how the chinese screwed us (no surprise there) and the soviets screwed us too (a bit surprising). it all boils down to that great golden dictum of diplomacy: permanent interests, not permanent allies.
the only exception is that china is india's permanent enemy.
New book says Mao-USSR deal on India
For Beijing backing on Cuba crisis, Moscow promised silence on China's
Posted online: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 at 0000 hours IST
NEW DELHI, JULY 11: In a season when Cold War secrets are tumbling
out with astonishing regularity, a new book has just revealed details
of a Beijing-Moscow deal on the eve of China's 1962 invasion of India.
Co-written by China-born author Jung Chang — best known for Wild Swan
— and her husband, British historian Jon Halliday, Mao: The Unknown
Story (Jonathan Cape) is rated the ''most authoritative'' biography of
the late Communist leader. It is an indictment of his domestic and
foreign policies, one of the victims of which, the book says, was
In the chapter ''Maoism Goes Global (1959-64)'', the authors outline
Mao's war preparations in 1962. He ended up promising to back the
Soviet deployment of nuclear missiles at America's doorstep — the
Cuban Missile Crisis, as it came to be called — if Moscow supported
his adventure in India.
''This was a hefty horse-trade,'' Jung Chang and Halliday write, ''one
well concealed from the world. On the morning of 20 October, just as
the Cuba crisis was about to break, Mao gave the go-ahead for crack
troops to storm Indian positions...Five days later, with the Cuba
crisis at fever pitch, Khrushchev came through with his support for
Mao in the form of a statement in Pravda that mortified Nehru.''
The book describes the build-up to war in ''May-June 1962'': ''Chou
(Chou Enlai) later told the Americans that 'Nehru was getting very
cocky...and we tried to keep down his cockiness'.''
It was a time of three simultaneous aggressive movements. In Taiwan,
''Chiang Kai-shek was making his most active preparations since 1949
to invade the Mainland''. Mao had to first ascertain the Americans
wouldn't help Chiang.
Then came the double deal: ''In October 1962, Khrushchev was secretly
deploying nuclear missiles in Cuba... Given the danger of a
confrontation with the USA, he wanted to ensure that Mao would not
stab him in the back. He decided to throw him a bone, a big one: the
Kremlin's blessing for China to attack India.''
Khrushchev had just signed an agreement to sell India MiG-21 fighter
aircraft. ''Mao,'' says the book, ''sent out a feeler to the Russian
ambassador about how Moscow would react if China attacked India.
Khrushchev seized this chance to make a startling demarche. On the
14th (of October) he laid out a four-hour farewell banquet for the
outgoing Chinese ambassador, at which the Soviet leader pledged that
Moscow would stand by Peking if China got into a border war with
India, and would delay the sale of MiG-21s.'' At the banquet,
Khrushchev also revealed his plans for Cuba.
As it turned out, both Mao and Khrushchev betrayed each other. ''On 28
October, after Khrushchev agreed to withdraw the missiles in return
for a promise by US president John F. Kennedy not to invade
Cuba...gigantic 'pro-Cuba' demonstrations were staged in China,
accompanied by bellicose statements... against Moscow for 'selling
The rejoinder came a week later: ''Khrushchev ... backtracked from his
previous support for China even while fighting was still going on
inside India. A Pravda editorial on 5 November conspicuously contained
not one word endorsing Peking's position. For him, as for Mao, the
collaboration had been completely opportunistic.''
Mao: The Unknown Story has been rated highly by critics for its
decade-long research and its meticulous footnotes. Jung Chang and
Halliday interviewed sources from 40 countries, including friends and
family of Mao. They also accessed Russian government archives.
Among their interviewees was V.V. Paranjpe, former diplomat — he
retired in 1982, as ambassador to South Korea — and doyen of Indian
Sinologists. Paranjpe — described in the book as an ''interpreter for
Nehru-Mao talks'' who ''met Mao in a substantial way'' — remembers
Halliday and Jung Chang visiting Delhi in the early 1990s.
''We had no idea,'' he adds, ''about the 1962 deal. This is new
material. I spoke to my former colleagues in the Foreign Service, as
well as to the foreign secretary, Shyam Saran. There is nothing in our
records about the Khrushchev-Mao negotiations.''