Forty Years Ago: February 18, 1979
China vs Vietnam
A large number of Chinese troops supported by artillery and aircraft invaded four northern provinces of Vietnam, Radio Hanoi announced. “In a large-scale invasion the Vietnamese troops fought back and killed at least 250 Chinese troops, according to a preliminary survey,” the broadcast said. Peking’s official Hsinhua News Agency said “the border situation has deteriorated with the reactionary Vietnamese authorities steadily escalating their armed incursions into China.”
An explosive situation has developed in the Hakumari-Shantipur sector of the Assam-Meghalaya border where the central police forces — the border security force on behalf of the Assam government and the central reserve police force representing Meghalaya — are poised against each other in full battle array. Yesterday, Assam’s commissioner of the division accompanied by the deputy commissioner of Kamrup district had visited the area by an IAF helicopter to study the police bandobast. The disputed territory, where Meghalaya has laid claim to about 400 sq kms of land, is largely inhabited by Garo tribals. Assam moving in a BSF battalion into the sector, it appears, has been prompted by Meghalaya’s decision to go ahead with the elections in the Mynraw-Rambral constituency of the Khasi Hills autonomous district council in which the Garo tribal inhabitants of this disputed area have been enrolled as voters. Assam fears that Meghalaya is trying to legalise its claim to the territory.
Imperial No More
The Iranian state radio reported that the new revolutionary government had ordered the dissolution of the 12,000-man Imperial Guard, which had been fiercely loyal to Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and had engaged revolutionary forces in last weekend’s bloody battles. The last commander of the Imperial Air Force, General Amir Hussein Rabaei, is now a “prisoner of the revolution”.