Olaf Caroe

Last updated

Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Kruuse Caroe KCSI KCIE (15 November 1892 – 23 November 1981) was an administrator in British India, working for the Indian Civil Service and the Indian Political Service. He served as the Foreign Secretary to the Government of India during the World War II and later as the Governor of the North-West Frontier Province (the frontier with Afghanistan). As Foreign Secretary, he was responsible for reviving the McMahon Line, which included the Assam Himalayan frontier (present day Arunachal Pradesh) within India. After retirement, Caroe took on the role of a strategist of the Great Game and the Cold War on the southern periphery of the Soviet Union. His ideas are believed to have been highly influential in shaping the post-War policies of Britain and the United States. Scholar Peter Brobst calls him the "quintessential master of the Great Game" and the "foremost strategic thinker of British India" in the years before independence. [1]

Contents

Early life

Olaf Caroe was the son of architect William Douglas Caroe and Grace Desborough Rendall. He was educated at Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford, [2] where he read classics.

He went to India during World War I as an officer in the Indian Army (then called the Territorial Army). He served in Punjab along the Afghan frontier. [3] [1]

Career

In 1919, Caroe joined the Indian Civil Service, and soon moved to the Indian Political Service. He was influential in foreign policy and rose to be the Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, serving in that role through the World War II. [1]

When he was deputy foreign secretary, Caroe is credited with getting the Government of India to reaffirm the McMahon Line, which had been negotiated by a former Foreign Secretary Henry McMahon with Tibet in the Simla Convention of 1914. The McMahon Line ran along the crest of the Himalayan ranges east of Bhutan, and incorporated the present day Arunachal Pradesh within the territory of India. For various reasons, the Simla Convention was not operationalised until 1935, and the official publication of the treaties of the Government of India, Aitchison's Treaties, did not include it. [lower-alpha 1] Caroe obtained the British government's permission to revise the official Indian maps to show the McMahon Line as the new boundary and to include the Simla Convention in a revised volume of Aitchison's Treaties but to do so "unobtrusively". [6] Caroe reissued the new volume in 1938, but still carrying the original 1929 date, and had the original volumes withdrawn. When the matter was discovered in 1963, it gave rise to accusation of a "virtual falsification" of the official records. [7] Scholar Karunakar Gupta states that Caroe's zeal in operationalising the McMahon Line warrants it being renamed the "McMahon–Caroe Line". [8]

Caroe took a great interest in involving native Indian officials in foreign service and training them in diplomacy. Two of Caroe's officers rose to high ranks after independence: K. P. S. Menon, who became India's ambassador to China and Soviet Union as well as foreign secretary, and A. S. B. Shah, who headed Pakistan's Political Service and later went as ambassador to Egypt. [9]

After the war, Caroe was appointed as the Governor of the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), on the northwest border of the Indian subcontinent, adjoining Afghanistan and Russia. [1] He served in this role from 1946 to just before the Partition of India in 1947. Subject to accusations that he was too close to the Muslim League, [10] he encountered opposition from Congress Party politicians, [11] and was replaced in mid-1947 by Rob Lockhart as governor.

Strategist

He wrote extensively after returning to Britain in 1947. [12] His strategic ideas proved influential in the United States:

At about this time there were those in Washington, looking for ways to secure the oil resources and practice containment in the middle east. The formulations of Sir Olaf Caroe attracted attention and soon found favour in official circles. His article in the March 1949 number of Round Table and his 1951 book, Wells of Power, led to invitations from the state and defence departments to visit Washington. [12]

Works

Notes

  1. The Simla Convention was an ambiguous trilateral treaty negotiated between Britain, Tibet and China, but it was signed only by Britain and Tibet as binding upon themselves. China declined to sign it. No action was taken to implement the treaty for roughly two decades, partly out of concerns that it was in violation of the Anglo-Russian Convention, partly out of hope that China could be persuaded to join it and otherwise due to "vagaries of bureaucratic politics". [4] [5]

Related Research Articles

The Sino-Indian War, also known as the Indo-China War, Sino-Indian Border Conflict and, by some, Clash on the Roof of the World, was a war between China and India that occurred in 1962. A Chinese disputed Himalayan border was the main cause of the war. There had been a series of violent border skirmishes between the two countries after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when India granted asylum to the Dalai Lama. India initiated a defensive Forward Policy from 1960 to hinder Chinese military patrols and logistics, in which it placed outposts along the border, including several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of the Line of Actual Control proclaimed by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959.

Hunza (princely state)

Hunza, also known as Kanjut, was a princely state in a subsidiary alliance with British India from 1892 to August 1947, for three months was unaligned, and then from November 1947 until 1974 was a princely state of Pakistan. Hunza covered territory now forming the northernmost part of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan.

