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The Indo-china War: An Overview

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Language
Wordcount: 5498 words Published: 16th May 2017

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The Indo-China War, also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict, was a war between China and india that occurred in 1962. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 tibetan uprising, when India had granted asylum to thedalai lama. Under a Forward Policy, India placed outposts along the border, including several north of the MacMahon Line, the eastern portion of a Line of actual Control proclaimed by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959.

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The Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962, coinciding with the Cuban missile crises. Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theaters, capturing rezang la in chushul in the western theater, as well as tawang in the eastern theater. The war ended when the Chinese declared aceasefire on 20 November 1962, and later withdrew from the disputed area.

The Sino-Indian War is notable for the harsh conditions under which much of the fighting took place, entailling large-scale combat at altitudes of over 4,250 metres (14,000 feet). This presented enormous logistics problems for both sides. The Sino-Indian War was also noted for the non-deployment of navy or air force by either the Chinese and Indian sides.


China and India share a long border, sectioned into three stretches by Nepal and Bhutan, which follows the Himalaya mountains between Burma and what was then West pakistan. A number of disputed regions lie along this border. At its western end is the Aksai chin region, an area the size of Switzerland, that sits between the Chinese autonomous region of Xingjiang, and Tibet (which China declared as autonomous regions in 1965). The eastern border, between Burma and Bhutan, comprises the present Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh (formerly the North East Frontier agency). Both of these regions were overrun by China in the 1962 conflict.

Most combat took place at high altitudes. The Aksai chin region is a vast desert of salt flats around 5,000 metres above sea level, and Arunachal Pradesh is extremely mountainous with a number of peaks exceeding 7000 metres. According to military doctrine, to be successful an attacker generally requires a 3:1 ratio of numerical superiority over the defender; inmoutain warfare this ratio should be considerably higher as the terrain favours defense.China was able to take advantage of this: the Chinese Army had possession of the highest ridges in the regions. The high altitude and freezing conditions also cause logistical and welfare difficulties; in past similar conflicts (such as the Italian Campaign of World war I) more casualties have been caused by the harsh conditions than enemy action. The Sino-Indian War was no different, with many troops on both sides dying in the freezing cold.


Pre-Simla British map published in 1909 shows the so called “Outer Line” as India’s northern boundary.The cause of the war was a dispute over the sovereignty of the widely-separated Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh border regions. Aksai Chin, claimed by India to belong to kashmir and by China to be part of Xinjiang, contains an important road link that connects the Chinese regions of Tibet and Xinjiang. China’s construction of this road was one of the triggers of the conflict. Arunachal Pradesh (called South Tibet by China) is also claimed by both nations—although it is roughly the size of Austria, it is sparsely inhabited (by numerous local tribes) due to its mountainous terrain .The Indian state Arunachal Pradesh has a population of over one million as of today.

The Johnson Line

The western portion of the Sino-Indian boundary originates in 1834, with the Sikh Confederation’s conquest of ladakh. In 1842 the Sikh Confederacy, which at the time ruled over much of Northen India (including the frontier regions of jammu and Kashmir), signed a treaty which guaranteed the integrity of its existing borders with its neighbours. The British defeat of the Sikhs in 1846 resulted in transfer of sovereignty over ladakh, part of the Jammu and Kashmir region, to the British, and British commissioners contacted Chinese officials to negotiate the border. The boundaries at its two extremities, Pangong lake and Karakoram Pass, were well-defined, but the Aksai Chin area in between lay undefined.

In 1865, British surveyor W H Johnson came to an agreement with the Maharaja of Kashmir, in whose service he was employed, on a proposed “Johnson Line” which placed Aksai Chin in Kashmir. China rejected the arrangement, and the British government also harboured doubts, so decided to take up the issue in an attempt to reach a settlement. However in 1892, before the issue had been resolved, China erected boundary markers at Karakoram Pass on the ancient caravan route between Xinjiang and Ladakh (which were disputed by the British Indian Government).

