Source: “Eminent Parliamentarians Monograph Series – Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee” – Lok Sabha Secretariat, New Delhi, 1990
In rising to speak on the foreign policy of the Government of India one would naturally feel overwhelmed by the critical situation with which the whole world is faced today. I would like to deal with the problem not only from the point of view of the world situation but from the point of view of the security and safety of our own country because I feel that the latter consideration is of as much importance as the former one.
There will be none in this House or in this country who will not re-echo what the Prime Minister had said about the desirability of avoiding war. In fact, as he has pointed out, there is hardly any country in the world or people residing in any country who are not saying the same thing. Yet we are drifting towards a war. The Prime Minister has also asked the House that we should be very careful in choosing our language, especially in dealing with the affairs of other countries and should not add to the explosive nature of the present situation. At the same time, I think it is essential that we should speak frankly, especially in respect of the points where we feel that a change is called for in the policy of the Government of India.
We want peace. We want to avoid war. We would like to follow the policy of negotiations. We would like to be patient, though not, as the Prime Minister said, too patient always. At the same time, we must guard ourselves against not following a policy of drift. We must be able to arrive at decisions – we hope to make the right decision & at the right time. We must also guard against the possibility of trying to please everyone. That is a dangerous pastime and very often we are reminded of the fate that overtook the old traveller-who was no doubt guided by moral principles who tried to cross over a rickety bridge with his son and donkey, sometimes rode on the donkey himself, then persuaded by others put the son on the donkey, then placed both himself and the son on the donkey, and ultimately carried the donkey on his shoulders, with the result that he lost the donkey. In this case, if we try to follow the same policy, we may or may not lose any donkey, but we may lose our country. In any case, we must be abIe to make up our minds, especially at this critical juncture, as to what should be our outlook and our policy with regard to international matters.
I shall not deal in detail with Korea. But I must say that we have noticed certain inconsistencies with regard to our approach even to this problem, which is very difficult to explain. The Prime Minister today emphasized that no settlement with regard to Korea was possible, ignoring China. That is certainly a point of view worthy of serious consideration. But when India decided to support the Resolution before the Security Council, declaring North Korea as an aggressor, obviously it was known who was behind North Korea. North Korea had no independent status of her own. North Korea was backed by China and, maybe, ultimately supported by Soviet Russia. But we did not hesitate in declaring North Korea as an aggressor and we also took our plunge into the war. If today China has to be satisfied with regard to North Korea, then obviously China will dictate her own terms. When we discussed the Korean issue in Parliament some months ago, this was the point which I touched in my speech. Is the fighting between North Korea and South Korea just a localized affair or is it something bigger? I did appreciate the position which the United States took up. The United States did not regard it as just a simple case of aggression on the part of North Korea against South Korea but it also kept the ideological conflict which was in the background.
Today naturally attempts are being made to keep the Korean conflict confined to its limited circle. We all hope that that will be so but here again, somebody has to eat the humble pie. China today has shown that she does not exactly represent the despised Orientals and whatever the reason may be, she has acquired enormous strength and is able to meet on the battle-ground the finest forces that the United States and other allied powers could have sent. Naturally, our deepest sympathy will go to the U.S.A because one half of her peace-time army today is on the battle-fields of Korea and the United States is claiming that she is not fighting her own battle, but she is fighting the battle on behalf of Democracy. Here we have to make our mind exactly as to what we stand for. The Prime Minister referred to China. We have no quarrel with China, so long as China is anxious for the liberation of her own people. Everyone will have sympathy with the Chinese people but if China takes upon herself the task of liberating other peoples also who may not be anxious to obtain liberation at her hands, naturally that creates complications which will affect not China alone, but the rest of the world, particularly Asia. The proceedings in the House of Commons in London are rather interesting reading. There even a great fighter and patriot like Mr. Churchill has been thinking not in terms of saving Asia, not even thinking so much in terms of making Korea the real testing ground but he has quite realistically been thinking of the possible repercussions on Europe and particularly England if by any means Korea is allowed to develop into a theatre of world war. That is a realistic, a strategic approach. We have got to look at these problems undoubtedly from the point of view of world peace but principally· also from the manner in which our own position may be affected.
Along with China, we have to take up the question of Tibet because both are inter-linked. Now the Prime Minister naturally reminded the House of the part which India had played progressively in the matter of recognition of the legitimate rights of the present Chinese Government. How has China reciprocated? When it comes to the question of Tibet, there may or may not be some sort of loose suzerainty of China over Tibet, but historically this not so easy a matter and yet, what is the reply that China sent to India when India asked China not to proceed on the path of violence in the matter of Tibet? The reply that China has sent has shocked, surprised and has given sorrow to the Government of India. I do not know whether it has made any difference with regard to China’s settled policy in respect of Tibet, but here again, what is the definite policy of the Government of India with regard to Tibet? The Prime Minister just glossed over it. He said: We have sent another request asking them to be peaceful, but has that made any difference? Just as in the case of Korea, each country, for which this so-called liberation starts is the worst sufferer. It is like the old story of the operation being fully successful and the patient succumbing. The sufferings of the people themselves are indescribable. Only in this morning’s papers, we had a graphic account of the last British Correspondent who left the North Korean capital, stating how he found the whole place burning, reminding him· of some performances of Sir Guy Fawkes. Similarly, with regard to Tibet, we sent frantic appeals to China asking her not to be violent but did China listen? What is the policy behind China’s action? It is no use trying to gloss over things because these are matters which affect not only the people of Tibet but also the security of India. It is a fact that the boundary between India and Tibet is yet to be definitely defined. The Prime Minister said the other day that we stand by the Mac Mohan Line but the maps of China which are in circulation even now include portions of Assam, Ladakh and Leh and territories in which India is vitally interested. The reply which China has sent to India on the question of Tibet definitely indicates that China will do everything necessary for the purpose of keeping intact what it considers to be China’s border and when it refers to the Chinese border, it includes Tibet as well and the undefined boundary of Tibet so far as it touches the Indian border. Similarly, with regard to Nepal, the Prime Minister spoke very calmly the whole time – he did not use strong words – a few strong sentences were however used by him when he warmed up in connection with Nepal. We must follow a patient policy with regard to Pakistan; we must follow a friendly policy with regard to China; we must follow a surrendering policy with regard to Tibet but with regard to Nepal. We shall never allow anyone not only to enter into Nepal – any foreign power – but also not allow anyone to go over to the other side of the Himalayas. It is perfectly true; we are interested in Nepal. It affects our security to a very considerable measure. Some solution will have to be found with regard to Nepal. Even with regard to Nepal. We have been too long indecisive. We do not know exactly what is it we want. We must have a strong and stable Government in Nepal and a Government which has the backing of the people at large. If by any chance civil war continues in Nepal, it is not India that will benefit. It is China through Tibet which may come and play havoc in that part of Asia.
I would beg the Prime Minister to realise that the time has come when we have got to take decisions with regard to major questions and be prepared to act before it is too late.