Born in sin: Chinese occupation of Tibet
“Born in sin” was the phrase used by the late J.B. Kripalani criticizing the Panchsheel agreement between Nehru and Chou En Lai. Born in sin was the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Free Tibet, NOW. This should be the war-cry of the free world.
Kalyanaraman 1 April 2008
Panchseel, "An Agreement Born in Sin"
Office of Tibet, New York[Saturday, July 03, 2004 19:08]
NEW YORK, July 2 - Panchsheel, an agreement for mutual co-existence between India and China, was Nehru's brain child. It encapsulated the Indian Prime Minister's vision of a united and properous future for the newly-colonized nations of the Third World. Nehru had no inkling that the Chinese vision was something else. Indeed, before a year passed after the signing of this document, described at that time by another Indian leader as an "agreement born in sin", China attacked India and dealt the peace-loving nation a humiliating defeat.
Four decades later, the growing global reach of the US is sleepless nights to the ambitious China. Beijing now needs India more than ever before to counter the US influence. So, with great fanfare, the Pancheel is exhumed from graveyard of the 1962-war.
In this, history seems to be on the side of China. Its communist allies are important partners in the new government of India. With the help of them, the Chinese have been able to build a formidable lobby for themselves in the new government of India.
Bringing India under the umbrella of the Middle Kingdom's Third World advocacy will represent a strategic triumph for China as it will then be able to orchestrate anti-US campaigns more effectively than ever before. But for India, the implications "may not be that wholesome", writes Swapan Dasgupta in "The Telegaph" (July 2), a daily published from Kolkota.
The following is excerpted from Swapan Dasgupta's article:
It is...more than just mystifying that this week witnessed the golden jubilee celebrations in New Delhi and Beijing of the Agreement on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet region of China and India, a document better known as Panchsheel. For the newly-elected United Progressive Alliance government, which produced a special stamp to mark the event, it was an occasion to proclaim the rehabilitation of the Nehruvian order in foreign policy. For China, the re-discovery of Panch- sheel became a euphemism for some free publicity to the new mantra of heping jueqi or "good neighbourliness and global responsibility".
Yet, no anniversary celebration could be more inappropriate. For a start, June 28 was not the 50th anniversary of Panchsheel. As the India-based China-watcher, Claude Arpi, has pointed out, the agreement was signed by Chang Han-Fu, China's vice-minister of foreign affairs, and the Indian ambassador, N. Raghavan, in Beijing on April 29, 1954, and came into effect on June 3 that year. On April 29, however, the National Democratic Alliance government was still in place, and despite the improvement in Sino-Indian relations, no one really thought it necessary to commemorate an agreement that resulted in India abjuring the Shimla Convention of 1914 and surrendering its special diplomatic status in Tibet.
It is instructive to recall that Panchsheel was not universally welcomed in India. Speaking in the Lok Sabha in 1958, J.B. Kripalani was carping about India's abdication of its role in Tibet: "This great doctrine was born in sin because it was enunciated to put the seal of our approval upon the destruction of an ancient nation which was associated with us spiritually and culturally. It was a nation which wanted to live its own life and it ought to have been allowed to live it." Jawaharlal Nehru answered with a weak pun, "Born in Sindh?"
Unfortunately, Panchsheel proved to be no laughing matter. Regardless of the hype associated with democratic India, embrace of a totalitarian neighbour, Panchsheel was an ephemeral agreement. Initially valid for eight years, until April 1962, the "Hindi-Chini bhai bhai" euphoria was woefully one-sided and ended in tears for both Nehru and India. Within 26 days of Panchsheel coming into effect, the People's Liberation Army began its incursions into India, at Barahoti, north of Badrinath, in Uttaranchal. And by the time the agreement died a natural death, India had suffered a humiliating military debacle, with Nehru's heart going out to the people of Assam.
It speaks volumes for the self-esteem of the UPA government that it re-jigged the calendar of history and glossed over independent India's greatest moment of humiliation to celebrate a Congress prime minister's act of romantic folly. In sheer perversity, the grand tamasha in New Delhi last Monday was akin to the great and the good assembling in London's Guildhall to promote Anglo-German friendship by celebrating Chamberlain's gentlemanly capitulation in Munich in 1938.
It is tempting to dismiss the sudden re-discovery of Panchsheel as an unfortunate example of fawning and diplomatic buffoonery by India's influential band of Sinophiles. Tragically, the blunder is more serious and is symptomatic of the foreign policy regression that is taking place in Delhi.
It is not anyone's case that Sino-Indian relations must be held hostage to human rights in Tibet and the resolution of the border conflict. Since RajivGandhi's landmark visit in 1987, both sides have shown considerable maturity in putting normalization of relations above conflict resolution. It is an approach that Natwar Singh was absolutely right in commending to the Pakistan government last month.
However, there are strong suggestions that the UPA government's desire to establish a special relationship with China goes well beyond the purview of bilateral relations. Implicit in the rekindling of the flawed Panchsheel agreement is a move towards a more profound strategic partnership with Beijing. This includes imbibing China's perceptions of the restructuring of the post-Cold War world order.
