Articles Archive / November 28, 2016

The Pioneer

  • China’s ‘good monk’ versus ‘bad monk’ – December 31, 2015
    Beijing is busy manipulating even the religious sentiments of its citizens. Earlier it practised atheism, but realising the people’s deep faith in Buddhism, it has begun promoting its official religious leaders. Modern China has several facets. Unfortunately, the most disturbing, the totalitarian one, has come to the fore during the past year.
  • Nomads: An endangered species? – October 11, 2015
    Himalaya Bound, Author : Michael Benanav
    Publisher : Harper Collins, Rs399. This book traces the trials of Van Gujjars, a forest dwelling tribe of vegetarian Muslims, writes CLAUDE ARPI. The book of Michael Benanav, Himalaya Bound: An American’s Journey with Nomads in North India, touches a chord.
  • Using soft power to hardsell spirituality – May 21, 2015
    Prime Minister Modi has been promoting a new term, ‘spiritual neighbourhood’. He used it during his trips to Sri Lanka and more recently to Mongolia to link up with Buddhism. It makes for good diplomacy.
    Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invented a new concept in diplomacy, ‘spiritual neighbourhood’.
  • The Tibetan blues – January 25, 2015
    Meltdown in Tibet. Author : Michael Buckley
    Publisher : PanMacmillan,Rs595. This well-documented work delves deep into issues which are bound to get hotter with time, writes Claude Arpi.
    André Malraux, the famous French Philosopher and General de Gaulle’s Culture Minister once said, ‘The 21st century will be spiritual or will not be’.
  • Common man snubs the commentariat – May 22, 2014
    Every possible insult has been used by experts, both Indian and foreign, to demonise Narendra Modi. The country’s electorate has resoundingly ignored them all and put the talking heads in their place.
  • Myth that must be busted at earliest – April 10, 2014
    Neville Maxwell, who recently ‘released’ the Henderson-Brooks-Bhagat Report on the 1962 conflict, claims that Nehru forced the war on Mao. This is a dangerously inaccurate interpretation of history and must be debunked.
  • Align for a good cause – December 15, 2013
    Non-Alignment was a senseless policy adopted by Jawaharlal Nehru, It has harmed the nation immensely, writes Claude Arpi.
    To many, ‘Non-Alignment’ was a senseless policy adopted by Jawaharlal Nehru soon after Independence. During the Cold War years, the country pretended not to side with any of the two blocks, though for practical purpose India was ‘aligned’
  • Big Brother in Beijing keeps an eye on Tibet – October 24, 2013
    Highly-intrusive mass surveillance programmes by China have stoked popular resentment in the Tibet Autonomous Region, leading to many clashes between locals and police. The situation is on the boil.
    Recently The New York Times carried an article, “Who’s Afraid of Chinese Money?”
  • A year that was China’s – January 1, 2010
    2009 will be remembered as the year during which China asserted, often arrogantly, its newly-found economic and military strength. It has not only sailed through the global financial crisis, but has also become the most powerful player in Asia and the second on the planet. However, surprises await in the coming year.
  • Sun shines in Tawang – November 25, 2009
    The Dalai Lama’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh was a huge success, showcasing his popularity and his message of peace. India did well to ignore China’s protests by re-asserting its sovereignty over this State. Let Beijing grumble, we need not be bothered about Chinese indignation.
  • Towards Chaosistan – November 3, 2009
    The situation in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate with each passing day. The US is not sure what role it should play. Nato members aren’t sure whether their troops should dig in or be brought back home. Meanwhile, opium holds sway in vast tracts of that unfortunate country.
  • A republic sans people – October 15, 2009
    Amid much fanfare that marked the 60th anniversary celebrations of the People’s Republic of China the main absentees were the ‘people’, who were told to stay inside their homes. Even today ordinary people in China have no say in the system of governance and succession.
  • Flawed response to incursions – September 9, 2009
    Incursions by the Chinese Army into Indian territory are making headlines in the media again. This is good. Not because the Chinese persist with trespassing into Indian territory, but because media coverage brings to light such disturbing happenings. Instinctively, not to say genetically, India’s political leadership prefers to hide the truth, to not “hurt our Chinese neighbours’ feelings” or “makes things worse”…
  • A non-offer by China – September 2, 2009
    India had a full-fledged mission in Lhasa till 1952. That’s now a footnote of the history of Tibet’s suppression and India’s failure to hold its ground. Strangely, India has been told that it can open a consulate in the Tibetan capital. It makes little sense. Or does it?
