Whichever way one looks at it, May 2020 appears to be a prelude to a 21st century Chinese invasion of India. To my weary eyes, the situation seems akin to what Nehru and his ‘courtier soldiers’ faced and experienced, prior to October 20, 1962, while Mao Zedong planned and executed the first Chinese invasion of India. Are we at the cusp of a repeat of that history? Maybe, maybe not. But the very fact that we are in such an awful situation calls for a revisit of the entire sordid experience of Sino-Indian bilateral ties during the mid-20th century.


To do so, I would only like the reader to remember what the wise had to say at the time. Yes indeed, they were wise. But their wisdom was brushed away by the ‘arrogance of the ignorant’ ruling class of India. By the likes of the then Defence Minister who had the temerity to put down a Three-Star General in front of the Army Chief. In a high-powered meeting, the General (one of the Principal Staff Officers) had just uttered ‘Sir I think…’, when he was interrupted by the Minister: ‘General, you think…?’.  Post-1962, the General stayed but the Minister did not. The rest is history.


Today, therefore, it is time for every concerned, sensitive and sensible Indian to go through each and every word of what Brigadier John P. Dalvi had to say in his monumental book Himalayan Blunder. A book which was ‘born in a Prisoner of War Camp in Tibet on a cold black night’. Dalvi was a soldier’s soldier, a true front commander.  I hope the present generation takes him seriously and chooses not to ignore this brave, valiant man who truly led from the front.


Upon hearing of his impending release (and that of the other Indian prisoners of war), something that was happening earlier than anticipated, the curious Dalvi had asked one of his Chinese captors as to what had led to the sudden development. The typical Communist propaganda-parrot of the Prince Mao Zedong blurted:

‘India and China have been friends for thousands of years and have never fought before’[Just observe the Chinese psy-warfare tactic and art of deception after battering India]. And that, ‘China does not want war’[after fighting a war, of course]. It is the reactionary Indian Government that was bent on war. So, the Chinese counter-attacked in self-defence [note the word: defence. Implication? China can never resort to offence] and liberated all our territories in NEFA [now known as Arunachal] and Ladakh, in just one month. We have proved that you are no match for mighty China’ [Exactly, that’s precisely the point].

*This writer’s emphasis is within []


So, China has to constantly prove its ‘superiority and the ‘inferiority’ of everyone else in the vicinity. Acceptance of China’s superiority, by each and every foreigner, whether prince or trader, diplomat or scholar, is the goal of all Chinese rulers. Since time immemorial. One has to kowtow or kneel down before the throne of the Chinese ruler and hit the forehead hard on the floor. And the Indians, owing to their collective lack of knowledge of Chinese history, geography, language, culture, tradition, polity, psyche, military and geography are clueless. Hence no need to learn. Ignorance is eternal bliss.


Ironically, what Dalvi had written 51 years ago, on March 01, 1969, from 61 St Patrick’s Town, Sholapur Road, (then) Poona-1, referring to the propaganda he received from his Chinese captors at the time of release mentioned above, continues to rankle afresh:

This kindergarten homily was, and remains, the most humiliating moment of my 7-month captivity and indeed of my life. That night…I took a solemn vow that I will tell the truth about how we let ourselves reach such a sorry pass…. India has a near unbroken record of military failures through the ages…

This last bit was reversed to an extent in 1965 by PM Lal Bahadur Shastri and General Jayanta Roychoudhuri team and the most decisive and crushing victory in December 1971 by the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and (then) General SHFJ Manekshaw duo.  Dalvi continued:

Our peasantry has always fought gallantly; but it is an indisputable fact that seldom has this bravery been utilised to win battle-field victories and thus to attain our political objectives, owing to inept political or military leadership, or both. Need we follow this tragic path interminably?


1962 to 2020. Almost 58 years have gone by. Hindustan still hallucinates as harmless, helpful Hans cross the Himalayas. How bizarre can things get? Our civil officials have discovered two beautiful words: ‘Convergence’ and ‘Divergence’. China and India have both divergence and convergence; but it is the convergence which far outweighs the divergence in officialese of today.  In other words, ‘let’s do business, commerce and trade’ (even if that means hopeless one-way traffic, detrimental to India’s economic, financial, technological interests) because that’s ‘convergence’, after all. A win-win for both, apparently. And do not utter a word about the Indian territories forcibly, and illegally captured by the Chinese. Let those ‘in the know (of all)’ go to television and mollycoddle the Hans and state with great elan:

Oh, you know? The border is a matter of perception and both transgress because we know it’s un-demarcated


Indeed, un-demarcated. That means the ‘line of actual control’ or LAC has no meaning. Something which our, or their, soldiers were keeping to each other, goes for a toss? Hence, ‘might is right’ is the mantra to be followed by the Communist Party of China’s ‘dictator and sovereign of the universe’ in order to prevail over all! And India? What of it? You make money from India, through bi-lateral trade which in 2018 alone resulted in a $54 billion surplus for the Hans? You violate J&K’s boundaries since 1954-55 by usurping Aksai Chin? You attack in 1962? You penetrate through J&K for your CPEC? You destabilize the whole of India north-eastern tribal belt through money and sabotage and the liberation movement?


