ indeed and that di&&i%ulty .he 'hinese interpretation o& su=erainty seems to be di&&erent( 5e %an) there&ore) sa&ely assume that very soon they will disown all the stipulations whi%h .imalayan slopes on our side but also in%lude the important part o& !ssam( .he %onta%t o& these areas with us is by no means %lose and intimate( .ibet whi%h was not endorsed by the 'hinese( 5e seem to have regarded .hus) &or the &irst time) a&ter %enturies) ndia's de&en%e has to %on%entrate itsel& on two &ronts simultaneously( 4ur de&en%e measures have so &ar been based on the %al%ulations o& superiority over Pa$istan( n our %al%ulations we shall now have to re%$on with %ommunist 'hina in the north and in the north.east &rontier( .he danger &rom the north and north.he people inhabiting these portions have no established loyalty or devotion to ndia( *ven 2ar/eeling and "alimpong areas are not &ree &rom pro.hey have their ambitions in :urma also( :urma has the added di&&i%ulty that it has no #%#ahon 3ine round whi%h to build up even the semblan%e o& an agreement( 'hinese irredentism and %ommunist imperialism are di&&erent &rom the e+pansionism or imperialism o& the western powers( .he &ormer has a %loa$ o& ideology whi%h ma$es it ten times more dangerous( n the guise o& ideologi%al e+pansion lie %on%ealed ra%ial) national or histori%al %laims( .ibet whi%h gave us no trouble( .hat throws into the melting pot all &rontier and %ommer%ial settlements with .#ongoloid pre/udi%es( 2uring the last three years) we have not been able to ma$e any appre%iable approa%hes to the Nagas and other hill tribes in !ssam( *uropean missionaries and other visitors had been in tou%h with them) but their in&luen%e was in no way &riendly to ndia or ndians( n Si$$im) there was politi%al &erment some time ago( t is 9uite possible that dis%ontent is smouldering there( :hutan is %omparatively 9uiet) but its a&&inity with .east) a %ommunist 'hina whi%h has de&inite ambitions and aims and whi%h does not) in any way) seem &riendly disposed towards us( 3et us also %onsider the politi%al %onditions on this potentially troublesome &rontier( 4ur northern and north.imalayas in the north and north.signature( .ibet) as we $new it) and the e+pansion o& 'hina almost up to our gates( .here is almost an unlimited s%ope &or in&iltration( Poli%e prote%tion is limited to a very small number o& passes( .n the ba%$ground o& this) we have to %onsider what new situation now &a%es us as a result o& the disappearan%e o& .imalayas have been regarded as an impenetrable barrier against any threat &rom the north( 5e had a &riendly .hey had their own domesti% problems and never bothered us about &rontiers( n 191<) we entered into a %onvention with .eastern approa%hes %onsist o& Nepal) :hutan) Si$$im) 2ar/eeling and the tribal areas in !ssam( 1rom the point o& view o& %ommuni%ation) there are wea$ spots( 'ontinuous de&ensive lines do not e+ist( .ibetans and #ongoloids( .ibet has entered into with us in the past( .