  • Civilisational fault line – July 27, 2009
    Increased awareness level has not necessarily made us more sensitive to issues that are crucial for our nation’s survival. We are more interested in watching silly game shows and cricket on TV than in preparing for the future when India will face a set of new challenges and threats…
  • Conspiracy of a state – July 15, 2009
    The investigations into the 2002 Karachi attack on French engineers now point towards a state affair. Apparently a handiwork of the Pakistani Army, the motive of the attack appears to be non-payment of commissions by France in connection with the sale of Agosta submarines to Pakistan.
  • 50 years later, Tibet simmers – March 11, 2009
    That was in 1959. Fifty years later, the Tibetans still deeply resent the occupation of their country. The two-month unrest in March/April 2008 was the latest proof of just how little they have come to terms with the Chinese presence in Tibet. In early-February this year, a news items on Radio Lhasa spoke of “50 years of democratic reforms in Tibet during which the PLA and armed forces stationed there treated Tibet as their native land and the local people as their parents, while in return the Tibetans treated the PLA and armed forces as their near and dear ones”. Notwithstanding such claimed bonhomie, martial law, however informal, had to be clamped on Lhasa to ‘protect the stability of the motherland’.
    In China, there is often a vast gap between ‘official’ statements and the reality.
  • Ignoring a True Friend – February 2, 2009
    March 2009 will mark 50 years in exile for the Dalai Lama and his followers. During this half-a-century, the Tibetan leader has supported India and stood by the country in the face of international criticism. Is it not time for India to officially recognise the Dalai Lama’s contribution to peace and tolerance and honour him with the Bharat Ratna?
  • Our deadly ‘dark visitors’ – December 11, 2008
    Have you heard of the ‘Dark Visitors’? No, these are not Pakistani fidayeen landing on the shores of Mumbai, though they may become the most serious threat to India’s national security in the years to come.
  • Beijing stalls Tibet talks – November 10, 2008
    The Dalai Lama has almost given up hope on securing a breakthrough with China on Tibet’s future status. This may delight the Chinese but their celebrations are bound to be short-lived. By failing to reach an accord, China has prepared the ground for strife.
  • US, China bhai-bhai – November 3, 2008
    These are only few of the issues affecting US-China relations which have gone a long way since the Nixon Administration days. Today Beijing can dictate the terms of engagement, but for how long? The US-China couple is so close that if one catches a chill, the other sneezes. What will happen if Wall Street’s alarming collapse can’t be contained in time? Beijing will certainly be in deep trouble.
  • Not limited to America – September 29, 2008
    Whether one is in favour of or against the India-US nuclear deal, it remains a saga of paradoxes and ironies. The first paradox: Why is it called the ‘US deal’? From the start, it has been a global deal. And the first irony: By the end of the month, a similar ‘deal’ will be operational between France and India and a few weeks later between Russia and India (and this without any other conditionalities than those imposed by theIAEA and the NSG), while the ‘US deal’ will still be waiting for the approval of the Congress.
  • Separatism is unacceptable – August 27, 2008
    In the past fortnight, several senior commentators have decided it is time to accept the separatists’ demand for self-determination in the Kashmir Valley. One commentator has written, “As a liberal, I dislike ruling people against their will… Let Kashmiris decide the outcome, not the politicians and Armies of India and Pakistan… The parallels between British rule in India and Indian rule in Kashmir have become too close for my comfort.”
  • Cussed China, hopeful Tibet – July 26, 2008
    The Tibetans are back to square one.
    After the recent encounter between the Dalai Lama’s envoys and Chinese officials, Mr Dong Yunhu, the new director-general of the Information Office of the State Council, declared, “The Central Government will never discuss the future of Tibet with the Dalai Lama. What we can discuss with him is his future and that of some of his supporters.”
  • Why the Dalai Lama matters – June 15, 2008
    The Dalai Lama considers the Tibetan cause as his third objective in life; the first two being the fate of humanity as a whole and inter-religious harmony. For many Tibetans who are longing for an independent Tibet, it is difficult to accept that Tibet is only the third priority of their leader.
    Prof Robert Thurman of Columbia University, in his book, Why the Dalai Lama Matters, argues that while the Chinese leaders are “disgracing themselves by pouring vitriol on possibly the most admired person on the planet”, they will soon understand that “the Dalai Lama himself is the solution. The Dalai Lama has a benefit for everyone involved. He is the win-win bodhisattva”.
