Inder Malhotra, Journalist and Political Commentator
In 1960, the China issue slowly overwhelmed everything else. Public opinion was already strongly anti-China because of the Dalai Lama having to flee Tibet in 1959, to seek refuge in India. And then China ambushed an Indian patrol near Aksai Chin and returned the dead bodies on Nehru’s birthday. In Parliament, Atal Behari Vajpayee crudely asked,
"Zameen to de di hai, zevar hai nahin, ab kya zan denge? (You’ve given up the land, you have no wealth, are you going to hand over the women next?)" Chou Enlai visited Delhi in April 1960 for negotiations on the border issue—offering to recognise Indian claims in the east, if India recognised Chinese control in the west. China’s position on the border remains largely unchanged since then, in fact it has hardened recently, while we have gained a reputation of being mealy-mouthed in our dealings with them.