Himalayan Challenge: India, China and the Quest for Peace

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In September 1978, at the invitation of the prestigious Chinese people’s Institute of foreign affairs, Subramanian Swamy, then a Lok Sabha member of Parliament of the ruling Janata party and an elected member of the Party’s National executive, travelled to China as an envoy of the then prime Minister, Morarji Desai, where he met senior leader Ji pengfei. This led to the first contact, since 1962, between the ruling parties of both countries. Later, in April 1981, Swamy, the then deputy leader of the opposition, was invited to meet China’s Supreme leader, Chairman Deng Xiaoping. In this historic 100-minute meeting, Swamy successfully persuaded Deng to reopen the—Kailash Mansarovar route for Hindu pilgrims. In August that year, he also led the first delegation to the holy site, which he Revisited as a guest of the Chinese government in June 2016. It is this vast, first-hand experience that Swamy combines with a provocative exploration of historical sources and fascinating new insights to create Himalayan challenge—the most compelling and definitive account of India–China relations. From uncovering the perfidy committed by the British vis-a-vis the McMahon line in 1936 and the circumstances leading to the folly of war in 1962, to the current fluid situation at the border, this seminal work effortlessly blends meticulous scholarship and memoir-style writing in an intellectually rich fashion. Swamy breaks new ground when he suggests a middle path—grounded in pragmatism, and not carried out over fear or overreaction—that India must take in her interactions with China.