22 thoughts on “Auld Alliance”

  1. India was also favorable to China in the 40s and 50s. It was Jawaharlal Nehru which dragged Chou Enlai to the Bandung Conference which proclaimed Panch Sheel . JN had romanitic visions of two giants of Asia working together to overturn western hegemony. Chinese were keen on referring to ‘Five Principles’ for a long term. But throughout 40s, 50s, and 60s Chinese shied away from calling themselves Third World- even in those days they were setting their targets on a long range play in the world affairs.

    1. This version of history is incorrect.

      It was actually Mao ze Dong who said first that China was ready to establish diplomatic relations with all countries which are willing to observe the principles of equality, mutual benefit and mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty. This principle was first declared in the common Program adopted by the First Session of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference on 29 September, 1949 as well as the Announcement of the Central Government of the People’s Republic of China made by Chairman Mao Zedong at the proclamation Ceremony Marking the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.

      Next, their first formal codification in treaty form was in an agreement between China and India in 1954. They were enunciated in the preamble to the “Agreement (with exchange of notes) on trade and intercourse between Tibet Region of China and India”, which was signed at Peking on 28 April 1954. This agreement stated the five principles [The full text of this agreement (which entered into force on 3 June 1954) is in United Nations Treaty Series, vol. 299, 57-81. Available at http://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%20299/v299.pdf%5D. This happened before JN started calling it Panch Sheel. This followed a series of intense negotiations (China agreed to negotiations between China and India on their relations in the Tibet Region which were held in Beijing from 31 December 1953 to 29 April 1954. Premier Zhou Enlai met with members of the Indian Government Delegation on 31 December 1953 where he put forward for the first time the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence).

      JN was the external affairs minister throught his PM reign; he rolled this into bandung through the
      the Ten Principles of International Peace and Cooperation enunciated in the Declaration issued by
      the April 1955 Bandung Conference of 29 Afro-Asian countries. It was then rolled up by India, Yugoslavia and Sweden, and unanimously adopted on December 11, 1957, by the United
      Nations General Assembly. In 1961, the Conference of Non-Aligned Nations in Belgrade accepted it.

      However, the father of Panch Sheel was MaoZedong, not JN , instead of what has been drilled into the head of Indian high school student.

      A truly hilarious (not ROFL, but a ha..ha) was Zhou en Lai later accused India of breaking the five principles of coexistence when the Himalayan skirmish started. This may not even be incorrect, because JN’s MEA was a wooly pie-in-the-sky affair; Krishna Menon, drugged heavily by this time, started the skirmish without even giving clear command. As always, JN was out of the loop in reality.

      1. Interesting read. The UN link does not work. I have always given Mao his due. If JN was full of himself, there is no word to describe Mao. Without a large dose of egotism , ruthlessness , intrigue, cunning and narcissism , he could not have survived the communist party rise, civil wars , wars with Japanese and hundred other impediments for which Nehru was wholly unsuited for. All this is not deny his undoubted originality, leadership , thinking and organizing abilities. While JN may be full of himself, Mao wholly escaped democratic reckoning and oversight , by design, unlike Nehru.

  2. Auld Alliance refers to alliance of Scotland and France presumably against the English in centuries goneby . I have been to a restaurant of that name in Wigtown or Kirkcudbright (pronounced kir-koo-brigh) in Dumfries and Galloway