The roots of this Sinophilia can be located in a mixture of misplaced nostalgia and plain expediency. Since the Pokhran-II blasts of May 1998, China has combined its traditional relationship with India's communists with a special relationship with the Congress. Never shy of getting involved in domestic policy when necessary, Beijing has crafted a formidable lobby for itself in the present UPA, centred on a wariness of the Curzonian assumptions of the Bharatiya Janata Party. Grafted on to the traditional Third World-ism of those who see themselves as Nehru's disciples, this has involved the direct encouragement to anti-US tendencies within the Indian foreign policy establishment.
Beijing has never underestimated the potential danger of India positioning itself as a rival Asian power. With its open society, vibrant democracy, cultural links and hostility to Islamism, India has always held out an attraction to a West that is deeply suspicious of China's hegemonic designs in Asia. For China, neutralizing India or bringing it under its strategic umbrella would constitute a monumental foreign-policy triumph. In simple terms, it would deny the West the natural alternative in Asia.
For India, however, the implications may not be all that wholesome. Apart from the economic implications of subordinating itself to the main competitor, excessive cosying up to China carries the danger of living with a permanent military handicap and being subjected to the threats of political blackmail, particularly in the North-east. It means abandoning all regional ambitions in favour of a spurious solidarity built on angst.
China and India have been geographical neighbours. This has, however, not been accompanied by either neighbourliness or an understanding of each other. In terms of both cultural assumptions and civil-society links, both countries remain separated by the formidable Himalayas. Regardless of the temporary irritation with the unilateralism of the Bush administration, India's natural gaze is Westwards. We are naturally at ease with the Anglo-Saxon world. The Middle Kingdom is both distant and incomprehensible. Panchsheel was just an early warning.
BORN IN SIN: THE PANCHSHEEL AGREEMENT
THE SACRIFICE OF TIBET
By Claude Arpi
In India, one often hears of ‘Panchsheel’, but few know that it only was an "Agreement on Trade and Intercourse between the Tibet region of China and India” signed by China and India on April 29, 1954.
Since the preamble of this Agreement contained the famous Five Principles, it was dubbed the ‘Panchsheel Agreement’. Though it lapsed in 1962 and was never renewed, it has kept its aura as the ideal solution to conduct foreign relations. But its first result was that Tibet, a 2000-old nation was erased from the map of Asia.
During a debate in the Parliament in 1958, the Socialist leader Acharya Kripalani stated: “This great doctrine was born in sin, because it was enunciated to put the seal of our approval upon the destruction of an ancient nation which was associated with us spiritually and culturally… It was a nation which wanted to live its own life and it sought to have been allowed to live its own life.”
The 1962 Sino-Indian conflict was another consequence of the ‘Panchsheel’ policy.
A hundred years ago a young British Colonel, Francis Younghusband entered the holy city of Lhasa and forced upon the Tibetans their first Agreement with the mighty British Empire. In signing this treaty with the Crown, Tibet was ‘acknowledged’ as a separate nation by the British.
Ten years later, London called for a tripartite Conference in Simla to settle the issue: British India, Tibet and China sat together at a negotiation table for the first time.
The Simla Convention, born out of the Conference was still in force when India became independent in August 1947.
However, an event changed the destiny of the Land of Snows. In October 1950, Mao Zedong’s troops invaded Tibet.
With this background, the present research looks at the genesis of the Panchsheel Agreement between India and China which converted the Land of Snows into merely ‘Tibet’s Region of China’. A natural and cultural buffer zone between India and China disappeared.
The preamble of the Agreement contained the Five Principles which formed the main pillar of India’s foreign policy for the next fifty years. This was the beginning of the Hindi-Chini Bhai-Bhai slogan and India’s ‘non-aligned’ position.
This policy still haunts an India unable to sort out her border tangle with China. This study concludes with some tentative but constructive proposals to come out of the current impasse.
Year of Publication: August 2004
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Excerpts from the book:
“ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCE OF THE PANCHSHEEL POLICY”
“THE BRAHMAPUTRA DAM AND DIVERSION”
1. “ Ginsburg, in a study of Communist China and Tibet in the sixties wrote: ‘HE WHO HOLDS TIBET DOMINATES THE HIMALAYAN PIEDMONT; HE WHO DOMINATES THE HIMALAYAN PIEDMONT THREATENS THE INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT; AND HE WHO THREATENS THE INDIAN SUB-CONTINENT MAY WELL HAVE ALL THE SOUTH-EAST ASIA WITHIN HIS REACH, AND ALL OF ASIA.” (1)
2. “Mao, the strategist, knew this well, as did the British who had always succeeded in their maneuvers to keep Tibet an ‘AUTONOMOUS’ buffer zone between their Indian colony and the Chinese and Russian Empires. The Government of India, upon inheriting the past treaties and obligations of British India, should have donned British mantle recognizing its advantages for Indian security and its sense of responsibility vis-à-vis Tibet; unfortunately for fear of looking like a neo-colonist state, without giving any thought to the consequences which would follow, they failed.” (2)
“AN ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCE.”
