General (retd) JFR Jacob,a hero of the 1971 war which led to the birth of Bangladesh, is a keenstudent of military history. In this exclusive article for Sify.com, he cites historical and strategic reasons to argue that China is turning into a potential security threat for India.
Let China sleep, for when she wakes the world will tremble
China has been in the news of late over the Tibetan issue, which also impacts India in a major way.
To put Sino-Indian relations into perspective, it is necessary to look at from a historical as well as a strategic context. Let me begin from the Second Opium War in1860 in which Indian troops took part. Four brigades of British and Indian infantry (Sikh Regiment, Madras Regiment, Bombay Native Infantry and the Ludhiana Rifles) and one cavalry brigade, which included Probyn's Horse, took part in these operations, in which the Summer Palace in Peking was sacked and looted. I recall a Chinese general telling me in 1957: "We, Chinese, will never forget that Indian troops took part in the sacking of the Summer Palace."
In 1904, Indian troops were part of the Younghusband expedition that seized Lhasa. The Tibetans were forced to accept two trading posts, protected by Indian troops, in the Chumbi Valley. These were subsequently withdrawn after China moved into Tibet.
In 1913 / 1914, during the Shimla Conference, talks bogged down as the Chinese refused to accept the creation of an inner and outer Tibet. Ivan Chen ,the Chinese representative, declined to sign the McMahon map, and merely initialled it. From 1920 onwards the British started progressively moving into parts of what is now known as Arunachal Pradesh. In 1937, the first Survey of India map was published, showing the border as per the McMahon line. The previous Survey of India map of 1937 showed the inner line in Arunachal as the boundary. In 1938, the proceedings of the Shimla Convention were published at the insistence of British administrator Olaf Kirkpatrick Kruuse Caroe.
In 1949, the Communist Chinese forces moved into Tibet.