Francis Younghusband British Army officer, explorer, and spiritual writer

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Francis Edward Younghusband, was a British Army officer, explorer, and spiritual writer. He is remembered for his travels in the Far East and Central Asia; especially the 1904 British expedition to Tibet, led by himself, and for his writings on Asia and foreign policy. Younghusband held positions including British commissioner to Tibet and President of the Royal Geographical Society.

McMahon Line Boundary between the Tibetan region of China and India

The McMahon Line is a demarcation line between Tibet and British India, including Assam Himalaya and Burma, negotiated and signed by the two parties as part of the 1914 Simla Convention. It is currently the generally recognized boundary between China and India, although its legal status is disputed by the Chinese government.

British expedition to Tibet 1903-1904 expedition

The British expedition to Tibet, also known as the British invasion of Tibet or the Younghusband expedition to Tibet began in December 1903 and lasted until September 1904. The expedition was effectively a temporary invasion by British Indian forces under the auspices of the Tibet Frontier Commission, whose purported mission was to establish diplomatic relations and resolve the dispute over the border between Tibet and Sikkim. In the nineteenth century, the British had conquered Burma and Sikkim, with the whole southern flank of Tibet coming under the control of the British Raj. Tibet, ruled by the Dalai Lama under the Ganden Phodrang government, was the only Himalayan state under Chinese instead of British influence.

A long series of events triggered the Sino-Indian War in 1962. According to John W. Garver, Chinese perceptions about the Indian designs for Tibet, and the failure to demarcate a common border between China and India were important in China's decision to fight a war with India.

Sino-Indian border dispute Border dispute between China and India

The Sino-Indian border dispute is an ongoing territorial dispute over the sovereignty of two relatively large, and several smaller, separated pieces of territory between China and India. The first of which, Aksai Chin, is claimed by China as part of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Tibet Autonomous Region and claimed by India as part of the union territory of Ladakh; it is a virtually uninhabited high-altitude wasteland in the larger regions of Kashmir and Tibet and is crossed by the Xinjiang-Tibet Highway. The other disputed territory is south of the McMahon Line, formerly known as the North East Frontier Agency and now called Arunachal Pradesh. The McMahon Line was part of the 1914 Simla Convention signed between British India and Tibet, without China's agreement. As of 2020, India continues to maintain that the McMahon Line is the legal border in the east. China has never accepted that border, stating that Tibet was never independent when it signed the Simla Convention.

Henry McMahon

Lieutenant Colonel Sir Vincent Arthur Henry McMahon was a British Indian Army officer and diplomat who served as the High Commissioner in Egypt from 1915 to 1917. He was also an administrator in the British Raj and served twice as Chief Commissioner of Balochistan. McMahon is best known for the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence with Hussein bin Ali, the McMahon Line between Tibet and India, and the Declaration to the Seven in response to a memorandum written by seven notable Syrians. After the Sykes-Picot Agreement was published by the Bolshevik Russian government in November 1917, McMahon resigned. He also features prominently in Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T.E. Lawrence's account of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during World War I.

A political demarcation line is a geopolitical border, often agreed upon as part of an armistice or ceasefire.

Simla Convention Treaty concerning the status of Tibet

The Simla Convention, or the Convention Between Great Britain, China, and Tibet, [in] Simla, was an ambiguous treaty concerning the status of Tibet negotiated by representatives of the Republic of China, Tibet and Great Britain in Simla in 1913 and 1914.

Tibet (1912–1951) Historical de facto independent region of Republic of China

The polity of Tibet between the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912 and the annexation by the People's Republic of China in 1951 was a de facto independent state.

South Tibet is a literal translation of the Chinese term '藏南' (Zàngnán), which may refer to different geographic areas:

Lieutenant-Colonel Evelyn Hey Cobb, OBE was an officer in the British Indian Army and served as Political Administrator in various capacities in North-West India. He started the tradition of holding a polo tournament at Shandur.

Alastair Lamb is a diplomatic historian who has authored several books on Sino-Indian border dispute and the Indo-Pakistani dispute over Kashmir. He has also worked in archaeology and ethnography in Asia and Africa.

Demchok sector Disputed region between China and India in Ladakh and Tibet

The Demchok sector is a disputed region centered on the villages of Demchok, Ladakh and Dêmqog, Ngari Prefecture, situated near the confluence of the Charding Nullah and Indus River. It is part of the greater Sino-Indian border dispute between China and India. Both India and China claim the disputed region, with a Line of Actual Control between the two nations situated along the Charding Nullah.

