02 August, 2021

Line Of Northern Disturbances

From Younghusband’s foray, the Simla Conference and their contentious legacy barbing Sino-Indian ties, this is a compendious, well-balanced account

Photograph by AP
Line Of Northern Disturbances

In earlier times, movie buffs could watch two films buying one ticket. This is true of this monumental work of research—you get to read in one book stories of India’s troubled northern borders on which separate books have been written. There are chapters on the ‘Roof of the World’, the Younghusband expedition, the Simla Convention, bound­ary negotiations and so on, narrated and analysed in one crisp volume. Further, the book’s strength derives from the additional focus on geography—topography, terrain and demography–that the author acquired as  army chief and governor, Arunachal Pradesh, coupled with stints in the Military Operations Directorate and on the ground as an Infanteer. Rich accounts of travels by intrepid spymasters and explorers like the red­oubtable F.M. Bailey (No Passport to Tibet) are integral to discovering the last Shangri-la, the marches and the mysterious bend in the Tsangpo gor­ges. JJ’s spotlight, though, is on the McMahon Line.

Ab initio, JJ raises the fundamental...

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