The Legacy Of China-India War – China Has Moved On But India Stuck In Its Colonial Past


By Dr. Sawraj Singh

After 50 years, the India-China war is still very much alive in our minds. The Indian media has given the event very big coverage. The Chinese media has given very little coverage to this topic as compared to the Indian media. Why is there so much difference? I feel that India has never been able to break with its colonial past while the Chinese have moved into the future.

Very little has changed since 1947, when we supposedly became independent. India was faithfully preserved its colonial past. India did not change the civilian bureaucracy, the military officer’s mentality, the court system, the police forces and the educational system. All are essentially the same. The Indian elite has tried to merge with the western capitalist system on their terms rather than on its own terms. Probably, there is no other example in the world when a country admires its colonial masters, as much India does. Therefore, whether it is India’s foreign policy or the domestic policy, it is more or less continuation of the colonial period, even though the global and the regional conditions have radically changed.

During the British colonial period, China was very weak compared to the mighty British empire. The British never treated china with equality or respect. The borders with China were never defined on the principles of fairness and justice. The British did what was convenient and useful for them without paying any attention to the generally recognized international norms. The Chinese were thoroughly bullied and humiliated.

Unfortunately, the Indian bureaucrats and the military officers have been unable to get rid of the colonial mentality. They fail to recognize a simple fact, the power equations have fundamentally changed. Unlike the colonial India, the present India lacks the might of the British empire. We can use any parameter for comparison and the fact that China is way ahead of India becomes obvious. If we compare the size of the armed forces, the size of the air force, the GDP and the volume of the trade, China is very much ahead. It is an obvious fact that India cannot match China’s strength. The only way India can fight another war with China is with the American support. However, India has to carefully look at the American intentions. Does America want to help India or use India to advance its own interests in the region at India’s expense.

Looking at the past patterns, it becomes quite clear that America does not value long term friendship. It has switched or abandoned its friends when it is convenient or useful to do so. In India’s case, America has never considered India a true friend. America has always looked at India as a potential adversary. For America and the other western powers a balkanized India in more useful. They can exploit all India’s resources without worrying that India can join the opposite camp of Russia and China. India should have no illusion about the western intentions of dividing and disintegrating India. Actually, they started this process in 1947. Does India need any other proof of the western intentions towards it?

If India can be incited to start another war with China, America has a lot to gain. It can kill two birds with one stone. It can weaken its main adversary, China and it can disintegrate its potential adversary, India. India should see through the western plans. India should get rid of the colonial past and accept the realities of the present world. The equations between the East and the West have fundamentally changed. East is on the rise and the West is on the decline. America is becoming weaker and China is becoming stronger each day. The twenty first century is bound to be Asia’s century. India should try to solve the border problem with china on the principles of equality and mutual respect.

Dr. Sawraj Singh, MD F.I.C.S. is the Chairman of the Washington State Network for Human Rights and Chairman of the Central Washington Coalition for Social Justice. He can be reached at [email protected].