Tibet-India relations Relations between Tibet and India

India–Tibet relations are said to have begun during the spread of Buddhism to Tibet from India during the 7th and 8th centuries AD. In 1959, the Dalai Lama fled to India after the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising. Since then, Tibetans-in-exile have been given asylum in India, with the Indian government accommodating them into 45 residential settlements across 10 states in the country. From around 150,000 Tibetan refugees in 2011, the number fell to 85,000 in 2018, according to government data. Many Tibetans are now leaving India to go back to Tibet and other countries such as United States or Germany. The Government of India, soon after India's independence in 1947, treated Tibet as a de facto independent country. However, more recently India's policy on Tibet has been mindful of Chinese sensibilities, and has recognized Tibet as a part of China.

Migyitun Town in Tibet, China

Migyitun, also called Tsari or Zhari, is a town in the Lhöntse County of Tibet's Shannan Prefecture. It is on the banks of the Tsari Chu river close to the McMahon Line, the de facto border with India's Arunachal Pradesh. It is also a key part of the Tsari pilgrimage of Buddhists, made once in twelve years, that makes a wide circumambulation of the Dakpa Sheri mountain.

The Agreement between the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China on Trade and Intercourse Between Tibet Region of China and India 1954 was signed in Peking on 29 April 1954, and contained the first formal codification of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. In retrospect, especially following the 1962 war, the agreement has been seen as a "diplomatic blunder" on the part of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Longju is a disputed area in the eastern sector of the China–India border, controlled by China but claimed by India. It is located in the Tsari valley 2.5 kilometres (1.6 mi) south of Migyitun, which is considered the historical border. India had a border post at Longju until 1959, when it was attacked by Chinese border troops and forced to withdraw. Indian border troops continued to patrol the location until the 1962 Sino-Indian War.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 Brobst, Kashmir 1947 1998, p. 93.
  2. "Personal recollections of Sir Olaf Caroe". university of Leeds Special Collections. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
  3. Brobst, The Future of the Great Game 2005, p. xvi.
  4. Hoffmann (1990), p. 19: "In the absence of Chinese acquiescence, and with the onset of World War I, acceptance of the McMahon line by the British themselves (and especially by the British home government in London) became lukewarm and even unsupportive. British policy toward the line thereafter varied according to changing international circumstances (among them the problematical Russian attitude toward the Simla agreement in 1914) and the vagaries of bureaucratic politics in London, India, and Assam itself."
  5. Mehra (1972), p. 305: "... what is patent is that for nearly two decades after 1914, the dubious risk of attracting Russian, and later Chinese, attention continued to be the principal reason for the non-publication of the Simla Convention and its adjuncts, the Trade Regulations and the India Tibet boundary agreement."
  6. Hoffmann (1990) , p. 20: "As of 1936 the India Office [of the British government] was prepared to concur with the suggestions about Aitchison's Treaties and the Survey of India change, but it set forth certain conditions. Of these the most important was that unnecessary publicity should be avoided; the press should not even be notified of the Aitchison changes.
  7. Banerji, Arun Kumar (2007), "Borders", in Jayanta Kumar Ray (ed.), Aspects of India's International Relations, 1700 to 2000: South Asia and the World, Pearson Education India, pp. 173–256, ISBN   978-81-317-0834-7 : "Accordingly, a new edition of the vol. 14 of the Aitchison's Treaties was published in 1937, but to make the changes unobtrusive, it was passed off as the 1929 edition. This amounted to a virtual falsification of official documents.[61] Copies of the original 1929 edition of the Aitchison's Treaties were withdrawn and destroyed, with the possible exception of one, kept in the Harvard Library."
  8. Gupta, Karunakar (July–September 1971), "The McMahon Line 1911-45: The British Legacy", The China Quarterly (47): 526, JSTOR   652324
  9. Brobst, The Future of the Great Game 2005 , pp. 31–33: "Department of External Affairs might form a cadre of Indian strategists for the future of the Great Game. He therefore did what he could to foster strategic thinking among his Indian deputies and to enlarge their professional experience."
  10. Wali Khan, Khan Abdul, "Chapter 18: Mountbatten Gets to Work", Facts are sacred, Awami National Party, archived from the original on 18 July 2004
  11. Parshotam Mehra, The force Badshah Khan built (review of The Pathan Unarmed: Opposition & Memory in the North West Frontier by Mukulika Banerjee), Tribune India 2 December 2001
  12. 1 2 Rudolph, Lloyd I.; Rudolph, Susanne Hoeber (25 February 2006), "The Making of US Foreign Policy for South Asia" (PDF), Economic and Political Weekly : 703–709, archived from the original (PDF) on 4 September 2006

Bibliography

Political offices
Preceded by
Ronald Evelyn Leslie Wingate
Chief Commissioner of Balochistan
1937–1938
Succeeded by
Arthur Edward Broadbent Parsons
Preceded by
Sir George Cunningham
Governor of the North-West Frontier Province
1946–1947
Succeeded by
Sir Robert Lockhart