Party MP and communications chief Jairam Ramesh dubbed Rijiju as the “latest entrant to the Modi stable of Distorians” and said his false claim was “exposed” by two top secret telegrams that were declassified in 2018 and which have been referred to in a documentary study of India-China Relations between 1947 and 2000 edited by former MEA historian Avtar Singh Bhasin.
Rijiju had claimed that in 1951 when the then governor sent an Assam Rifles team to Tawang, it was merged with India by the paramilitary unit.
Ramesh, however, shared the two telegrams — from the Indian mission in Lhasa on March 11, 1951, and its reply of March 14, 1951 — to assert that Nehru was himself foreign minister at the time and would have seen the first and drafted or himself or approved the second.
The second telegram says: “As you are aware, Tawang, which was administered by Tibet, came to us under the Boundary Agreement of 1914 with Tibet. It may be explained to the Tibetan government that, in view of the special relations between the two governments, it was hitherto not considered necessary by us to send a garrison to Tawang or, indeed, to any other part of the McMahon line. The position changed radically when Tibet was invaded, especially became imperative to vindicate McMahon Line and in particular to occupy Tawang. This explanation should be given verbally and not in writing as it is important to avoid any suggestion that our action needs justification.”
Ramesh added that the content of both telegrams has been documented in Vol-I of India-China Relations 1947-2000: A Documentary Study edited by Avtar Singh Bhasin (2018).
“The conclusion is irrefutable: the raising of the Indian flag at Tawang in early February 1951 was a policy decision based on strategic considerations. The exact timing of the operation had been left by Nehru and others to local commanders,” he said, dismissing Rijiju’s claims as “utter lies”.