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US asked India for military action in Tibet

September 10, 2007

NEW DELHI: The United States had asked India to threaten China with military action in 1964 if it did not remove defence installations from Tibet, a new book has revealed.

The suggestion was made during discussions the then US ambassador to India Chester Bowles had in 1964 with the political leadership, including Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, said a book "India & the United States: Politics of the Sixties" authored by senior journalist Kalyani Shankar.

Bowles, in a "top secret" letter to McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the then US President Lyndon Johnson, had said that the "ominous development" of the Chinese nuclear weapons can be made to serve "our political purposes here in India".

The envoy said that during his discussions with Shastri, T T Krishnamachari, Y B Chavan and Morarji Desai he had "referred vaguely" to information about a testing installation in West China which they had received from other sources.

"India could take a position similar to that which we took in Cuba, i.e. an ultimatum to the Chinese to remove such installations from Tibet or to see them blown up by the Indian Air Force," Bowles said in the letter dated September 16, 1964.

According to him, the other options before India if the Chinese fully developed nuclear weapons were to go for its own deterrent capability or reach an understanding with the US for a nuclear umbrella similar to the those provided to Japan, the Scandinavian countries and other nations.

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