3. “For India, one of the indirect, THOUGH SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES OF LOSING THIS BUFFER ZONE BETWEEN HER AND CHINA IS THE ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION WHICH HAS OCCURRED IN TIBET DURING THE LAST FOUR DECADES. The responsibility for this lies mainly with Deng Xiaoping and his mantra: ‘TO BECOME RICH IS GLORIOUS’. The frantic race for wealth which ensued became known as ‘SOCIALISM WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTIC’. In fact it was ‘wild capitalism’; THE CHINESE STATE ITSELF BECAME A VORACIOUS DEVELOPER WITH SCANT RESPECT FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.”
4. “The fact that India did not keep the responsibility ‘legally bestowed
on her by the SIMLA CONVENTION’ hastened the end result of the immense damage inflicted by the new occupiers upon the high plateau’s environment. Our case study highlights a ‘PROJECT FOR THE DIVERSION AND THE DAMMING OF THE TSANGPO (BRAHMAPUTRA)’. We shall study the consequences caused by Tibet’s occupation, NOT ONLY ON THE ENVIRONMENT, BUT ALSO ITS SNOWBALLING IMPACT ON THE SUB-CONTINENT’S SECURITY.”
“TIBET: ASIA’S WATER TANK”.
5. “The Tibetan plateau is the ‘PRINCIPAL ASIAN WATERSHED’ and the ‘SOURCE OF TEN MAJOR RIVERS’. TIBET’S WATERS FLOW DOWN TO ELEVEN COUNTRIES AND ARE SAID TO BRING FRESH WATER TO OVER 85% OF ASIA’S POPULATION, APPROXIMATELY 50% OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION.”
6. “THREE OF THE WORLD’S TEN MAJOR RIVERS, THE BRAHMAPUTRA, THE YANGTZE AND THE MEKONG HAVE THEIR HEADWATERS ON THE TIBETAN PLATEAU. THE OTHER MAJOR RIVERS WHICH ORIGINATE FROM TIBET ARE THE HUANG HO (OR YELLOW RIVER), THE SALWEEN, THE ARUN, THE KARNALI, THE SUTLEJ AND THE INDUS.”
7. “SOUTH ASIA IS MAINLY CONCERNED WITH THE
BRAHMAPUTRA, THE INDUS, THE SUTLEJ, THE ARUN AND THE KARNALI WHOSE WATERS GIVE LIFE TO MORE THAN ONE BILLION PEOPLE LIVING DOWNSTREAM.”
8. “IT IS ROUGHLY ESTIMATED THAT 10-20% OF THE HIMALAYAN REGION IS COVERED BY GLACIAL ICE WHILE AN ADDITIONAL AREA RANGING FROM 30-40% HAS SEASONAL SNOW COVER. HIMALAYAN GLACIERS COVER AROUND 100,000 SQ. KMS. AND STORE ABOUT 12,000 CUBIC KMS OF FRESH WATER: ‘THE MOST INCREDIBLE WATER TANK ONE CAN IMAGINE’.”
9. “ The perennial run of the rivers, originating from these glaciers, also result in a stable flow of water to regions which are dominated by monsoon rainfalls.”
“SOUTH-NORTH WATER DIVERSION”.
10. “China is facing a VERY SERIOUS WATER SHORTAGE. This problem is sought to be solved by DIVERTING LARGE QUANTITIES OF WATER FROM THE WET SOUTH TO THE DRY NORTH. The engineers in Beijing have conceived a SOUTH-NORTH WATER DIVERSION.”
11. “In September 2001 (3), Associated Press commented about the Western segment of the SOUTH-NORTH water diversion: ‘THE SHEER SCALE HARKENS BACK TO THE MEGAPROJECTS OF IMPERIAL CHINA AND THE HEYDAY OF COMMUNIST CENTRAL PLANNING. BUT EVEN IN THE HOME OF THE 1,500-MILE GREAT WALL, THE SCHEME IS RAISING EYEBROWS. SOME QUESTION IF SUCH A GARGANTUAN PROJECT IS NEEDED-OR EVEN WISE.”
12. “BUT THIS IS NOT ENOUGH TO SAVE NORTHERN CHINA. THE PLANNERS IN BEIJING HAVE LOGICALLY TURNED THEIR SIGHTS TOWARDS THE TIBETAN HIGH PLATEAU.”
(1) GINSBURG&MATHOS, ‘COMMUNIST CHINA AND TIBET’ (THE HAGUE:MARTINUF NIJHOFF, 1964)
(2) THE STRATEGIC POSITION OF TIBET BECAME EVEN MORE VISIBLE WHEN CHINA JOINED THE RESTRICTED CIRCLE OF NUCLEAR NATIONS. IS THERE A MORE IDEAL PLACE THAN THE TIBETAN HIGH PLATEAU TO POSITION ICBMs WITH NUCLEAR WARHEADS POINTED TOWARDS INDIA AND RUSSIA?
(3) ASSOCIATED PRESS (10 SEPTEMBER 2001), ‘CHINA PLANS TO REROUTE PART OF RIVER.