    Like Iyer and Thurman, many others believe that the Dalai Lama alone can prevent China from going the Soviet way.
  • Democracy Thwarted – June 4, 2008
    The External Affairs Minister of the largest democracy in the world will arrive in Beijing on June 4 for a four-day visit to China on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre in which several thousand Chinese students were smashed by the tanks of the People’s Liberation Army. Of course, Mr Pranab Mukherjee’s visit has nothing to do with the ‘celebrations’. However, the mandarins of South Block could have pointed out to their Chinese counterparts that India is attached to democratic principles and a more auspicious date could have been found. They may have thought, “Why bother about Tiananmen when there is so much on Mr Mukherjee’s plate?”
  • A Malthusian nightmare – May 21, 2008
    The slide-show was a frightful dialogue between a father and a son, staged in year 2070. The planet was cracked and dry; human beings had no water, leave alone to bathe; they had no food other than tablets. The oldest human being on earth was 50, though he looked 90. The father was explaining to his son how the planet was when he was in his teens, with forests, lakes, glaciers… and a lot of food to eat. I stopped watching; it was unbearable…
  • Flying the Flag of Tibet – April 30, 2008
    More than 20 years ago, I had asked the Dalai Lama how Tibet would regain its independence (or autonomy). He had answered, “It does not depend on us Tibetans. Change will come from within China.” He was clearly not expecting the United States or India to offer him on a platter the most cherished dream of his people. Since then he has repeatedly said that the people of China will bring about changes in their own country which will give a chance to the people of Tibet to fulfil their aspirations…
  • He Foresaw the Future – April 20, 2008
    It is difficult to resist starting the review of Sri Aurobindo: A Contemporary Reader, edited by Prof Sachidananda Mohanty, from the epilogue, which reveals the contemporary vision of Sri Aurobindo. Mohanty tells us that in 1963, Sudhir Ghose, an emissary of Jawaharlal Nehru, showed US President JF Kennedy the ‘last letter’ written by Sri Aurobindo on November 11, 1950, less than a month before his death. It was about China’s invasion of Tibet in October that year…
  • China barks, world obeys – April 2, 2008
    It’s not just India which has preferred to go soft on Tibet. Western countries have adopted a similar policy. The slavish attitude of most Governments has emboldened a brutal China to indulge in what the Dalai Lama calls ’cultural genocide’ in Tibet…
  • US loves tyrants – February 6, 2008
    The US Administration is untiring in preaching democracy and human rights to others. But it warmly embraces dictators who loathe democracy and trample on human rights. We are seeing this in Pakistan. We saw it in Indonesia during Suharto’s brutal excesses.
  • Challenge for France – January 22, 2008
    For India, French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit will be an opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations and forge a meaningful strategic partnership. Of course, provided Sarkozy is interested and means business…
  • Don’t forget Tibet – January 14, 2008
    Despite improvements in Sino-Indian relations, Manmohan Singh, who is on an official visit to Beijing, his first as Prime Minister, should not ignore the denial of human rights in Tibet. It’s as much in the interest of Tibetans as that of Indians…
  • China nibbling at Arunachal – December 4, 2007
    Several decades ago, historian RC Majumdar wrote about “the aggressive imperialism that characterised the politics of China throughout the course of her history… if a region once acknowledged her nominal suzerainty even for a short period, she should regard it as a part of her empire for ever and would automatically revive her claim over it even after a thousand years.”
  • Hindi-Chini bhai-behen – November 9, 2007
    In her address to the School of Public Policy and Management of Tsinghua University, organised by the CPC, Ms Gandhi spoke of pragmatism and mutual self-interest as a sound basis for future relations. She praised China which has “shown the world how much could be achieved with pragmatism, clarity of vision and determination of effort”. Will this visit mark the beginning of a new honeymoon? Only the future will tell us…
  • Sleeping on the job – October 16, 2007
    To come back to Burma, does South Block realise that the people of Burma have a memory. Some day they will regain their freedom. No totalitarian regime, whether it is Hitler’s, Stalin’s or Pol Pot’s, has lasted forever. When the Burmese tyrants fall, the people will remember which side India was.
    I wish a balance could be struck between lofty principles dear to India’s tradition and earthly economic interests. In the meantime, Aung San Suu Kyi and her countrymen need India’s firm commitment on the ground of human values.
