Statecraft in two paras

I would go further. As Mr Shyam Saran reminded us in his K Subramaniam Lecture, the Prime Minister must remember that the Chinese regard deception, double-talk to be just elements of statecraft, and would be astonished, even offended, if you held the deceptions against them. He recalled how, on his visit to Peking, Mr R K Nehru had told Chou en-Lai that China’s statements on Kashmir seemed to call into question India’s position in regard to J&K being a part of India. Chou had asked, “Has China ever said that India’s position on J&K is wrong?” We had taken this to be endorsement of our position. On a subsequent visit, R K Nehru drew Chou’s attention to the fact that by then Chinese statements had begun mirroring Pakistan’s position even more closely. He reminded Chou of what Chou had said on their last interaction: “Has China ever said that India’s position on J&K is wrong?” Chou now asked in return, “But has China ever said that India’s position on Kashmir is correct?”

The same sequence had been played out with Panditji directly. Panditji had remonstrated with Chou how Chinese government maps showed vast swathes of India to be part of China. Chou had said that these were “old Kuomintang maps” and the Chinese government had not had the time to check them for accuracy. Panditji had taken this to be an endorsement of our position in regard to the border with China. When some years later, Panditji pointed to the maps, and reminded Chou of what he had said earlier, Chou turned around and said in effect, “Indeed, these are old maps. We have checked them. They set out the border correctly.” [Link]

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