Don't believe in Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai, Nehru told envoy

Four years before the 1962 war, Jawaharlal Nehru considered China "arrogant, devious, hypocritical and thoroughly unreliable" and advised his envoy to the country to bypass the then defence minister Krishna Menon in all communications from Beijing as his thinking on China was "clouded" due to his Communist background.

Giving insights to Nehru's views on China, the diary of G Parthasarathi, India's ambassador to China in 1958, which has never been published before has revealed the Indian premier was extremely wary of the country and thought that Beijing had "deliberately chosen to be anti-Indian".

Notes made by Parthasarathi reveal that Nehru did not trust the country despite the Panchsheel agreement. The notes were made after the late diplomat met Nehru for a briefing prior to his assignment in China in 1958. "So, GP, when has the foreign office told you Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai? Don't you believe it. I don't trust the Chinese one bit, despite Panchsheel and all that. The Chinese are arrogant, devious, hypocritical and thoroughly unreliable," the diary entry says, quoting Nehru during the meeting on March 18, 1958.

The diary entries have been made public for the first time by his son, Ashok Parthasarathi, who was the Science Advisor to late PM Indira Gandhi, in an article in the Defence and Security Alert (DSA) magazine.

The diary records in detail the final briefing the diplomat received from Nehru at his Teen Murti residence. "They have deliberately chosen to be anti-India. Your brief from me, therefore, is to be extremely vigilant about all Chinese intentions, policies and actions towards us," the entry quotes Nehru as saying.

The diary also brings out the rift between Nehru and his defence minister on how to handle China that had embarked on a major defence modernisation drive. Exposing the mistrust, the entry quotes Nehru as saying that Menon should be bypassed in all communication regarding China. "All your telegrams should be marked 'Top Secret' and sent to me alone. You should be especially careful to see that Krishna does not see your telegrams. You should be very careful in your meetings and discussions with Krishna," Nehru is quoted as saying. Nehru said while he and Menon shared a common world view, the latter allowed his "thinking and assessments to be clouded on the matter of our relations with China merely because China is Communist country".

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