05 August, 2021


A stronger India must counter China with open-minded caution


ormally unnoticed, the anniversary of Sardar Patel’s November 7, 1950, warning to Pandit Nehru about China repays attention this year. The recent spate of similar alarums and the government’s deliberate dampening of them reminds many people of the earlier contrast between a hard-headed practicality identified with Patel, and woolly wishfulness attributed to Nehru. That story, like the India-China relationship itself, is not so simple.

Worse than ignoring history is misreading it. Exciting public hysteria obstructs sensible handling. Not every compromise is doomed to be a Munich, nor every intervention a Vietnam. This is not 1962, except for one damaging legacy: public mistrust of the government. New Delhi appeared as covering up for both Beijing and itself. But similar criticism of today’s government misses out on both past and present.

Nehru made mistakes—it’s no service to his greatness, or to the great things we owe him, to pretend that he was faultless, or that everything...

More from K.S. Bajpai

Latest Magazine

August 09, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section