“THE CASE OF THE YARLUNG TSANGPO”
13. “The Yarlung Tsangpo (or Brahmaputra as it is known in India), has an immense bearing on the lives of hundreds of millions in the sub-continent.”
14. “It is the largest river on the Tibetan plateau, originating from a glacier near Mt. Kailash. It is considered to be the highest river on earth with an average altitude of 4,000 meters. It runs 2,057 kilometers in Tibet before flowing into India, where it becomes the Brahmaputra. One of its interesting characteristics is the ‘SHARP U-TURN’ it takes at the proximity of Mt. Namcha Barwa (7,782 meters) near the Indian border.”
15. “Like the Nile in Egypt, the Yarlung Tsangpo has nurtured the Tibetan civilization which flourished along its valleys, particularly in Central Tibet.”
16. “Near Shigatse region, the Yarlung valley is 20-30 kms wide. This area with its sand dunes and lakes is the cradle of the two thousand year-old civilization.”
17. “The Yarlung Tsangpo enters India in Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The Brahmaputra has always been considered the very soul of the State by Assamese poets and ordinary people alike. Entering Bangladesh, the river unites with the Ganga and is known as the Padma, before becoming the Meghna-Brahmaputra after merging with the river Meghna. Finally it divides into hundreds of channels to form a vast delta which flows into the Bay of Bengal.”
“THE GRAND CANYON”
18. “But let us return to the Tibetan plateau. When the Tsangpo reaches its Easternmost point in Tibet, it takes a sharp ‘U-TURN’ known as the ‘GREAT BEND’. Only recently it has been found that the Yarlung Tsangpo gorge ‘FORMS THE LONGEST AND DEEPEST CANYON IN THE WORLD’. In May 1994, XINHUA NEWS AGENCY reported: ‘CHINESE GEOLOGISTS CLAIM THAT A REMOTE TIBETAN CANYON IS THE WORLD’S LARGEST, BIGGER AND DEEPER THAN THE GRAND CANYON. THE YARLUNG ZANGBO CANYON, IN THE VAST HIMALAYAN RANGE THAT ENCIRCLES CHINA, AVERAGES 3.1 MILES (5 KMS) IN DEPTH AND EXTENDS 198 MILES (317 KMS) IN LENGTH. THE GRAND CANYON IN THE SOUTHWESTERN U.S. STATE OF ARIZONA IS, BY COMPARISON, A MERE 1 MILE (1.6 KMS) DEEP BUT 217 MILES (347 KMS) LONG WITH A WIDTH OF BETWEEN 4 AND 12 MILES. SCIENTISTS FOUND THAT THE CANYON, LOCATED IN THE HIMALAYAN RANGE, AVERAGES 5,000 METERS IN DEPTH, WITH THE DEEPEST SECTION REACHING 5,382 METERS.” (4)
19. “IT IS IN THE ‘GREAT BEND’ THAT CHINA IS PLANNING ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANR COMPONENTS OF THE ‘WESTERN ROUTE DIVERSION SCHEME’. THIS PHARONIC PROJECT IS PERHAPS THE MOST MIND-BOGGLING PART OF ‘THE NATIONAL STRATEGY TO DIVERT WATER FROM RIVERS IN THE SOUTH AND WEST TO ROUGHT-STRICKEN NORTHERN AREAS.”
20. “The Tsangpo Project will have two components: ‘ONE WILL BE THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE WORLD’S LARGEST HYDRO-ELECTRIC PLANT THAT WOULD GENERATE TWICE THE ELECTRICITY PRODUCED BY THE THREE GORGES DAM. TODAY, THE BIGGEST POWER STATION IN THE WORLD IS LOCATED IN ITAIPU IN BRAZIL: IT HAS A TOTAL INSTALLED CAPACITY OF 12,600 MEGAWATTS. THE THREE GORGES DAM ON THE YANGTZE RIVER(STILL INCOMPLETED) WILL HAVE A 18,200 MEGAWATTS CAPACITY. THE HYDROELECTRIC PLANT ON THE ‘GREAT BEND OF THE YARLUNG TSANGPO’ WILL DWARF ALL THESE PROJECTS WITH A PLANNED CAPACITY OF 40,000 MEGAWATTS.”
21. “The second component of the Project will be the diversion of the waters of the Tsangpo which will be pumped Northward across hundreds of kilometers of mountainous regions to China’s Northwestern provinces of Xinjiang and Gansu.”
22. “For the Chinese leaders, it is enough to know that the Tsangpo river tumbles down over 3,000 meters in less than 200 kms. This gives the gorge one of the greatest hydropower potentials available in the world. This is the stuff which makes Beijing leaders dream.”
23. “For the Tibetans, it is one of the most pristine regions of their country. They consider the area around the ‘BEND’ as the home of the GODDESS DORJEE PAGMO, (5), Tibet’s ‘PROTECTING DEITY’. Many believe that this place, locally known as Pemako is the sacred realm often referred to in their scriptures: THE LAST HIDDEN SHANGRILA.”