  3. Ceylon PM at Bandung.
    How alliances have changed, China now the pal of Sri Lanka

    The Man from Ceylon. Nehru’s greatest irritant came from a restive member of his own Colombo powers, Ceylon’s Sir John Kotelawala. While Nehru debated how to approach Chou over the Formosa question, Sir John plunged ahead on his own. Meeting Chou early in the week, he demanded cheerily: “Why don’t we try to settle this Formosa problem?” Three times Kotelawala set up a luncheon meeting for Chou to discuss Formosa with the five Colombo powers and Romulo and Prince Wan. Chou begged off, once was whisked off to a dinner given by Nehru to which Sir John was not invited. Sir John lost patience.
    Stomping into the conference room in his black coat and jodhpurs, he announced his own plan: withdrawal of the U.S. Seventh Fleet, abandonment of Quemoy and Matsu, a trusteeship for Formosa either under the U.N. or the Colombo powers.
    Nehru was scornful. “Why under the United Nations?” he asked with heavy sarcasm. “I should think Ceylon would be quite enough.”
    Annoyed, Sir John furiously delivered himself of the conference’s plainest talk. If Chou really believed in coexistence, said Sir John, why did he not call off the subversive activities of the Communist parties throughout Asia? (see box next page). From that moment on, any move at Bandung to denounce “Western colonialism” while ignoring Communist imperialism was doomed to failure.
    Nehru, his carefully fostered illusions of coexistence rudely shattered, was furious. “Bloody fool,” spluttered Krishna Menon. Demanded Nehru: “Why didn’t you ask me before you did a thing like this?” Retorted Sir John: “Do you ask me for permission before you make a move?” Scowling, China’s Chou rose and demanded an opportunity to reply.

    Some other links about Bandung
    SIR JOHN KOTELAWALA, 58, Ceylon’s Prime Minister, is a man Nehru tends to patronize, and others to underrate. A neutralist, he first conceived the idea of the Colombo Powers (India, Pakistan, Burma, Indonesia and Ceylon), the group of ex-colonies who won their independence after World War II and banded together this year to sponsor the conference at Bandung. Though he opposes SEATO and wishes Chiang Kai-shek would exile himself from Formosa, Sir John insists that “there is no purpose in standing neutral for the benefit of the wrong party.”

    Sir John was as tactful as a bull in a China shop.

    Ceylon’s tactful Kotalawala steered the Prime Ministers back to Indo-China.
    Ceylon’s Kotalawala proposed a twin vote of censure against colonialism and “aggressive Communism.” in place of Nehru’s resolution. Nehru, who has always fought Communism at home, angrily retorted that Asians should not disturb external relations “with friendly powers.” Once more Pakistan’s Ali lashed at Nehru: “We can rid ourselves of colonialism,” he said, “but any country that is overrun by Communism may be lost forever.”

    Other Time reportd from 1955

      1. ” Once more Pakistan’s Ali lashed at Nehru: “We can rid ourselves of colonialism,” he said, “but any country that is overrun by Communism may be lost forever.””

        I mean considering the role of the Muslim league in India’s Independence movement, its a bit rich for a Pakistani to claim that they supposedly “rid ourselves of colonialism”

        1. Jinnah believed in constitutionalism and incrementalism. He did not believe in civil disobedience. That was one of his major differences with Gandhi. That doesn’t mean the Muslim League did not also want the British to withdraw from the subcontinent.

          1. “want” and “action” are two separate things. The quote represents action. Absoultly nothing which muslim league did falls into the ball park of “rid ourselves of colonialism”. Even the hindu right in that sense did more to oppose the British, considering that Savarkar spend more time in jail (not the vanilla type, but Andamans) than the whole of muslim league combined.

            I have no issues with the path muslim league took, but lets be honest about what they really did in form of “action”

          2. I don’t think going to jail equates with resistance to colonialism. The leaders of the ML did not believe in going to jail but in working within established institutions. But they were part of every effort to win more power for Indians and in negotiating the British exit.

      2. I do not know why you are so centred around skin color and behavioral characteristics of Asian leaders. There is nothing I see intrinsically “White” in discussing relationships between nations. Exactly what do you expect brownskinned brown men be doing in this situations? Not that John Kotalewala or Nehru could have made a change to anything, but why call them white or Brown?

    1. To be honest, sir John was not battling the two sharpest tools in the shed. JN was full of himself, with an exaggerated sense of self, and KM was, I do not know, completely divorced from reality.

      Within 7 years they would have their exaggerated self-esteem dashed to pieces, and Sukarno would smash the panchsheel in 10. Talk about vainglorious. I kind of prefer Rao and Singh to these fools, at least they were not full of themselves.

      They are not brown skinned whites, they were closer to the African uncle presidents.

  4. Saurav it appears to be that Jinnah and the ML is more popular among Hinduttva/RSS/BJP than among India’s left (communists, Congress etc.). Why do you think this is?

    Personally I admire Jinnah.

