When China Accused India of Stealing Sheep And Got An Epic Reply From Vajpayee

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China has always had a thing for India. Well, not literally a thing but a stance. And no other incident can explain it better but the one that happened at the Sikkim border back in 1965.

The incident dates back to the time when an interesting exchange of letters was happening between both the countries. China accused India of stealing a flock of 800 sheep and 49 yaks. Yes, and that too from a Tibetan herdsmen near the Sikkim border. In those letters, China demanded the sheep back from India or warned the country to stay on toes for a war.

To protest against this, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who was then a member of the Parliament guided a heard of sheep to the Chinese embassy in Delhi. Well, this wasn’t just it. They carried placards saying, “Eat me but save the world.”

What made China fury? 

China was in a rage that the protest had come out in the open. It shot an angry letter to the Indian embassy in China complaining how Indian Government backed for Vajpayee’s protest.

The letter also accused the Indian troops of incursion into the Chinese territory and building military structures there.

The Indian government replied, “About the four Tibetan inhabitants allegedly kidnapped by Indian troops, an adequate reply has been given in the Indian notes of September 17 and 21. Like other Tibetan refugees, these four people had come into India on their own volition and without our permission and taken refuge in India. They are free to go back to Tibet at any time if they desire to do so. A proposal of the 800 sheep and 59 yaks the Government of India have already given a reply in the clearest terms possible. We know nothing of the yaks and as regards the sheep it is up to the two herdsmen concerned to take them to Tibet if and when they choose to go back to their homeland.”

What did India have to say about the protest?

India said, “In its note of September 26, China has protested against the peaceful demonstration which was held near the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on September 24 when some of the citizens of Delhi took in procession about 800 sheep. The Government of India had nothing to do with this demonstration. It was a spontaneous, peaceful and good-humoured expression of the resentment of the citizens of Delhi against the Chinese ultimatum and the threat of war against India on trumped-up and trivial issues.”

Atal Bihari Vajpayee with his counterpart in 2003

It is pretty clear that China was itching for long for a fight and inventing vague reasons for it. These allegations by China finally led to the Sikkim border conflict between India and China that happened in 1967. India emerged a winner in this conflict. India lost nearly 80 Indian soldiers while 300 to 400 Chinese soldiers were killed.

Source: The Economic Times

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