China calculated that its March 2, 1963 agreement with Pakistan on "Sinkiang and contiguous areas" – territories claimed by India – would stiffen Jawaharlal Nehru’s resistance to making any concessions to Pakistan and drive a wedge between New Delhi and Karachi.
Recently declassified CIA documents show that the Chinese were engaged in a major effort to win over the Pakistanis both before and after the Sino-Indian war of 1962.
An appendix in the papers, entitled "Sino-Pakistani Border Negotiations: 1960-1963", declassified with a host of other documents, quoted a Pakistani official as saying that the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" applied in New Delhi.
Though the Chinese had held Pakistan to be a member of the "imperialist military bloc", Beijing opened talks with Karachi in 1960 in an effort to exacerbate differences between India and Pakistan.
As China became the "enemy" of India in 1959-60 and the United States gradually came to be New Delhi’s "best friend", the Pakistanis looked to a closer relationship with the Chinese against a "common enemy", the CIA believed.
"During the border experts talks with the Indians in 1960, the Chinese experts consistently refused to discuss the segment of the boundary west of the Karakoram Pass, as such action would have implied Chinese recognition of Indian ownership of that segment of territory," the CIA document argued.
In January 1961, the Pakistanis indicated that a preliminary boundary agreement was being negotiated with China. According to the CIA document, India did not miss the significance of these Chinese moves.
Foreign Secretary Subimal Dutt told US ambassador Ellsworth Bunker on January 24, 1961 that Sino-Pakistani policy was very clear: "to isolate India and cast her in an intransigent role."
"Dutt speculated that to accomplish this the Chinese might even concede all the Pakistani claims involving some 6,000 square miles of territory – a guess which depicted the Chinese leaders as being more generous than they actually proved to be, but captured the spirit of the attitude," the document continued.
The Chinese apparently made no attempt to persuade the Pakistanis to give up any territory they already controlled and even conceded several hundred miles of valley grazing land on their side.
The CIA papers also quoted a People’s Daily editorial (March 4, 1962) as saying that after the Kashmir dispute was settled either of the "disputants" – Pakistan or India -- would have the right to "reopen negotiations with the Chinese government on the boundary treaty to replace the agreement".
The editorial holds considerable relevance for India even today since New Delhi and Beijing are now engaged in a complex process to resolve their long-running border dispute. However, differences in the western sector, the exact subject of the CIA papers, have prevented the two countries from exchanging maps.