  • India must speak up – September 29, 2007
    The massive pro-democracy demonstrations led by Buddhist monks and nuns in Burma, which have unleashed a vicious crackdown by the military junta, remind us of the demonstrations in Lhasa in 1987, when hundreds of monks took to the streets to beg for more freedom…
  • Do we know who are our foes? – September 14, 2007
    Books about strategic studies published in India are often boring. It was, therefore, refreshing to read Rising India, Friends and Foes: Essays in Honour of Prof ML Sondhi. Edited by Prakash Nanda, a former National Fellow of the Indian Council of Historical Research, the essays are different from the usual stuff on foreign policy. Not only do they delve deeper into all aspects of the Asian situation, but also provide answers to some worrisome recent developments.
  • Americans to blame too – August 29, 2007
    The state of Pakistan, born out of a false ‘theory’, was perhaps doomed, but the entire blame should not be placed on the successive Pakistani leadership alone. Their American sponsors are responsible for the sorry state of affairs in the region, including the current messy situation in Afghanistan.
  • Compromising India – August 3, 2007
    One of these books brings out the glamorous side of the most tragic event of the 20th century: The division of the sub-continent. In her memoirs entitled India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens During the Transfer of Power, Pamela Mountbatten, the daughter of India’s last Viceroy, writes about her mother Edwina’s “deep emotional love” for India’s first Prime Minister.
  • India’s history held captive – July 18, 2007
    India will celebrate the 60th anniversary of its Independence next month. It will be an occasion to rejoice because India has done tremendously well in recent years. After New Delhi was forced to drop Moscow’s model of planned economy, India started finding its true place in the comity of nations. But, unfortunately, there are still areas in which the nation has not moved an inch from the Bolshevik-style of thinking. One of these areas is the state’s obsession with secrecy over archival documents.
  • Tawang not China’s – June 12, 2007
    Tawang, the stunningly beautiful district of Arunachal Pradesh, has been in the news in recent times. Last November, the Chinese Ambassador in Delhi created a stir when, on the eve of President Hu Jintao’s visit to India, he declared that Arunachal Pradesh belonged to China. In March, a Chinese professor advocated “the return of Tawang to China” and in May, local elected representatives of Arunachal Pradesh alleged that some Chinese had intruded in Tawang area. More recently, an IAS officer from the State was not granted a visa to visit China since as “a Chinese national” he did not need a visa to visit “his country”.
  • France turns Right – May 11, 2007
    Mr Nicolas Sarkozy has won, defeating his Left-wing rival, Ms Ségolène Royal, in an election that marks a turning point in French politics. For once, the pre-poll surveys for the French presidential election have proved to be absolutely correct. After the first round, they had all predicted the victory of the conservative candidate with the correct percentage…
  • Split down the middle – May 3, 2007
    By coincidence, I landed in France on the day of the Round I results of the French presidential election, which saw a record voter participation. A whopping 84 per cent of the registered voters cast their votes in favour of one of the 12 candidates, hoping to qualify for the May 6 final. One could hardly imagine from India that the election of an executive President could raise so much passion…
  • France looks at itself – April 23, 2007
    The French presidential election is yet to become big news in Indian media. To be fair, elections in an European country far removed from New Delhi would find it tough to compete with Wedding No 1, the Nandigram massacre or even the Uttar Pradesh election…
  • Integrating South Asia – April 18, 2007 (The Pioneer)
    Trade can more than double if appropriate regional agreements on roads, rail, air and shipping are put in place enabling seamless movement,” said Mr Praful Patel, the World Bank’s vice-president for South Asia before the 14th SAARC summit. He compared trade in South Asia to a low-hanging fruit which can be picked easily. If barriers were reduced, there would be a potential for $20 billion trade by 2010 (the same as between India and China today)…
  • Braving the Heights – February 28, 2007
    While India’s political leaders are busy negotiating a ‘deal’ to demilitarise Siachen, its people are showing utmost respect to one of the bravest soldiers who rescued the glacier from Pakistani hands…
  • The Difficult Triangle – February 5, 2007
    The Chinese way is to do something rather mild at first; then to wait a bit, and if it passes without objection, to say or do something stronger. But if we take objection to the first statement or action, they urge that it has been a misunderstanding, and cease, for a time at any rate, from troubling us further…
  • Kill democracy, have self-rule – December 20, 2006
    Nowadays, the most fashionable word in Jammu & Kashmir is ‘self-rule’. Not only does the self-appointed President of Pakistan now swear by the slogan, but so do leaders of all tendencies, except of course those who are presently running the Government and remain in favour of rule-for-self.
