60 YEARS AGO

Photos: When India’s first prime minister visited China in 1954

Obsession
Modi's Moment
Quartz india
Obsession
Modi's Moment
Quartz india

In October 1954, India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru set off on what was described as the “most important foreign mission of his life”: A trip to China.

It was also, as the New York Times noted, the first visit by a non-communist head of state since the creation of the People’s Republic of China.

“The six miles between city and airport were walled by unbroken banks of humanity, clapping, cheering and crying the inescapable Chinese slogan, ‘Long live peace’,” the newspaper reported.

Decades before their economic rise came to define the region and beyond, Nehru met chairman Mao Zedong, held talks with the first Chinese premier, Zhou EnLai, and visited Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou (Canton). He was accompanied by his daughter, and later also prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi.

And although the visit seemingly cemented ties, building on the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (pdf) agreed upon earlier that year, the two countries eventually were at war by 1962.

Now, as India’s current prime minister Narendra Modi makes a much-touted visit to China, here is what Nehru’s trip was like some 60 years ago.

Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru and Mao Tse-tung, Chairman of the PR of China, toasting at the Banquet held in honour of the Prime Minister’s visit, at Peking, on October 23, 1954, by the Chairman of the PR of China.
Nehru and Mao toasting at a banquet held in honour of the prime minister’’s visit at Peking (Beijing) on October 23, 1954. (Photo division/Government of India)
Photo Studio/Oct.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru’s visit to China in October, 1954. Banquet by Mr. Chou En-lai, Prime Minister of China at Peking Hotel.
Photo shows the Prime Minister of India being conducted  the Banquet Hall by the Prime Minister Mr. Chou En-lai.
Nehru at the banquet hall with premier EnLai. (Photo division/Government of India)
Ph. Studio/Oct.’54, A63k
The Summer Palace Peking, Photograph taken during P.M. Shri Jawaharlal Nehru visit to China in October 1954.
Prime Minister & Mrs. Gandhi being taken round the corridors of the Palace.
Nehru and Indira Gandhi being taken around the corridors of the Summer Palace in Beijing. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Oct.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister’s Tour of the Prime Minister of China:
At the Reception held in his honour in Peking on October 19, 1954 by the Prime Minister of the PR of China, Mr. Chou En-Lai (left). On Shri Jawaharlal Nehru’s left is the Dalai and Panchen Lamas of Tibet.
Nehru’ with the Dalai and Panchen Lamas of Tibet. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Oct.’54, A22a(I)
Prime Minister’s Tour of the PR of China.
Visit to the Lama Temple in Peking on October 21, 1954.
Nehru at the Lama Temple in Beijing (Peking) on October 21, 1954. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Oct.’54, A22a(I)
Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru being conducted rounds the Anshan Steel Factory Anshan which he visited on October 24, 1954. (PR of China).
Nehru at a steel factory in Anshan in the north east of China. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Oct.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru getting speech recorded for the Peking Radio on October 26, 1954 during his visit to the P.R. of China.
Nehru recording a speech for Peking Radio on October 26, 1954. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Oct.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru being conducted round Dr. Sun-Yat Sen’s Memorial on October 27, 1954, which he visited during his tour of the People’s Republic of China.
Nehru at the Dr. Sun-Yat Sen’ Memorial on October 27, 1954. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Nov.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister, Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, being taken round the worker’s quarters at Shanghai on October 28, 1954, during his visit to China and Far East Countries.
Nehru being taken round worker’s’ quarters at Shanghai on October 28, 1954. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Nov.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister’s visit to the Young Pioneers’ Palace in Shanghai (PR of China) on October 28, 1954: Shri Jawaharlal Nehru is seen here among a group of Young Pioneers.
Nehru with a group of Young Pioneers (Scouts) in Shanghai. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Oct.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister’s Tour of the PR of China : Crowds lining up the Canton throughfares, cheering the Indian Prime Minister as he passed on, during his visit to the city on October 30, 1954.
Crowds cheering the Indian prime minister during his visit to Canton on October 30, 1954. (Photo division/Government of India)
Studio/Oct.54,A22a(i)
Prime Minister’s Tour of the PR of China : Taking the salute at a Guard of Honour prior to his departure from Canton on October 30, 1954, after visiting the city.
Nehru taking the salute at a guard of honour prior to his departure from Canton on October 30, 1954, after visiting the city. (Photo division/Government of India)
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