South Asia and Beyond

How Sikkim’s Merger With India Came About

NEW DELHI: It’s India’s least populous state but a strategic one that houses the Nathu La pass leading to Tibet. The kingdom wasn’t part of the hundreds of princely states in the sub-continent that merged with India in 1947 after Independence, thanks to the efforts of India’s first Home Minister Sardar Patel. But then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wanted Sikkim out. It remained that way till 1972 when Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi, as Prime Minister, took note of the Sikkim king’s moves that were inimical to India’s security. He was told to relent but he did not. That’s when India launched a 27-month covert intelligence operation, without military intervention or creating a fuss that the world would have taken note of. In this edition of ‘Simply Nitin’, StratNews Global Editor-in-Chief Nitin A. Gokhale narrates how Sikkim became the 22nd state of the Indian Union.

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Nitin A. Gokhale

Left to himself, Nitin A. Gokhale would rather watch films and sports matches but his day job as a media entrepreneur, communications specialist, analyst and author, leaves him little time to indulge in his primary interests. Gokhale in fact started his career in journalism in 1983 as a sports reporter. Since then he has, in the past 41 years, traversed the entire spectrum across print, broadcast and digital space. One of South Asia's leading strategic analysts, Gokhale has moved on from conventional media to become an independent media entrepreneur running three niche digital platforms—BharatShakti, StratNewsGlobal and Interstellar—besides undertaking consultancy and training workshops in communications for military institutions, corporates and individuals. Now better known for his conflict coverage and strategic analyses, Gokhale has lived and reported from India’s North-east for 23 years between 1983 and 2006, been on the ground at Kargil in the summer of 1999 and also brought us live coverage from Sri Lanka’s Eelam War IV between 2006-2009.    An alumni of the Asia-Pacific Centre for Security Studies in Hawaii, Gokhale now writes, lectures and analyses security and strategic matters in Indo-Pacific and travels regularly to US, Europe, Australia, South and South-East Asia to take part in various seminars and conferences. Gokhale is also a popular visiting faculty at India’s Defence Services Staff College, the three war colleges, India's National Defence College, College of Defence Management and the IB’s intelligence school.