Today, this author is convinced that the Han Chinese are going berserk, in a manner of speaking, given the tenor of the Communist Party of China. Like Hitler’s Germany, Jinping’s China seems to be losing its politico-diplomatic equilibrium. With the China-origin Wuhan-virus resulting in a total massacre of their economics and finance for the last few months, the Chinese Communists simply cannot ‘take it anymore’. This sort of thing does happen to the aspiring 1st boy of a class. Once the numero uno position seems within reach, you cannot tolerate being suddenly demoted to  the 3rd or 4th or 5th position. China had striven hard for more than three decades to hide its diabolical mission of domination. China-virus has unmasked the China Viceroy. The emperor has no clothes to fall back upon.


Emperor is too powerful to retreat. Too strong to accept no for an answer. On too high a pedestal. Why? Because, Xi Jinping is the General Secretary of the Communist Party of China; Commander-in-Chief of the People’s Liberation Army; President of People’s Republic of China; Chairman of the Central Military Commission; Chairman of the National Security Commission of the Communist Party of China; Chairman of the Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission; Chairman of the Central Financial & Economic Affairs Commission; Chairman of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission; Chairman of the Central Commission of Internal Affairs and Director of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission to boot.


So, there we are. And, therefore, all must learn, if they haven’t already, that the external affairs of the Communist Party of China are but an extension of their domestic policy.  For Zhongnanhai, the Han Chinese ruler is the son of heaven and everybody in this world falls under that heaven. It is high time Hindustan did a proper study on Chinese psyche and the way to deal with it. Ignorance and fear born out of ignorance will lead India nowhere. China can never be trusted. It’s as simple as that.


The way out at this point in time, therefore, is to eschew everything Chinese made and substitute Chinese imports on the double.  Also, it’s time to expose some fifth columnists amongst Indians who are masquerading as good Samaritans, merely interested in being honest brokers. Brokers? And honest? Indeed! Time India avoids as far as possible getting into the Chinese trap of so-called economic ‘convergence’. Indians like dropping Swami Vivekananda’s name without quoting his golden words (much less following them). Let me therefore quote Vivekananda:

Be strong my young friends, that is my advice to you. You will be nearer to heaven through football than through the study of the Gita. Men are wanted. Sincere to the backbone, are wanted…….They say, ‘Have faith in this fellow or that fellow’, but I say, ‘Have faith in yourself first’, that’s the way………….Stand up and fight! Not one step back, that is the idea……You have cried to all the gods in the world. Has misery ceased? The gods come to help when you have succeeded. Arise! Awake! Stand up and fight!

[I am sure Vivekananda was not referring to the ‘Chinese heaven’ in the quote above.]


The May 2020 incursions of the Chinese PLA from Ladakh to Sikkim are a grim reminder for India to face the Chinese invader and make the following clear:

“This far and no further. Mind your ways. You kill our men. Be prepared to pay the price. Apart from a military response, India is also capable of inflicting financial and economic damage upon the Chinese. That’s where it will hurt you the most. We will not allow the Communist Party of China to access the Indian market of 1.35 billion heads. There are 222 more countries to look forward to for trade.”


The world is now fed up with Chinese duplicity and it is time to remember Sardar Patel’s November 7, 1950 missive to Prime Minister Nehru:

There can be no doubt that during the period covered by this correspondence the Chinese must have been concentrating for an onslaught on Tibet. The final action of the Chinese, in my judgement, is little short of perfidy. The tragedy of it is that the Tibetans put faith in us; they chose to be guided by us; and we have been unable to get them out of the meshes of Chinese diplomacy or Chinese malevolence. 

Patel was divinely prophetic, wouldn’t you say?



Abhijit Bhattacharyya is a former member of the Indian Revenue Service and an alumnus of the National Defence College (1987). He continues to practice as an advocate at the High Court & the Supreme Court of India. Author of China in India published in October 2018, he has written some 820 articles on more than 15 different subjects. He is a Life member of the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, the Aeronautical Society of India and the United Services Institute, respectively. He is  also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. 

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