hey had to %ontend with the di&&i%ult :urmese and Pa$istan &rontiers on the east or with the long seaboard( .east( e? .west and north and north.%an be got over only by enlightened &irmness) strength and a %lear line o& poli%y( am sure the 'hinese and their sour%e o& inspiration) Soviet 8nion) would not miss any opportunity o& e+ploiting these wea$ spots) partly in support o& their ideology and partly in support o& their ambitions( n my /udgement the situation is one whi%h we %annot a&&ord either to be %ompla%ent or to be va%illating( 5e must have a %lear idea o& what we wish to a%hieve and also o& the methods by whi%h we should a%hieve it( !ny &altering or la%$ o& de%isiveness in &ormulating our ob/e%tives or in pursuing our poli%ies to attain those ob/e%tives is bound to wea$en us and in%rease the threats whi%h are so evident( Side by side with these e+ternal dangers) we shall now have to &a%e serious internal problems as well( have already as$ed engar to send to the *+ternal !&&airs #inistry a %opy o& the ntelligen%e :ureau's appre%iation o& these matters( .eastern &rontiers) where) &or supplies o& arms and ammunition) they %an sa&ely depend on %ommunist arsenals in 'hina( .hey shall now have a %omparatively easy means o& a%%ess to 'hinese %ommunists and through them to other &oreign %ommunists( n&iltration o& spies) &i&th %olumnists and %ommunists would now be easier( nstead o& having to deal with isolated %ommunist po%$ets in .he whole situation thus raises a number o& problems on whi%h we must %ome to an early de%ision so that we %an) as said earlier) &ormulate the ob/e%tives o& our poli%y and de%ide the method by whi%h those ob/e%tives are to be attained( t is also %lear that the a%tion will have to be &airly %omprehensive) involving not only our de&en%e strategy and state o& preparations but also problem o& internal se%urity to deal with whi%h we have not a moment to lose( 5e shall also have to deal with administrative and politi%al problems in the wea$ spots along the &rontier to whi%h have already re&erred( t is o& %ourse) impossible to be e+haustive in setting out all these problems( am) however) giving below some o& the problems whi%h) in my opinion) re9uire early solution and round whi%h we have to build our administrative or military poli%ies and measures to implement them( a? ! military and intelligen%e appre%iation o& the 'hinese threat to the &rontier and to internal se%urity( ndia both on b? !n e+amination o& military position and su%h redisposition o& our &or%es as might be ne%essary) parti%ularly with the idea o& guarding important routes or areas whi%h are li$ely to be the sub/e%t o& dispute( %? !n appraisement o& the strength o& our &or%es and) i& ne%essary) re%onsideration o& our retren%hment plans &or the !rmy in the light o& the new threat( d? ! long.elengana and 5arrangal we may have to deal with %ommunist threats to our se%urity along our northern and north.he 9uestion o& 'hina's entry into the 8N( n view o& the rebu&& whi%h 'hina has given us and the method whi%h it has &ollowed in dealing with .ibet) am doubt&ul whether we %an advo%ate its %laim any longer( .here would probably be a threat in the 8N virtually to outlaw 'hina) in view o& its a%tive parti%ipation in the "orean war( 5e must determine our attitude on this 9uestion also( .term %onsideration o& our de&en%e needs( #y own &eeling is that) unless we assure our supplies o& arms) ammunition and armour) we would be ma$ing our de&en%e perpetually wea$ and we would not be able to stand up to the double threat o& di&&i%ulties both &rom the west and north.itherto) the 'ommunist Party o& ndia has &ound some di&&i%ulty in %onta%ting %ommunists abroad) or in getting supplies o& arms) literature) et%() &rom them( .

&? .he &uture o& our mission at 3hasa and the trade posts at -yangtse and @atung and the &or%es whi%h we have in operation in .his) however) would be o& a general nature) though some might be basi%ally very important) e(g() we might have to %onsider whether we should not enter into %loser asso%iation with :urma in order to strengthen the latter in its dealings with 'hina( do not rule out the possibility that) be&ore applying pressure on us) 'hina might apply pressure on :urma( 5ith :urma) the &rontier is entirely unde&ined and the 'hinese territorial %laims are more substantial( n its present position) :urma might o&&er an easier problem to 'hina) and there&ore) might %laim its &irst attention( suggest that we meet early to have a general dis%ussion on these problems and de%ide on su%h steps as we might thin$ to be immediately ne%essary and dire%t) 9ui%$ e+amination o& other problems with a view to ta$ing early measures to deal with them( Vallabhbhai Patel) 7th November 1950 .his would in%lude the whole o& the border) ie( Nepal) :hutan) Si$$im) 2ar/eeling and the tribal territory in !ssam( g? #easures o& internal se%urity in the border areas as well as the states &lan$ing those areas su%h as 8ttar Pradesh) :ihar) :engal and !ssam( h? mprovement o& our %ommuni%ation) road) rail) air and wireless) in these areas and with the &rontier outposts( i? .hese are some o& the 9uestions whi%h o%%ur to my mind( t is possible that a %onsideration o& these matters may lead us into wider 9uestion o& our relationship with 'hina) 7ussia) !meri%a) :ritain and :urma( .ibet to guard the trade routes( /? .eastern &rontier( .he politi%al and administrative steps whi%h we should ta$e to strengthen our northern and north.he poli%y in regard to the #%#ahon 3ine( .

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