India's Minister of External Affairs, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will visit Peking early next week. He?
India's Minister of External Affairs, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will visit Peking early next week. He is expected there about October the 30th. The visit is aimed at restoring friendship between the two biggest countries in Asia, which have been at odds with each other for most of the past twenty years.
SYNOPSIS: Six weeks ago, Mr. Vajpayee went to Moscow. In an effort to allay Soviet suspicions, he told his hosts, including Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, that India's moves to establish more friendly tie with China would not be at the expense of its existing good relations with the Soviet Union.
It is eighteen years since the late chinese Prime Minister, Chou En-lai, visited Pandit Nehru in New Delhi. Since then, there has been no contact between senior members of the two governments.
In the Himalayas, Indian and China have ill-defined borders, and two years after Chou's visit, the countries were at war. Frontier skirmishes in north-eastern Kashmir were followed in October 1962 by a full-scale Chinese invasion of the North East Frontier Agency. The Indian Army was caught unprepared. The plains of Assam lay open to the Chines forces. But three weeks later, they withdrew.
Nehru's policy of friendship with China was in ruins. anti-Communist demonstrators burnt effigies of the Chinese leaders, Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai, in the streets of Calcutta. From then on, India move more closely into the Soviet Union's sphere of influence.
These frontier problems have still not been solved. India's present Prime Minister, Morarji Desai, has recently said that China is occupying thousands of square miles in Ladakh, in the desolate north-east of Kashmir, which India claims belongs to her. India has also protested about the Chinese building the karakoram highway through part of Kashmir which is held by Pakistan, though India again claims it.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan until his downfall last year, arriving in Peking. Close China-Pakistan relations had baulked any potential friendship between china and India, so long as India and Pakistan were at daggers drawn. China supported Pakistan in its two wars with india, in 1965 and 1971.
Mr. Vajpayee's visit to Islamabad in February this year marked another stage in the gradual improvement of relations between India and Pakistan, that began with the Simla agreement of 1972. Now he is seeking a similar approach to India's problems with China.
Another outstanding problem; China has objected to India's granting asylum to the Dalai Lama. The spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists fled to India in 1959 after an uprising in Tibet was suppressed by the Chinese. The Indians say that, since then, he has not taken part in political activity.
India and China began moving closer together two years ago, when they exchanged ambassadors for the first time since the 1962 war. The new Chinese Ambassador, Chen Chao-yuan, expressed the hope that this was only a beginning. Mr. Vajpayee is now hoping to take the next step.