  • Friendship with caution – November 6, 2006
    It is worth remembering how President Hu earned enough ’merit’ to make it to the top in the Middle Kingdom. It was in 1989, just three months before the Tiananmen Square events. President Hu was then posted as the party chief in Tibet. On March 5, the People’s Armed Police was given the right to kill. That day China’s paramilitary force marched into the centre of Lhasa and began a massacre that continued for days.
  • The root cause is the Theory – October 4, 2006
    Will the General be enlightened enough to bury the two-nation theory, end terrorism and work towards the future advancement of the region? For the moment, this seems a doubtful proposition…
  • Bad news from Tibet – September 22, 2006
    It is official now: The newly built Tibet Railway will soon be extended to the Nepal border. The chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region announced it during the visit of Nepali Deputy Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli to Lhasa…
  • Shades of Gujral doctrine – August 3, 2006
    After Mumbai bombings, the MEA spokesman suddenly remembered that the list of 20 had been given to the Pakistani dictator. The spokesman could only say that India was disappointed at the General’s continued denial of the presence of terror groups in his country and his failure to take action against jihadi outfits.
  • The opening of old passes – July 5, 2006
    The mandarins of South Block scored a good goal. Or is it the babus of the Foreign Ministry in Beijing who put a self-goal? On July 6, when the Dalai Lama celebrates his 71st birthday, the Gate of Tibet will be reopened after 44 years…
  • Map of human intelligence – June 25, 2006
    A controversy has erupted in India about Google Earth. The Chief of Army Staff, General JJ Singh, had complained that Google Earth’s pictures gave high-resolution layouts of New Delhi’s international airport, including the Palam Air Force base; it could be a fairly good advantage to anyone plotting an air attack.
  • Who cares for Myanmar – April 29, 2006
    When President APJ Abdul Kalam left for a four-day trip to Yangon in March, Delhi did not hide that
    the main purpose of the presidential visit was to sign a deal allowing India to search for new ways to tap Myanmar’s natural gas reserves. The idea was to ‘balance’ China’s influence…
  • Collateral gains of Indo-US accord – March 23, 2006
    Without being omniscient, I personally find it difficult to know for sure if the deal is good or bad for India. Probably after a few years, once in the nitty-gritty of the implementation, we will know if India “sold itself” or won a great victory…
  • Two Suns in the Asian Sky – February 23, 2006
    Compared to China, India is shining in the domain of human values. Beijing may loudly proclaim that its objective is “peaceful rise of China”, but it is doubtful that it will manage to gain the respect it hopes for.
  • Renew French Connection – February 7, 2006
    Mr Singh, in a Nehruvian vein, declared: “Ultimately, the Prime Minister has to get involved in foreign policy. So it’s no extra work for me.” He added that the foreign portfolio was not a burden. He nevertheless hinted that after the Budget session, a full-time minister might be appointed…
  • Brothers or Competitors – January 17, 2006
    It is customary to start the year with good wishes and hope that the New Year will be more harmonious than the previous one. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh followed this tradition when he wrote to his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao…
  • Risky Business of politics – December 13, 2005
    I have been barred by doctors since several weeks to follow Indian politics too closely. In October, I suffered a severe myocardial infraction. After three days in a private clinic, I was shifted to the Institute of Cardio-Vascular Diseases in Chennai, where an emergency quadruple bypass surgery was performed.
  • The need of the hour – October 12, 2005
    Looking at the subcontinent today, it seems obvious that India and its neighbours have not progressed an inch since 1947. Is there still hope that the South Asian nations would collaborate, at least in some domain, and strive to build a brighter future for their people?