Throughout most of the 19th century Great Britain and the expanding Russian Empire were jockeying for influence in Central asia, and Britain decided to hand over Aksai Chin to Chinese administration as a buffer against Russian invasion. The newly-created border was known as the MacCartney-MacDonald Line, and both British-controlled India and China now began to show Aksai Chin as Chinese. In 1911 the xinhai revolution resulted in power shifts in China, and by 1918 (in the wake of the Russian Bolshevik revolution) the British no longer saw merit in China’s continuing possession of the region. On British maps the border was redrawn as the original Johnson Line, but despite this reversion the new border was left unmanned and undemarcated. According to Neville maxwell, the British had used as many as 11 different boundary lines in the region, as their claims shifted with the political situation. By the time of Indian independence in 1947, the Johnson Line had become India’s official western boundary. On 1 July 1954, Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru definitively stated the Indian position. He claimed that Aksai Chin had been part of the Indian ladakh region for centuries, and that the border (as defined by the Johnson Line) was non-negotiable. According to George N. Patterson, when the Indian government finally produced a report detailing the alleged proof of India’s claims to the disputed area, “the quality of the Indian evidence was very poor, including some very dubious sources indeed”.

During the 1950s, China constructed a road through Aksai Chin, connecting Xinjiang and Tibet, which ran south of the Johnson Line in many places. Aksai Chin was easily accessible to the Chinese, but access from India, which meant negotiating the Karakoram moutains, was more problematic. Consequently India did not even learn of the existence of the road until 1957 — finally confirmed when the road was shown in Chinese maps published the following year.

The McMahon Line

In 1826 India and China gained a common border, including the area of what is now called Myanmar, following British annexations in the Anglo Burmes Wars. In 1847, Major J. Jenkins, Agent for the North East Frontier, reported that the Tawang was part of Tibet. In 1872, four monastic officials from Tibet arrived in Tawang and supervised a boundary settlement with Major R. Graham, NEFA official, which included the Tawang Tract as part of Tibet. Thus, in the last half of the 19th century, it was clear that the British treated the Tawang Tract as part of Tibet. This boundary was confirmed in a June 1, 1912 note from the British General Staff in India, stating that the “present boundary (demarcated) is south of Tawang, running westwards along the foothills from near Ugalguri to the southern Bhutanese border.” A 1908 map of The Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam (32 miles to the inch), prepared for the Foreign Department of the Government of India, showed the international boundary from Bhutan continuing to the Baroi River, following the Himalayas foothill alignment. In 1913, representatives of Great Britain, China and Tibet attended a conference in simla regarding the borders between Tibet, China and British India. Whilst all three representatives initialed the agreement, Beijing later objected to the proposed boundary between the regions of Outer Tibet and Inner Tibet and did not ratify it. The details of the Indo-Tibetan boundary was not revealed to China at the time. The foreign secretary of the British Indian government, Henry McMahon, who drew up the proposal, decided to bypass the Chinese (although instructed not to by his superiors) and settle the border bilaterally by negotiating directly with Tibet. According to later Indian claims, this border was intended to run through the highest ridges of the Himalayas, as the areas south of the Himalayas were traditionally Indian. However, the McMahon Line lay south of the boundary India claims. India’s government held the view that the Himalayas were the ancient boundaries of the Indian Subcontinent, and thus should be the modern boundaries of India. while it is the position of the Chinese government that the disputed area in the Himalayas have been geographically and culturally part of Tibet since ancient times.

Months after the simla Agreement, China set up boundary markers south of the McMahon Line. TO’Callaghan, an official in the Eastern Sector of the on North east frontier, relocated all these markers to a location slightly south of the McMahon Line, and then visited Rima to confirm with Tibetan officials that there was no Chinese influence in the area. The British-run Government of India initially rejected the Simla Agreement as incompatible with the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907, which stipulated that neither party was to negotiate with Tibet “except through the intermediary of the Chinese government”. The British and Russians cancelled the 1907 agreement by joint consent in 1921. It was not until the late 1930s that the British started to use the McMahon Line on official maps of the region.

China took the position that the Tibetan government should not have been allowed to make a such a treaty, rejecting Tibet’s claims of independent rule. For its part, Tibet did not object to any section of the McMahon Line excepting the demarcation of the trading town of Tawang, which the Line placed under British-Indian jurisdiction. However, up until World War II, Tibetan officials were allowed to administer Tawang with complete authority. Due to the increased threat of Japanese and Chinese expansion during this period, British Indian troops secured the town as part of the defense of India’s eastern border.

In the 1950s India began actively patrolling the region. It found that, at multiple locations, the highest ridges actually fell north of the McMahon Line. Given India’s historic position that the original intent of the Line was to separate the two nations by the highest mountains in the world, in these locations India extended its forward posts northward to the ridges, regarding this move as compliant with the original border proposal, although the Simla Convention did not explicitly state this intention.