24. “FOR SOUTH ASIA AND MORE PARTICULARLY FOR INDIA, THE ENORMITY OF THE SCHEME WITH ITS PROXIMITY TO THE INDIAN BORDER CANNOT BE IGNORED. IT IS NOT ONLY THE SHEER SIZE OF THE PROJECT WHICH HAS TO BE CONSIDERED, BUT THE FACT THAT IF ACCOMPLISHED, IT WILL HAVE OMINOUS CONSEQUENCES FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DOWNSTREAM. THEIR BASIC NEED FOR WATER AND THEIR VERY SURVIVAL WOULD BE ENDANGERED.”
(4) TIBET WORLD NEWS (4 MAY 1994), CHINA CLAIMS TIBETAN CANYON IS LARGEST.
(4) IN ENGLISH: THE DIAMOND SOW.
“HISTORY OF THE PROJECT”
25. “The Project was reported in the SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN in June 1996. This Article gave credence to the Chinese plans. The journal wrote: ‘RECENTLY SOME CHINESE ENGINEERS PROPOSED DIVERTING WATERS INTO THIS ARID AREA (GOBI) DESERT FROM THE MIGHTY BRAHMAPUTRA RIVER, WHICH SKIRTS CHINA’S SOUTHERN BORDER BEFORE DIPPING INTO INDIA AND BANGLADESH. SUCH A FEAT WOULD BE ‘IMPOSSIBLE’ WITH ‘CONVENTIONAL METHODS’, ENGINEERS STATED AT A MEETING HELD LAST DECEMBER AT THE CHINESE ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING PHYSICS IN BEIJING’. But they added that ‘WE CAN CERTAINLY ACCOMPLISH THIS PROJECT WITH NUCLEAR EXPLOSIVES’.”
26. “ The journal continued: ‘THIS STATEMENT IS JUST ONE OF THE MANY LATELY IN WHICH CHINESE TECHNOLOGISTS AND OFFICIALS HAVE TOUTED THE POTENTIAL OF NUCLEAR BLASTS FOR CARRYING OUT NON-MILITARY GOALS’.”
27. “It is said that one of the reasons for China’s refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) was because of their desire to keep the possibility of experimenting with what is called PNE (PEACEFUL NUCLEAR EXPLOSION). The Chinese argument was: ‘WHY SHOULD PROMISING AND POTENTIALLY USEFUL TECHNOLOGY BE ABANDONED’.”(6)
28. “In the following months, more publicity was given to the dam as well as the diversion proposals. In September 1997, AGENCE FRANCE PRESS in Beijing (7) reported: ‘THREE EXPERTS PROPOSE CONSTRUCTION OF GIANT DAM IN TIBET.’ It stated: ‘AFTER A LONG EXPERIENCE OF EXPLORATION ON THE SITE, WE BELIEVE THAT THE PROJECT COULD BEGIN TO BE INCLUDED IN THE AGENDA OF THE CONCERNED DEPARTMENT’.”
29. “The Project was also mentioned in news briefs in the CHINA DAILY BUSINESS WEEKLY- 21 SEPTEMBER 1997- and the INTERNATIONAL WATER POWER & DAM CONSTRUCTION MONTHLY – NOVEMBER 1997.”
30. “In January 1998, the German T.V. Channel ZDF presented a feature on the Yarlung Tsangpo Project, in a programme entitled ‘DIE WELT’ (THE WORLD). The Chief Planner, Professor Chen Chuanyu was interviewed. HE DESCRIBED THE PLAN TO DRILL A 15 KMS (9.3 MILES) TUNNEL THROUGH THE HIMALAYAS TO DIVERT THE WATER BEFORE THE ‘U-TURN’ AND DIRECT IT TO THE OTHER END OF THE BEND. THIS WOULD SHORTEN THE DISTANCE OF APPROXIMATELY 3,000 METERS ALTITUDE DROP FROM 200 KMS TO JUST 15 KMS. HE EXPLAINED THAT THE HYDROPOWER POTENTIAL OF 40,000 MEGAWATTS COULD BE USED TO PUMP WATER TO NORTHWEST CHINA OVER 800 KMS AWAY.”
31. “In recent years, the Chinese have been more discreet about the Project, although a few reports have continued to come in. The correspondent of THE TELEGRAPH in Beijing wrote in October 2000: ‘CHINESE LEADERS ARE DRAWING UP PLANS TO USE NUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS, IN BREACH OF THE INTERNATIONAL TEST-BAN TREATY, TO BLAST A TUNNEL THROUGH THE HIMALAYAS FOR THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HYDROELECTRIC PLANT’.”
32. “According to the London paper, THE COST OF DRILLING THE TUNNEL THROUGH MT. NAMCHA BARWA APPEARS LIKELY TO SURPASS (POUND STERLING) 10 BILLION. The Article gives further details: ‘AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TUNNEL, THE WATER WILL FLOW INTO A NEW RESERVOIR AND THEN BE DIVERTED ALONG MORE THAN 500 MILES OF THE TIBETAN PLATEAU TO THE VAST, ARID AREAS OF XINJIANG REGION AND THE GANSU PROVINCE. BEIJING WANTS TO USE LARGE QUANTITIES OF THE PLENTIFUL WATERS OF THE SOUTH-WEST TO TOP UP THE YELLOW RIVER BASIN AND ASSUAGE MOUNTING DISCONTENT OVER WATER SHORTAGES IN 600 CITIES IN NORTHERN CHINA’.”(8)
33. “However, it seems that the proposal has drawn flak from several Chinese scientists. Yang Yong, a geologist who had explored the river, stated that the dam could become an embarrassing white elephant amid growing signs that the volume of water flowing in the Yarlung Tsangpo could shrink over the years.”
