The Dalai Lama arrives in India (West Kameng district of NEFA)SlideShow | Thumbnails
by Claude Arpi Fifty years ago, on March 10, 1959, the population of the Tibetan capital revolted against the Chinese Communist presence on the Roof of the World. A few days later, the Dalai Lama, the temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people left his native land, taking the direction of India. An aspect of this event is rarely debated in India: the strategic angle, though it has serious implications for the country, probably at par with the Partition of the subcontinent 12 years earlier. The flight of the Tibetan leader meant that a second front opened for the already stretched Indian defence forces. Indirectly (some say directly), this triggered the war with China three years later. Let us recollect the facts. On October 7, 1950, 40,000 troops of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) led by Lui Bocheng, the one-eyed General and his Political Commissar, Deng Xiaoping, crossed the Yangtze river and smashed the weak Tibetan defences.