The Fractured Himalaya: India Tibet China 1949-62
by - Nirupama Rao
Why did India and China go to war in 1962? What propelled Jawaharlal Nehru's 'vision' of China? Why is
it necessary to understand the trans-Himalayan power play of India and China in the formative period
of their nationhoods? The past shadows the present in this relationship and shapes current policy options, strongly influencing public debate in India to this day.
Nirupama Rao, a former Foreign Secretary of India, unknots this intensely complex saga of the early years of the India-China relationship. As a diplomat-practitioner, Rao's telling is based not only on archival material from India, China, Britain and the United States, but also on a deep personal knowledge of China, where she served as India's Ambassador. In addition, she brings a practitioner's keen eye to the labyrinth of negotiations and official interactions that took place between the two countries from 1949 to 1962.
The Fractured Himalaya looks at the inflection points when the trajectory of diplomacy between these two nations could have course-corrected but did not. Importantly, it dwells on the strategic dilemma posed by Tibet in relations between India and China-a dilemma that is far from being resolved. The question of Tibet is closely interwoven into the fabric of this history. It also turns the searchlight on the key personalities involved-Jawaharlal Nehru, Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and the 14th Dalai Lama-and their interactions as the tournament of those years was played out, moving step by closer step to the conflict of 1962.
About the Author
Nirupama Menon Rao is a former Indian Foreign Secretary (2009-2011) and was Ambassador of India to China (2006-2009) and to the United States (2011-2013). She was High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka from 2004 to 2006 and also served as Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs from 2001 to 2002. During her diplomatic career, she spent significant time working on the bilateral relationship between India and China and specialized on the history and problems concerning the India-China border, and the question of Tibet. In retirement, she has taught at Brown and Columbia Universities, and was a Pacific Leadership Fellow at the University of California at San Diego. She is currently a Global Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington D.C. Rao is also the founder of the South Asian Symphony Orchestra, a project to promote dialogue and habits of cooperation among young South Asians and the South Asian diaspora, through music.
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