34. “But in 2000, before becoming Premier Wen Jiabao had declared: ‘IN THE 21ST CENTURY, THE CONSTRUCTION OF LARGE DAMS WILL PLAY A KEY ROLE IN EXPLOITING CHINA’S WATER RESOURCES, CONTROLLING FLOODS AND DROUGHTS, AND PUSHING THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND THE COUNTRY’S MODERNIZING FORWARD.”(9)
“THE SECOND COMPONENT”
35. “The second component of the plan is a massive diversion of the river to China’s North West. THIS WOULD HAVE EVEN MORE DEVASTATING CONSEQUENCES. NORTH INDIA AND BANGLADESH WOULD BE STARVED OF THEIR LIFE-LINE. NUTRIENT-RICH SEDIMENTS THAT ENRICH THE SOILS OF THESE REGIONS WOULD BE HELD BACK IN THE RESERVOIR. WITH NO MORE WATER REACHING THE RIVER’S DELTA, MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WOULD BE AFFECTED. ‘A WATER WAR COULD ENSUE’.”
36. “Last and perhaps most serious: ‘THE GREAT BEND IS LOCATED IN A HIGHLY EARTHQUAKE PRONE AREA. A HUGE RESERVOIR AND A FEW NEPs COULD PROVOKE NEW EARTHQUAKES EVEN MORE SERIOUS THAN THE ONE IN AUGUST 1950. ‘WILL MEN BE WISE TO LEARN FROM THE PAST AND STUDY NATURE’S LIMITS AND REACTIONS BEFORE WANTING TO ALTER HER’?”
(6) CHINA FINALLY SIGNED THE CTBT IN SEPTEMBER 1996 BUT NEVER RATIFIED THE TREATY WHICH MEANS THAT BEIJING IS STILL KEEPING A DOOR OPEN FOR USING PNEs.
(7) TIBET 2000- ‘ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ISSUES. (DHARAMSALA, DIIR, 2000)
(8) ‘THE TELEGRAPH’, LONDON (22 OCTOBER 2000). ‘CHINA PLANNING NUCLEAR BLASTS TO BUILD GIANT HYDRO PROJECT, by DAMIEN McELROY in BEIJING.
“THE ARUNACHAL FLOODS”.
37. An event which occurred in June 2000 could be an illustration at a ‘VERY REDUCED SCALE’ OF WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF THE TSANGPO PROJECT IS ONE DAY COMPLETED. ‘AT THAT TIME, THE BREACH OF A NATURAL DAM IN TIBET LED TO SEVERE FLOODS AND LEFT OVER A HUNDRED PEOPLE DEAD OR MISSING IN ARUNACHAL PRADESH. IT IS NOT DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND THAT AREAS DOWNSTREAM IN ARUNACHAL OR ASSAM ARE EXTREMELY VULNERABLE TO WHAT TAKES PLACE UPSTREAM IN TIBET. At the time of the incident Rediff.com reported: ‘ALTHOUGH NEWS OF FLOODS IN DISTANT NORTH-EAST MAY NOT BE HOT FOR DELHI, THE FLASH FLOODS THAT HIT THE BORDER STATE OF ARUNACHAL PRADESH IN JUNE HAS MADE OFFICIALS AT THE CENTRAL WATER COMMISSION AND THE MWR (10) SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE. AS OFFICIALS POUR OVER THE TECHNICAL DATA, A NEW DIMENSION THAT THE CHINESE ARMY IN TIBET, AS PART OF AN EXPERIMENT, MAY HAVE DELIBERATELY BLASTED THE DAM HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE ALREADY HAZY PICTURE’.”
38. “According to Nabam Rebia, Member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh, puzzled by the nature of the floods and the equally mysterious response of China, the Government of India’s remote sensing agency hired a Canadian satellite to take a close look at the scene of the breach. Top officials who confirmed this said: ‘ALL THE TECHNICAL DETAILS AND PICTURES FROM THE AREA ARE WITH US NOW AND CONFIRM THAT A BREACH HAD TAKEN PLACE ON A DAM ON THE RIVER TSANGPO LEADING TO FLASH FLOODS IN THE NORTH-EASTERN REGION. ACCORDING TO THE OFFICIAL, WHO HAD SEEN THE TECHNICAL DATA, THE FLASH FLOOD OCCURRED BECAUSE OF A BREACH IN A DAM LOCATED IN AN AREA PINPOINTED AS LATITUDE 30.15 DEGREES NORTH BY 94.50 DEGREES EAST, WHICH FALLS IN CHINA CONTROLLED TIBET’.”
