Mind your facts

That bit of information is factually incorrect. Sheikh Abdullah never visited China; there was no question of Prime Minister Chou en Lai receiving him at the airport. It is neither the practice with Chinese nor any other significant country in the world to receive even heads of the states at the airport. Most of the times it is deputy within foreign office who goes to receive foreign heads of states. The practice of receiving dignitaries at the airport was only followed in the subcontinent that too in sixties and seventies. Even in subcontinent, the practice has been abandoned. Sheikh Abdullah had only one meeting with PM Chou en Lai. The meeting took place at Algiers along with Pakistani foreign office delegation led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Sheikh Abdullah’s visit to Algeria was on sidelines of his trip to Mecca for Hajj.

The error in the paper seems to have crept in by a general tendency of Kashmiris to magnify their own importance and the importance of their leaders leading to fabrication of facts. This fabrication consoles us for a while but none apart from us believes in it. It lands us into the mess within which we are.

By the way, the website of Chinese foreign office doesn’t not mention any person of the name Ying Gang. I hope it does not turn out to be another fabrication as mentioned in context of Sheikh Abdullah-Chou en Lai relations. Tryst of Kashmiri leaders with Chinese has proved to be costly for our leaders in past.  Soon after Sheikh Abdullah returned from his trip, he was arrested from the airport itself and landed in jail for three years. Chinese too have not been consistent. In their Kashmir policy in fifties, when their foreign policy was guided by Russians they too perceived Kashmir ‘s accession to India as legitimate.

Prime Minister Chou en Lai issued a statement in this context in 1956 a year after the visit of Bulganin to J&K. This was reflection of “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai” slogan. Field Marshall Ayub Khan of Pakistan once offered a joint defence pact to Indians against Chinese. India rejected this pact. Indo-China relations deteriorated when Indians facilitated meeting of Dalai Lama with Americans during a trip of Chinese delegation to India of which Dalai Lama was a member. Chinese became suspicious about Indian intentions and attacked India in 1962.

Indian military debacle in face of Chinese attack shattered Pandit Nehru. He pacified Pakistan by offering a dialogue on Kashmir, several rounds of which took place between foreign minister Swaran Singh and Bhutto in early sixties. Pakistan after some time realised that the dialogue was not serious but a device to keep them engaged lest they take advantage of Indian fiasco. It was at this juncture that Pakistan embarked upon a policy to get closer to China. As a result of this engagement, Pakistan and China seem to have become eternal friends and India and China eternal rivals. Pakistan has harvested a huge dividend out of its proximity to china in terms of transfer of technology and trade. In 1965 war between India and China, Chinese issued an ultimatum against India and helped in containment of Indian aggression on Lahore front.

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