China’s Invasion of Tibet
The 1950–1951 invasion of Tibet by the People’s Liberation Army resulted in significant changes in the Chinese relationship with Nepal. China ordered restrictions on the entry of Nepalese pilgrims and contacts with Tibet and increased its support for the Communist Party of Nepal, which was opposed to the continuing of the Nepalese monarchy.
Mao repeatedly stated from 1950 onwards that Taiwan, Tibet, and Hainan Islands were Chinese territories and would be repossessed in time and the predominant trait in this claim was the sudden appearance of “existing maps showing large parts of Korea, Indo-China, Mongolia, Burma, Malaysia, Eastern Turkestan, India, Tibet, Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan as Chinese territories.” Later Mao stated publicly that Tibet was the palm of a hand, and its five fingers were Ladakh, Sikkim, Nepal, Bhutan, and North East Frontier Agency.
Worried by this statement in 1952, King Tribhuwan of Nepal invited an Indian Military Mission (IMM) to reorganize and modernise his army which earlier was kept part-time and when not on duty followed other professions. Periodically, they were called for parades in Kathmandu and were ill-equipped and ill-paid.
The IMM arrived at Kathmandu “on February 28, 1952, and was tasked to assist in the reorganization of the Nepali Army, formulating defence plans against internal and external threats, and improving intelligence and administrative establishments. The IMM consisted of a Major General assisted by 20 Indian army officers. In December 1953, its strength was a total of 197, all ranks. On its recommendations, by April 1952, the RNA was downsized from 25,000 ill-organised soldiers to 6000 well trained and equipped ones.
In September 1951, 17 check posts were established along Nepal’s borders with China and were manned jointly by 75 Indian technicians and Nepalese Army personnel. Unfortunately, under pressure domestically and from China, in mid-1958, the King asked India to withdraw the IMM.