  • It is all about sponsorship – September 28, 2005
    Although the ways in which the KGB (and the CIA) influenced the so-called ’non-aligned’ nations such as India was known to everybody, the contents of the book seem to have surprised certain quarters…
  • Paris a new Affair unfolds – September 16, 2005
    Mr Chirac found the time to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the latter’s stop-over in Paris. A joint statement followed. The gesture points towards the maturity and the depth of Indo-French relations. India and France could have been “natural partners” long ago…
  • Would JFK have nuked China – August 31, 2005
    I admire the United States for one reason: Official documents are scrupulously made available to the public, whether after the 30-year classification period is over or when a reasonable demand is made to the Administration under the Right to Information Act…
  • Losing a natural ally – August 24, 2005
    There was also something I remember till today: The feeling that we were not in a foreign country. Nothing in the flat landscape, the food or the atmosphere showed that we had left India. Indeed, Nepal and India have never been foreign to each other…
  • Bourgeoisie and Samurai – August 4, 2005
    A few weeks after Mr LK Advani’s much-debated remarks on the secularism of MA Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, the history of India was once again revisited, this time by the Indian Prime Minister…
  • The new Base against Terror – July 20, 2005
    After the euphoria generated by the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus journey and the general thaw in the Indo-Pakistan relationship, the public as well as the government tended to believe that terrorism was a thing of the past…
  • Let his forehead glow – July 6, 2005
    Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, is 70 years old today.What a remarkable life! At the age of four, he was enthroned as the incarnation of his predecessor, the Great Thirteenth who ruled Tibet between 1895 and 1933. The Land of Snows had for centuries managed to remain untouched by the changes and revolutions happening elsewhere in the world…
  • Closed Window to the east – June 19, 2005
    Today, Indian Communists constantly harangue the media on the need to reintroduce democracy in Nepal. This is fine, though in the case of Nepal, the opponents to democracy are the Maoists who do not hesitate to kidnap thousands of children to recruit them for their killing fields!
  • Where Wild Roses Bloom – June 4, 2005
    Once upon a time, a small Yarkandi village stood guarding the entrance of a mighty glacier of the Karakoram range. It was a meeting place for Balti traders to barter their goods with Central Asian merchants. One day the Yarkandis decided to visit their southern neighbours; they descended from the glacier, but before returning north, they could not resist taking away a beautiful Balti girl.
  • Why Yahya wasn’t squeeze – May 19, 2005
    Was it a mere coincidence that the day India was mourning the passing away Gen JS Aurora, the hero of the 1971 Bangladesh War, the US State Department released Volume XI of the Foreign Relations of the United States consecrated to the “South Crisis, 1971”?
  • Out of the box diplomacy – May 7, 2005
    Today the term ’out-of-the-box diplomacy’ is fashionable. China, the proponent of ’a peaceful rise’ has masterfully demonstrated this new tactic. …Obviously, one cannot expect the MEA to immediately jump so far ’out-of-the-box’and ask for apologies from Beijing for the 1962 war…
  • Where’s the spirit of Bandung – April 28, 2005
    On April 18, 1955, the Bandung Conference opened with fanfare. This was the beginning of a new era: The non-aligned movement was born and communist China made its first step into world affairs. Fifty years later, many things have changed…
  • Bus journey into the past – April 10, 2005
    Thus PN Dhar, Indira Gandhi’s Secretary, recounted the “secret agreement” at the end of the 1972 Simla Conference. Though this accord was never formalised, it was probably on the Indian Foreign Minister’s mind when, on February 16, he agreed with his Pakistani counterpart to allow bus journeys across the LoC.
  • The Peacful Rise of China – March 31, 2005
    The Chinese are fond of new slogans. Mao had his “Let a hundred flowers bloom, let a hundred thoughts flourish”, Deng had his “Four Modernisations” and Jiang Zemin “the Three Represents”. Hu Jintao and his Fourth Generation colleagues coined a new slogan: “The Peaceful Rise of China.”
  • The Cleanest Officer – March 17, 2005
    Whether India is really shining or not is a matter of perspective as the NDA discovered after the last Lok Sabha elections. Personally, but every morning I get distressed and saddened when I read the newspapers. It seems to me that the situation worsens with each passing year…
  • Nepal The Chinese Squeeze – March 4, 2005
    The Indian foreign policy will be pragmatic, says Mr Shyam Saran, the new Foreign Secretary. “India is for democracy in South Asia.” So are the Western powers. France declared “we have decided with our European partners to recall for consultation the EU Ambassadors accredited in Kathmandu”.
