Communist China, while likewise viewing Portugal as an enemy and cheering the downfall of European colonial empires, was nonetheless quick to point to this expansion by India as proof that their territorial dispute was unlikely to be settled peacefully. The following year, in October of 1962, Chinese military forces launched a two-pronged offensive into the disputed territory. The Chinese overran the Indian border posts, inflicted heavy losses on the Indians and generally gained what they wanted. Their objectives having been achieved, in November the Chinese announced a cease-fire and the war ended with China retaining control of Aksai Chin which remains part of the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of China to this day. Later, in 1967, there were two minor skirmishes between Indian and Chinese forces in the Indian state of Sikkim and it was with an eye to Sikkim that the latest Chinese war games were held; a possible dress-rehearsal for war with India over this obscure province. Keep that in mind.
|Indian monument to pro-Axis leader Bose|
|Sikkim's last King & Queen|
The Kingdom of Sikkim was also no backward state living in primitive isolation. Although very small and having few resources, King Namgyal was actually quite successful at improving his tiny country. During his rather brief reign, while most people still lived very modestly by western standards, Sikkim became relatively better off than its neighbors. The literacy rate and per capita income in the Kingdom of Sikkim was double that in India, Bhutan and Nepal. Things were improving, Sikkim was doing well and becoming more educated and more productive under its new monarch. King Namgyal had been the leader of those who negotiated the normalization of relations between India and Sikkim when India became independent. Previously, the British Empire had maintained the same sort of relationship it had with most of the other numerous kings, princes, rajas and so forth of the region. He knew that things would be different after Indian independence and he was not wrong about that.
|King Palden Thondup Namgyal & Queen Hope|
On April 9, 1975 the Indian army, which was supposed to “protect” the tiny country, instead invaded Sikkim, which was powerless to resist them, and after his guard was overpowered and disarmed, the King was arrested and confined to his palace. The local pro-Indian government, backed by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, unanimously voted to abolish the monarchy and for Sikkim to be annexed by India. It was only then, after the occupation of Sikkim by the Indian military, that a referendum was held the following month, at a time and with voting locations that would mean many locals would be unable to reach them. The result was a forgone conclusion, returning a result of over 97% in favor of annexation to the Indian republic. Bitter locals reported that the vast majority of those voting had been Indians and not natives of Sikkim at all. Within a matter of days Gandhi and the Indian government passed the appropriate measures to make Sikkim a state in India and abolishing the monarchy.
|In happier days|
|The last King of Sikkim|
As such, I would propose that the Kingdom of Sikkim should be restored. I would want the same for Nepal and even for Tibet though that is surely expecting too much. Let these places be restored and make them absolutely “hands off” to the military forces of China and India alike. A monarchical buffer to keep India and China at a distance might be of benefit, not only to those involved, but to the wider world, including those countries which might be drawn in to another, even more serious, Sino-Indian conflict.