39. “A few weeks later, a similar mishap took place on the other end of the Himalayas. ‘THE TRIBUNE’ in Chandigarh reported this strange event (11): ‘EVEN THREE DAYS AFTER THE DISASTER, THE MYSTERY FLASH FLOODS IN THE SUTLEJ, WHICH WRECKED HAVOC ALONG IYS 200 KMS LENGTH IN THE STATE, REMAINS UNRESOLVED’. It added: ‘EXPERTS ARE AT A LOSS TO UNDERSTAND WHERE THE HUGE MASS OF WATER CAME FROM’.”
40. “A detailed study carried out a few months later by ISRO scientists confirmed that the release of excess water accumulated in the Sutlej and the Siang river (THE TSANGPO) basins in Tibet had led to flooding. Nearly a year later, the weekly INDIA TODAY commented (12): ‘WHILE THE SATELLITE IMAGES REMAIN CLASSIFIED, OFFICIALS OF THE MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES INDICATE THAT THESE PICTURES SHOW THE PRESENCE OF HUGE WATER BODIES OR LAKES UPSTREAM IN SUTLEJ AND SIANG RIVER BASINS BEFORE THE FLASH FLOODS TOOK PLACE. HOWEVER, THESE LAKES DISAPPEARED SOON AFTER THE DISASTER STRUCK INDIAN TERRITORY. THIS PROBABLY MEANS THAT THE CHINESE HAD BREACHED THESE WATER BODIES AS A RESULT OF WHICH LAKHS OF CUSECS OF WATER WERE RELEASED INTO THE SUTLEJ AND SIANG RIVER BASINS’.”
(10) MINISTRY OF WATER RESOURCES.
(11) ‘THE TRIBUNE’- ‘FLOOD STARTED IN TIBET?’, 04 AUGUST 2000.
(12) ‘INDIA TODAY’, ‘MADE IN CHINA’, 25 JUNE 2001
41. “The construction of the multi-billion dollar project is tentatively scheduled to begin in 2009, the year the THREE GORGES DAM is supposed to be completed.”
“FOR TIBET AND THE SURROUNDING AREAS”
42. “A reservoir of a 40,000 MEGAWATTS capacity dam would create a ‘HUGE ARTIFICIAL LAKE’ inundating vast areas of virgin forest within the canyon and beyond. The reservoir would stretch hundreds of kilometers upstream from the Yarlung Tsangpo into the Kongpo region. Rare species of flora and fauna will be lost for scientific study. The Chinese authorities themselves admit that the canyon is home to more than 60% of the biological resources on the Tibatan plateau.”
43. “Although the population in the canyon is rather small, the indigenous people would suffer great hardship and be forced to leave their ancestral lands. It may not be a problem for Beijing which has ‘resettled’ more than one million Chinese Hans since the beginning of the construction of the THREE GORGES DAM, but for the Tibetans, it would mean the loss of a last sacred place and the home of their PROTECTING DEITY. Furthermore, Tibetans would not benefit in any way from the power produced by the hydroelectric plant, as it would be sold to China’s southern neighbours or used to send the water upstream to Northwestern China.”
44. “Additionally, the water diversion scheme is likely to be a highly inefficient and wasteful exercise with billions of cubic meters of water being lost to evaporation, leakage, percolation etc., through the 800 KMS-long canala and aqueducts.”
45. “If the project comes to fruition, Tibet and the world would have lost this virgin region and its canyon, A GREAT BOTANICAL TREASURE HERITAGE.”
46. “The potential use of nuclear devices to create tunnels for the project raises further serious concerns about the environmental impacts of such a project for the region and those living downstream. There will also be a great danger of ‘SENDING CONTAMINATED WATERS’ to Northwestern China. THIS IS PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT SIDE-EFFECTS, NOT YET ADDRESSED BY THE CHINESE SCIENTISTS.”
“FOR SOUTH ASIA.”
47. “India and Bangladesh WOULD BE AT THE MERCY OF CHINA BOTH FOR ADEQUATE RELEASE OF WATER DURING THE DRY SEASON, AS WELL AS FOR PROTECTION FROM FLOODS DURING THE RAINY SEASON. INDIA KNOWS FROM ITS OWN INTERNAL PROBLEMS HOW DIFFICULT IT IS TO SOLVE A WATER DISPUTE. WHEN IT COMES TO A TRANS-BOUNDARY QUESTION (WHERE THE FRONTIER IS NOT EVEN AGREED UPON), IT SEEMS PRACTICALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND A WORKABLE UNDERSTANDING.”
48. “Precipitation in North India (particularly Assam) and Bangladesh is very high (80%) during the four monsoon months (between June to September), and low (20%) during the remaining eight months. China seeing her own interests, could withhold water for power generation and irrigation during the dry season and release water during the flood season with catastrophic consequences for Eastern South Asia.”
“THE SITUATION TODAY”.