  • South Block’s inconsistencies – February 18, 2005
    I read again some of the old letters from Nehru to King Tribhuvan in the 1950s. Surprisingly, he does not address the King as “Your Majesty” as would be proper in an official communication to another Head of State, but by “my dear friend”. His “dear friend” was probably not too happy to be addressed with so much familiarity…
  • Watching the East Wind – January 20, 2005
    After Zhou’s departure, Dr Zhisui Li, Mao’s private physician,commented: “What worried me most was the power struggle to follow.” In Beijing, memories of the Cultural Revolution purges were still fresh in the people’s psyche. Anger mounted…
  • Principles or Interests – January 15, 2005
    The need to find a successor to JN Dixit, coming soon after the recent controversy about India’s nuclearisation, will undoubtedly raise a fresh debate in the Capital’s political and bureaucratic circles. The initial difficulty to name a new NSA is symptomatic of the Government’s quandary…
  • Matter of interesting detail – January 3, 2005
    Whenever Indian dignitaries visit Beijing, they are told by their Chinese hosts that the relations between India and China are 2,000 years old and that during 99.9 per cent of this period the contact has been cordial and friendly. They invariably add: Why so much importance should be attached to the 0.1 per cent?
  • When France left India – November 11, 2004
    An external factor played a prime role in the events of the months of June and July 1954, ultimately tilting the balance in favour of withdrawal of the French administration from its Indian Establishments: It was the Geneva Conference on the future of Indochina which followed the French defeat in Dien Bien Phu…
  • Gilgit the Forgotten Land – October 28, 2004
    Have you ever tried to publish a map of India omitting the regions North and West of the Line of Control in Kashmir? Just try and see what happens! Without mentioning so-called “Azad Kashmir”, the Northern Areas located North of Kargil and Leh districts of Ladakh are rightly considered as an integral part of the Indian territory…
  • Encirclement of India – September 15, 2004
    In early 1950, a few weeks after India decided to be the “first nation” outside the communist world to recognise Red China, a young Mumbai journalist running a magazine called Mother India prophesised the invasion of Tibet.
  • Unnatural lakes – August 21, 2004
    Today, it is surprising, to say the least, that last month’s friends cannot even help each other in times of distress. The facts: An artificial lake at Pareechu in Tibet was created, according to the Chinese authorities, by seasonal landslides. Experts agree that if it bursts, there would be devastating effects in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh…
  • Terrorisme beyond spectacle – August 14, 2004
    Today, more than a century after the massacre of Wounded Knee, has the mindset of the White Man in
    Washington changed? In their dealing with other continents, one often gets the impression that for the American officials, the history of mankind began with their arrival in the New World…
  • The Domino Effect – July 21, 2004
    Perhaps the only echo which my generation may remember from that year is “That’s Alright Mama”, the first song recorded by Elvis Presley in July 1954 in Memphis. On the political scene, too, events occurred which would have repercussions for decades. One such event is the Conference which assembled at the end of April in Geneva and ended successfully on July 21, 1954.
  • Lake Consequense – July 15, 2004
    China can be “engaged” and should be “engaged”, but India should do it as China’s equal partner, and not by running after Beijing or begging China’s authoritarian regime for favours. When China fixes its own date to celebrate the Panchsheel Agreement, and sets aside the content of the Agreement and India meekly accepts, it can not be called “engagement”. It is simply kowtowing…
  • Born in Sin – June 29, 2004
    Recently, I wrote an op-ed article pointing out the poor geographical knowledge of the Indian media. Unfortunately, this ignorance is not limited to geography and the media; it often extends to history and Government officials…
  • Grasshopper and the Ant – June 17, 2004
    Indians excel in sciences. Is not information technology one of the factors behind giving a terrific shine to India’s image abroad? Unfortunately, the same probably cannot be said about Indians’ mastery of geography and history, at least as far as the media is concerned…
  • Seek the Truth from the Facts – June 8, 2004
    Was it a mere coincidence? The day the new Government assumed power in Delhi, Beijing issued a White Paper, “Regional Ethnic Autonomy in Tibet”. This is not the first time that Beijing has tried to convince its detractors of the good the Chinese regime has brought to the Tibetans.
  • Nehru’s or India’s Papers – May 3, 2004
    I have experienced myself the difficulty to access these historical documents. It is very simple: If you do not have connections to the Nehru family, you will never be able to study Nehru’s Papers. For years I have personally tried to consult documents on Tibet and Kashmir but was never allowed.
  • The Axis that bemuses India – April 27, 2004
    Mr Colin Powell, came visiting. In Delhi, the Secretary of State said that he was going to increase pressure on Pakistan to stop its support to cross-border terrorism. Delhi was more than just delighted. The Indian officials could afford to relax. Then…
  • Rediscovering the lost track – March 27, 2004
    Some of the “natural” roads leading to Central Asia (through Afghanistan) were severed by the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Then, two months later, the grabbing by Pakistan of the eastern parts the State of Jammu and Kashmir followed.
