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HIMALAYAN RIVERS: GEOPOLITICS AND STRATEGIC PERSPECTIVES*

Claude Arpi

On 7 October 1950, the Second Field Army of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China marched into eastern Tibet to ‘liberate’ the ‘roof of the world’. Several factors can explain this move.

A few days after the beginning of the invasion, China’s official Xinhua News Agency issued a communiqué that the PLA would soon achieve ‘the task of marching into Tibet to liberate the Tibetan people, to complete the important mission of unifying the motherland, to prevent imperialism from encroaching on even one inch of our sovereign territory and to protect and build the frontiers of the motherland.’1 This enumerates some of Mao’s motivations.

The historian, Warren Smith (1997), has ...

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