49. “In June 2003, the Indian Prime Minister spent 6 days in China. On his return, everyone clapped. It would seem that at last the past could be left behind and a new era begun for the two Asian giants. Analysts thought that the old dream of Nehru, ‘A TRUE HINDI-CHINI BHAI BHAI’, could finally manifest. The ancient ideologues of the ‘LONG MARCH’ were dead and gone; a Fourth Generation of young, pragmatic and dynamic leaders had taken over. One could finally speak business.”
50. “The Prime Minister was only just back, WHEN THE NEWS OF CHINESE INTRUSIONS ON INDIAN SOIL WAS FLASHED BY THE INDIAN PRESS. Such an embarrassment for the MEA’s officers who had worked for months to draft a ‘PANCHSHEEL’ type of declaration! Once again, LIKE 45 YEARS AGO, THE FIVE PRINCIPLES HAD BEEN VIOLATED.”
51. “Everything couls still have passed off without too much fuss. The MEA could have handled the situation ‘diplomatically’. But the unfortunate happened: the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman declared: ‘CHINA DOES NOT RECOGNIZE THE SO-CALLED ARUNACHAL PRADESH MENTIONED BY THE INDIAN NEWSPAPER REPORT’.”
52. “A weak Indian External Affairs Ministry could only feebly respond that the GOI was aware of the ‘transgression’ of the LAC by a Chinese patrol.”
53. “Perhaps the ‘Arunachal’ annoncement was a diplomatic diversion to hide a far more serious matter for India: THE TSANGPO PROJECT. On 17 JULY 2003, the ‘PEOPLE’S DAILY’ had published a small item, ‘CHINA TO CONDUCT FEASIBILITY STUDY ON HYDROPOWER PROJECT IN TIBET’. It ran thus: ‘CHINA PLANS TO CONDUCT A FEASIBILITY STUDY IN OCTOBER ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MAJOR HYDROPOWER PROJECT ON THE YARLUNG TSANGPO RIVER, IN THE TIBET AUTONOMOUS REGION- - -, AN EXPERT TEAM WAS SENT TO THE AREA FOR PRELIMENARY WORK BETWEEN LATE JUNE AND EARLY JULY. THE CHINESE SECTION OF THE RIVER, 2,057 KMS LONG, BOASTS A WATER ENERGY RESERVE OF ABOUT 100 MILLION KILOWATTS, OR ONE SIXTH OF THE COUNTRY’S TOTAL, RANKING SECOND BEHIND THE YANGTZE RIVER. THE LOCATION FOR THE POSSIBLE HYDROPOWER PLANT IS THE ‘U-SHAPED TURN’ OF THE RIVER IN THE SOUTHEASTERN PART OF TIBET. THE RIVER DROPS BY 2,755 METERS IN THE 500 KILOMETER-LONG ‘U-SECTION’.”
54. “THE CAT IS OUT OF THE BAG, THOUGH VERY FEW PEOPLE HAVE NOTICED IT.”
55. “Today, it is clear that these questions do not pertain to environment alone, but also to international security. If BEIJING WAS TO GO AHEAD WITH THE TSANGPO PROJECT, IT WOULD MEAN PRACTICALLY A DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST SOUTH ASIA.”
56. “The only solution seems to lie in bringing the matter to the negotiating table. If a river-water Treaty could be signed between India and Pakistan in the early sixties, can a similar agreement not be made between China, India and Bangladesh, in order to assure a decent life for all in the region?”
57. “BUT DO BUREAUCRATS AND POLITICIANS WHO HAVE NO LONG-TERM VIEW EVEN WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THE PROBLEM? THAT IS THE BILLION DOLLAR QUESTION.”
POSTSCRIPT by Capt. Balakrishnan (1 April 2008).
With respect to Para 51 above, one would do well to bear in mind what the famous historian, Dr. R.C.Majumdar had to write about the Chinese: “THERE IS, HOWEVER ONE ASPECT OF CHINESE CULTURE THAT IS LITTLE KNOWN OUTSIDE THE CIRCLE OF PROFESSIONAL HISTORIANS. IT IS THE AGGRESSIVE IMPERIALISM THAT CHARACTERISED THE POLITICS OF CHINA THROUGOUT THE COURSE OF HER HISTORY, AT LEAST DURING THE PART OF WHICH IS WELL KNOWN TO US. THANKS TO THE SYSTEMATIC RECORDING OF HISTORICAL FACTS BY CHINESE THEMSELVES, AN ALMOST UNIQUE ACHEIVEMENT IN ORIENTAL COUNTRIES- - - WE (HISTORIANS) ARE IN POSITION TO FOLLOW THE IMPERIAL AND AGGRESSIVE POLICY OF CHINA FROM THE THIRD CENTURY B.C. TO THE PRESENT DAY, A PERIOD OF MORE THAN TWENTY-TWO HUNDRED YEARS- - -. IT IS CHARACTERISTIC OF CHINA THAT 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 WHENEVER THERE WAS A CHANCE OF ENFORCING IT.”
AND OF COURSE, THE STUDENTS WING OF OUR ‘RED COMRADES’- THE STUDENTS FEDERATION OF INDIA (SFI)- AT THE J.N.U. VOTED FOR THE CHINESE STATEMENT AT PARA 51 ABOVE IN DECEMBER 2004!!!