  • Secularim or Laiciti – March 9, 2004
    It is not the French Government which banned “ostentatious” religious signs in public schools, but the French Parliament. Personally, I can only trust the collective wisdom of the elected representatives of the French people who voted in the law with such overwhelming majority.
  • Himalayan Task – February 6, 2004
    During preliminary talks with Beijing between 1951 and 1954, Indian diplomats avoided bringing up the border question. Their contention was that if the Chinese did not consider the border to be an agreed upon issue, they would themselves bring it for discussion. The Indian “cleverness” backfired, ending in a disaster…
  • Ladakh revisited – November 12, 2003
    The Rev. Kushok Bakula Rinpoche, head Lama of Ladakh passed away in Delhi at the age of 86. The gentle and humble monk possibly represents all the Indian qualities that the Hurriyats will never embody.
  • Impolitic politics – August 16,2003
    The Union Cabinet has decided to grant dual citizenship to Indians living in eight countries including the United States and the United Kingdom, but France, despite being on a preliminary list, was later ostracised, while nations like Finland have been selected.
  • The Five Principles – July 12, 2003
    “Born in Sin”: These were the words used by Acharya Kripalani to describe the famous Panchsheel Agreement when it was presented to the Indian Parliament in May 1954. Although the preamble was couched in highly idealistic terms such as “mutual non -aggression” or “peaceful co-existence”, in actual fact the Agreement was the death warrant of a peaceful and independent nation: Tibet.
  • The Man who brings light – May 13, 2003
    I recently came across someone who should be a role model for the Indians, a national hero. Unfortunately, very few Indians even know his name. Dr G Venkataswamy, known to his friends and colleagues as “Dr V”, was born in 1918 in a small village in Tamil Nadu.
  • Big, Small and Nasty Insects – May 5, 2003
    In 1910 the Chinese entered Tibet. The 13th Dalai Lama had seek asylum in India. On his way to the border, he sent a telegram to “all the Ministers of Europe” informing them about “large insects eating and secretly injuring small insects.” Nearly a century later, one is surprised by the accuracy of the description of the forces at play.
  • Old pragmatism in new China – April 25, 2003
    On landing in China, George Fernandes is said to have received a “red carpet” welcome. Most analysts agree that it augurs well for the Sino-Indian relations. However, one question arises immediately: What does a grand reception in China really mean?
  • The Old Nations
    French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr de Villepin said: “It is an old nation like mine, France, an old continent like mine, Europe, who speaks to you today, a nation who has known wars, occupation, barbarism. A nation who does not forget and who still has always stood in front of History and Men…
  • China and the river network – February 13, 2003
    This leads us to a more important issue: Water. Where does Asia’s waters come from? Due to its geographic location and geological formation, Tibet is the main watershed for Asia. Some of the world’s greatest rivers, such as Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Yellow River, Salween, Sutlej and Indus, originate in Tibet.
  • India of new old Dreams – January 9, 2003
    The first days of the New Year are a time for reflection. During the last few days, I have been “musing” over the past 28 years that I spent in this country. Though I am still a French man, I adopted this country as my own long ago…
  • Exit Kashmir, Enter Iraq – December 17, 2002
    In the 1940s, two new factors appeared on the strategic scene: Aviation and the need for petrol. London took note of the new changes. In a report on the strategic consequences of the subcontinent’s independence, the British generals concluded that Pakistan was the more important than India for 2 reasons…
  • 40 Years after the fall of Taghla – October 26, 2002
    40 years ago the Cold War reached its climax. The confrontation was then between the US and the Soviet Union in Cuba over the installation of ballistic missiles targeting American cities. During the same week the fate of humanity was hanging fire, Chinese troops entered India in the North-East as well as Ladakh…
  • One more irony – October 2, 2003
    What is amazing is the fact that Maxell, an India baiter, has managed to get hold of the Henderson Brooks report on the 1962 debacle to write his own version of history. Who, in India today, has seen the report? They can be counted on the fingers tips…
  • Lhasa a Chinese Town – August 29, 2002
    While watching my Chinese rickshaw driver pedaling, I was in deep thought. There are now tens of thousands of such Chinese men doing petty work in Lhasa. For many years, the Chinese in Tibet were only PLA personnel and bureaucrats posted by Beijing…





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Recent Articles in The New Indian Express My recent articles published in The New Indian Express are available on my blog. ...