- PRC Statement on Sikkim
- Hong Kong 9802
Summary: Chinese Foreign Ministry September 11 issued a strong condemnation of India’s quote annexation end quote of Sikkim. The statement represents the first official pronouncement of China’s position on Sikkim and on the most recent Indian action. It indicates Peking’s view of New Delhi as a willing and key adjunct in the furtherance of Moscow’s hegemonic designs on the area and underscores Peking’s apparent and heightened concern over its perception of stepped-up Soviet trouble-making in South Asia. The statement, however, does not go beyond strong verbal support of the Sikkimese people, refusal to recognize the quote annexation, end quote and a warning that such action will quote come to no good end. End quote In view of China’s current interest in countering what the PRC perceives as Soviet encroachment into the region, Peking will probably intensify her efforts to improve ties with other South Asian nations, which probably also view the Indian action with some alarm. End summary.
1. PRC Foreign Ministry September 11 issued a strongly-worded statement condemning India’s quote annexation end quote of Sikkim. The official blast at India follows a spate of PRC media reports during the past several weeks (WR 36 and 37) critical of New Delhi’s moves to make Sikkim an associate state.
2. According to the statement, the first publicly-released and official pronouncement of the PRC position, quote the Chinese Government solemnly states that it absolutely does not recognize India’s illegal annexation of Sikkim and that it firmly supports the people of Sikkim in their just struggle for national independence and sovereignty. End quote.
3. Raising the famous quote bully end quote theme, the Foreign Ministry charges that the quote flagrant end quote Indian action was carried out in disregard of the wishes of the Chogyal and the Sikkimese people, a theme amplified in recent PRC media reports. According to the statement, quote having inherited the mantle of imperialism, end quote India has quote always pursued a colonialist policy toward Sikkim. End quote. However, China contends that India seems to have been emboldened by her recent first nuclear test and quote thought it could do whatever it pleased with its neighbors. End quote.
4. The official PRC statement, however, clearly reveals and underscores Peking’s heightened apprehension about what the PRC perceives as stepped-up Soviet trouble-making in the area and stronger Indo-Soviet ties. The text explicitly points to Moscow’s lone support for India’s quote shameless act end quote and for quote Indira Gandhi’s government end quote as unmistakable evidence that Soviet revisionist social-imperialism is quote the boss behind the scene as well as the abettor of Indian expansionism. End quote. (PRC media comments have termed the Soviets as the quote ferocious enemy end quote of the South Asian countries.) An NCNA report of September 11 replayed statements from neighboring countries which asserted that Indira Gandhi’s forthcoming visit to Moscow in order to strengthen Indo-Soviet links is quote not a good omen end quote and probably a prelude to further troubles for the region. (We note that the Indian Foreign Minister is currently in Moscow for talks with Brezhnev.) With India’s relations with Moscow apparently in good order, Peking has given clear notice that the prospects for improved Sino-Indian relations which had warmed slightly last spring have greatly deteriorated.
5. Although the statement warns that quote expansionism will come to no good end, it provides no explicit threat and implies that the Indian action will be countered mainly by Sikkimese opposition to India as well as hopefully adverse world opinion against both Delhi and Moscow.
6. The strong PRC statement is at least partially attributable to long-term Chinese sensitivities toward Indian activities in Himalayan border states, concerns that are heightened by China’s desire to counter Soviet influence, including closer Indo-Soviet ties, throughout South Asia. We would anticipate that PRC will probably seek to play on fears of other countries in the area to strengthen its own bilateral ties with countries on India’s periphery.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Limited Official Use. It was repeated to Dhaka, Islamabad, Katmandu, New Delhi, Tokyo, Moscow, Beijing, Taipai, and CINCPAC.↩
- The consulate reported on the condemnation of India’s annexation of Sikkim by the People’s Republic of China.↩