ramana wrote:There was concerted effort by the post Independence generation to woo China to be on India's side but Mao had different plans. In the end its his loss for this China is not what he struggled for and imposed such drastic measures on the population.
The early post independence generation who were involved in negotiation with the English over the transfer of power but also were influenced by the marxist idea of global brother hood wanted China to be on their side.
Even Chiang Kai-shek visited India to meet Gandhi but Indians were not aware of the vast network of contacts between Chinese leaders both nationalists and Mao with the western and comintern internationalists.
This Mao support from outside helped him to take over China in 1949 and
Indian leaders were blindsided.
Shaping the Future of Asia - INDIA AND CHINA
Chiang Kai-shekâ€™s visit to India (February, 1942)
It was by no means accidental that, more than two years after Nehruâ€™s trip to
China, Chiang Kai-shek chose the early stages of 1942 to repay the Indian
leaderâ€™s visit. A few weeks earlier, in fact, Nehru had been released after his
lengthy prison sentence; moreover, some months before, in mid 1941,
Germany had attacked the Soviet Union, and then in late 1941 the japanese
attacked Pearl Harbour and quickly overran large parts of Southeast Asia. In
January 1942, after the fall of Manila, the Japanese offensive had already
reached Malacca, Sumatra, Borneo and above all Burma, signifying a greater
threat to India.
Faced with this threat, China was extremely worried about the profound
rift within the Congress (in particular between Nehru and Gandhi) as well as
the continuing deadlock in the talks between London and the Congress.
The main aim of the official visit by Chiang, his wife and the Chinese
delegation was on the one hand to put pressure on the British so that they
would accept the Congressâ€™s requests for self-determination, thus creating the
best conditions for a full use of India in the anti-Japanese and anti-fascist war
with beneficial effects on the war effort being undertaken by China in that
period. On the other, Chiang aimed to have a moderating effect on the more
radical positions within the Congress, thus, in the final analysis, appeasing
British hopes and at the same time demonstrating to the international
community his own prowess as leader and statesman.
Chiang Kai-shek thus received assurances from the Viceroy that he would
indeed be able to meet his friend Nehru, even though his project to finally
meet Gandhi was more difficult to realise. Chiang, in fact, had insistently
asked, for reasons of etiquette and courtesy, to be allowed to go personally to
Sevagram, near Wardha, where the Mahatma Gandhi resided, but he had
run into strong resistance from the British authorities. Only a courteous yet
firm message written by Churchill himself, which underlined the
importance of avoiding any possible friction between the different parties in
question during such a delicate phase, finally convinced the Chinese leader to
abandon his plans.
Chiang finally met Gandhi in Calcutta on February 18th. The five or so
hours of their meeting underlined, as was also made clear by the two men
themselves, substantial political differences.
The part which follows is largely based on the following sources: Crozier, 1976; Furuya, 1981; Huang,
1995-96; India Office Recordsâ€¦.; Jiang zongtong milu, 1978-; Proceedings of Conference on Chiang Kai-
shek and Modern China, vol. IV, 1987; The Collected Wartime Messagesâ€¦, 1969; Wu, 1987; Zhonghua
Minguo waijiao shi cidian, 1996
Gandhi illustrated his own strategy based on non-violence and non-co-
operation, and Chiang Kai-shek underlined that this strategy was certainly
appropriate within the Indian context, but not necessarily that of other
countries. Chiang got the impression that Gandhi was too absorbed by the
cause for his own country to have a sufficiently realistic vision of the
In his turn, a few days after the meeting, Gandhi wrote to Vallabhai Patel
a short but very meaningful message about his impression on Chiang Kai-
shek. He wrote
I would not say that I learnt anything, and there was nothing that
we could teach him.
The meeting with Nehru, however, was much more politically productive.
It reinforced in both leaders the conviction that only close co-operation would
allow the two countries to play a significant and autonomous role in those
years and in the post-War period that was to follow.
In a series of interviews and declarations made to the Indian and British
press in the days following his meeting with Chiang Kai-shek and his wife
(February 10th), Nehru often emphasised the great importance of the
Chinese leaderâ€™s visit in terms of the friendship and co-operation between the
two countries. At the same time, however, he was determined to reject any
interpretation according to which the visit might lead to a radical change in
the Congressâ€™s policy towards Great Britain. As for Chiang, it seems
significant that during the last day of his stay in India (February 21st) he
wanted, in his â€œMessage to the Indian Peopleâ€