    I also favored constitutionalism and incrementalism. Or surging Indian merit, capacity and competence and gradually transitioning to full united Indian independence as Indian capacity increased. A conditions versus calendar approach. I favored a united India gradually becoming a dominion and for that dominion gradually getting more and more autonomy.

    But this is because I favored unity [maybe even a type of SAARC + Burma + Malaysia + Singapore federation unity]. Keeping the English in India for decades as India transitioned to full capacity, merit and independence would be useful for stability and to assuage various minorities.

    I divide India’s independence movement into two phases . . . pre 1937 when the English were behaving badly. And 1937 onwards when the English allowed elections, growing autonomy, growing local/state governance, and meritocratic promotions in the Indian civil service, British Indian Army, Indian railways, Indian postal service and other pan Indian institutions.

    Pre 1937 pressure the English to accept a plan to surge Indian capacity and independence over the long term. Post 1937 work with the English to actually surge Indian capacity and independence over the long term.

    Saurav you appear to have favored partition in 1947 which is why you wanted the English out quickly. But for those who didn’t favor partition a gradual English withdrawal and long term surge in Indian capacity would have been more attractive. Am I misreading you?

    If the English had left more gradually and fully committed themselves to surging Indian capacity I think India’s corruption problem and governance post 1947 would have been better. Ditto with Indian economic growth.

    1. Colonizers usually leave only when colonialism is no longer productive for them. The British did not leave India out of the goodness of their hearts but because, after World War II, keeping the “jewel in the crown” became unsustainable. An additional factor was the moral pressure from the Indian nationalists, but if Britain had not been suffering so much post-war, they could have held out in India longer.

      Colonialism is generally not about building the “capacity” of the colonized but rather about exploiting the resources for the benefit of the mother country. Why would anyone expect the British to have been any different?

    1. Not only was ancient history falsified, the similar thing happened with this Bandung Conference. If you read Wiki you cannot see that Yugoslavia attended this Conference. There is neither mentioning about this nor was the Yugoslavian flag presented among participants. It says that it was Asian-African Conference, forgetting that also Cyprus’s Makarios also attended. When you do Google search ‘Bandung conference’, it shows links and photo from the Conference with Tito, Nehru, Nasser, Sukarno, Nkrumah. When you click the link you cannot see Yugoslavia at all.


      Yugoslavia was actually one of the leaders at Bandung and all subsequent conferences.
      If you see other link, you can somehow find out that Tito was also present at this Conference.


      This Conference made a preparation for establishing the Non-Aligned Movement as a group of states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. It was established in 1961 in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. An initiative of Yugoslav president Josip Broz Tito and Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru led to the first Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries.

      The purpose of the organisation has been enumerated as to ensure “the national independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and security of non-aligned countries” in their “struggle against imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, and all forms of foreign aggression, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony as well as against great power and bloc politics,” by Fidel Castro in his Havana Declaration of 1979. The countries of the Non-Aligned Movement represent nearly two-thirds of the United Nations’ members and contain 55% of the world population. Membership is particularly concentrated in countries considered to be developing or part of the Third World, though the Non-Aligned Movement also has a number of developed nations.

      The first 10 conferences of NAM were at: Belgrade, Cairo, Lusaka, Algiers, Colombo, Havana, New Delhi, Harare, Belgrade, Jakarta.

  5. Nadeem Paracha is exaggerating the importance of Pakistan, which acted as a messenger boy/girl sometimes . Basically States recognize other states , nature of the regime itself is of much less importance. PRC has proved to be a stable entity for many years and China was one of the founding members of the UN in 1945. So the world had to get the ‘real’ China on board sooner or later. There were attempts by countries in the UN to chuck out Taiwan (Republic of China) and bring in PRC. Pakistan dared not make open attempts at the UN since it was and is a US lackey. PRC representing perhaps 20% of the world’s population could not be kept out of UN for too long as the UN would lose credibility. Even many western countries had recognized PRC before 71; so it was just a question of time. The issue in admitting PRC to the UN also involved de-recognizing Republic of China , which claimed that is the sole continuation of China which was a UN Founding member (and Big Four) in 1946. Due to these complications PRC was recognized as ‘true’ China bit late and admitted to the UN and RoC lost it’s seat.

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