The 1962 Sino-india War

India has never waged a war against any nation by itself. But it is a country which has always fought for its rights and Independence since the Mughals and the Britishers. India had fought some fierce battle bravely in the past and one among those is the Sino-China War.

ABOUT THE 1962 SINO-INDIA WARUPSC Prelims 2024 dynamic test series
The Sino-India war, better known as the Indo-China war was a battle that took place between India and China from October 20 to November 21 in 1962. India never anticipated that China could wage a war but China proved it wrong when it launched an attack on India on October 20, 1962. India was not prepared for the war and as a result, 10,000-20,000 Indian soldiers had to clash against the mighty Chinese troops of 80,000. The thing which is even more perplexing is that the Chinese attacked despite India’s continuous effort to cooperate with China in the external affairs and maintain friendly relations between the two Asian giants. Noticeably, India that time had just thrown off the colonial masters and this is why it did not want a war at that time.
WHAT IS AKSAI CHIN?           
Aksai Chin is the southwestward extension of the Tibetan plateau. It is one of the two large disputed border areas between India and China. India claims Aksai Chin as the easternmost part of the union territory of Ladakh whereas china claims that Aksai Chin is the part of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and Tibet. Aksai Chin is almost the size of Bhutan and a little smaller than Switzerland. It has been the subject of dispute between India and China since the war in 1962. China had occupied most of the parts of Aksai Chin after the conflict of 1962 and consolidated its military grip over the area, rejecting all the attempts by India to settle border dispute peacefully.

The main reason for the Indo-China war was a dispute over the sovereignty of the widely separated Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh border regions. India claimed Aksai Chin to be the part of Ladakh whereas China claimed it as the part of Xinjiang. Interestingly, the region Aksai Chin contains an important road link that connects the Chinese regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. Aksai Chin was long and ignored corner of the subcontinent due to its remoteness and isolation. But China constructed a military road through it in the 1950s to connect Tibet and Xinjiang. When India discovered this road and objected the Chinese presence in the area, it triggered the ongoing conflict between the two nations and ultimately resulted in the sharp border clashes.
  • After the independence of the Republic of India and the formation of the People’s Republic of China in the year 1949, one of the Indian policies was to maintain cordial relations with China.
  • But when China announced that it would occupy Tibet, India was not happy with this decision and even sent a letter of protest proposing negotiations on the Tibet issue.
  • China deployed its troops on the Aksai Chin border before India could even think of it.
  • India never thought of war against China as it always focused on maintaining friendly relations. In 1954, China and India agreed to the ‘Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence’ under which India acknowledged the Chinese rule in Tibet. It was during this time that India’s former Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru raised the slogan “Hindi-Chini Bhai Bhai”.
  • China at that time released its map which showed some 120,000 square kilometres of Indian Territory as Chinese. When India questioned on this, the first premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Enlai responded that there were errors in the map.
  • When Dalai Lama fled to India in March 1959, Mao Zedong, a top leader of People’s Republic of China, was seemingly unhappy with the kind of reception Dalai Lama received by India. This led Chinese into creating a perception that India can be a threat to Chinese rule in Tibet and it was one of the most prominent reasons of the Sino-India war. Further, Mao made a statement that the Lhasa rebellion in Tibet was caused by the Indians.
  • Such instances catalyzed various conflicts and military actions between India and China.
  • India believed that both China and India together could be the superpower, but China had its devious intention and thought only one of the two nations can be an Asian power.
  • Since India did not negotiate the Aksai Chin border issue to Chinese satisfaction, China thought to teach India a lesson.
  • On October 20, 1962, people’s Liberation Army of China invaded India in Ladakh. This made the beginning of the border battle between the two nations.
At the end of the war, China emerged victoriously and retained control of about 38,000 square kilometres of the territory in Aksai Chin and ever since the area remained a point of contention between the two Asian nations. The military of China further believed that they were successful in the war as they achieved China’s policy objectives of securing borders in its western region of Aksai Chin.
If we analyze India’s defeat in the 1962 Sino-India War, we find it obvious as there were several reasons for this loss.
  • India never expected an attack from China at that point of time simply because it never intended to wage a war against the Chinese and believed in maintaining a cordial relation and healthy diplomacy with China. Believing this, India deployed only two divisions of troops in the region of the conflict, while the Chinese troops had three regiments positioned over there.
  • Due to the sudden attack from the Chinese troops, India was ill-prepared for the war. This resulted in the standoff between 10,000-20,000 Indian soldiers and 80,000 Chinese troops.
  • The Chinese cut Indian telephone lines which didn’t allow India to contact with their headquarters.
  • India didn’t get any help from western superpower countries like U.S.A, U.K and hence was left alone to fight the battle.
  • India could not put its forces swiftly to the battleground due to poor military infrastructure.
  • Diplomacy and military power goes together. Defence preparedness is mandatory if the nation aspires to be the superpower.
  • War is not just about weapons and ammunition, a better military infrastructure is necessary to fight the battle.
  • The nation needs to build strong foreign alliances so that it could get help during difficult times.
  • The government needs to invest more on the nation’s military forces to become a superpower.

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