On Oct. 29, 2008, david Miliband, the British foreign secretary, announced that the previous British actions including the Simla Accord (1913) and thus the McMahon line had been an anachronism and a colonial legacy. He apologized to China for not having renounced those actions earlier. He was supported by Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong, who called the British position embodied in the Simla Accord(1913) a “quaint eccentricity”.

Events leading up to war

Tibet controversy

The 1940s saw huge change in South Asia with the Partition of india in 1947 (resulting in the establishment of the two new states of india and pakistan), and the establishment of the people’s Replic of china in 1949. One of the most basic policies for the new Indian government was that of maintaining cordial relations with China, reviving its ancient friendly ties. India was among the first nations to grant diplomatic recognition to the newly-created PRC.

At the time, Chinese officials issued no condemnation of Nehru’s claims or made any opposition to Nehru’s open declarations of control over Aksai Chin. In 1956,Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai stated that he had no claims over Indian controlled territory. He later argued that Aksai Chin was already under Chinese jurisdiction, implying that there was therefore no contradiction with his earlier statement since China did not regard the region as “Indian controlled”, and that since the British hand-over China had regarded the McCartney MacDonald Line as the relevant border. Zhou later argued that as the boundary was undemarcated and had never been defined by treaty between any Chinese or Indian government, the Indian government could not unilaterally define Aksai Chin’s borders.

However, within a short time the PRC announced its intention to reclaim Tibet from the British, and later extended its influence by placing border posts within the Indian-claimed territory of aksai Chin. India protested against these moves and decided to look for a diplomatic solution to ensure a stable Sino-Indian border. To resolve any doubts about the Indian position, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru declared in parliament that India regarded the McMahon Line as its official border. The Chinese expressed no concern at this statement, and in 1951 and 52, the government of China asserted that there were no frontier issues to be taken up with India.

The Indian government’s 1950 maps show the Sino-Indian border using undemarcated lines and the Aksai chin frontier is labeled “boundary undefined”.

The Indian government’s 1954 maps unilaterally delimited the Sino-Indian border in the Aksai chin,and Sino-Indian borders are no longer indicated as undemarcated.

In 1954, Prime Minister Nehru wrote a memo calling for India’s borders to be clearly defined and demarcated: in line with previous Indian philosophy, Indian maps showed a border that, in some places, lay north of the McMahon Line. Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai, in November 1956, again repeated Chinese assurances that the People’s Republic had no claims on Indian territory, although official Chinese maps showed 120,000 square kilometres of territory claimed by India as Chinese.CIA documents created at the time revealed that Nehru had ignored Burmese premier Ba Swe when he warned Nehru to be cautious when dealing with Zhou. They also allege that Zhou purposefully told Nehru that there were no border issues with India.

In 1950 the Chinese People’s Liberation Army invaded tibet. Four years later, in 1954, China and India negotiated the Five Principles of Peaseful Coexistence by which the two nations agreed to abide in settling their disputes. India presented a frontier map which was accepted by China, and the Indian government under Prime Minister Nehru promoted the slogan Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai (Indians and Chinese are brothers). According to Georgia tech political analyst John W Garver, Nehru’s policy on Tibet was to create a strong Sino-Indian partnership which would be catalyzed through agreement and compromise on Tibet. Garver believes that Nehru’s previous actions had given him confidence that China would be ready to form an “Asian Axis” with India.

This apparent progress in relations suffered a major setback when, in 1959, Nehru accommodated the Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama, who was fleeing Lhasa after a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule. The Chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, MaoZedong, was enraged and asked the Xinhua news agency to produce reports on Indian expansionists operating in Tibet.

Border incidents continued through this period. In August 1959, the PLA took an Indian prisoner at Longju, which had an ambiguous position in the McMahon Line, and two months later in Aksai Chin a clash led to the death of nine Indian frontier policemen.

On 2 October, Soviet Premier Nikita khrushchev defended Nehru in a meeting with Mao. This action reinforced China’s impression that the Soviet Union, the United States and India all had expansionist designs over China. The PLA (People’s Liberation Army) went so far as to prepare a self-defensive counterattack plan. Negotiations were restarted between the nations, but no progress was made.

As a consequence of their non-recognition of the McMahon Line, China’s maps showed both the North East Frontier Area (NEFA) and Aksai Chin to be Chinese territory. In 1960, Zhou Enlai unofficially suggested that India drop its claims to Aksai Chin in return for a Chinese withdrawal of claims over NEFA. Adhering to his stated position, Nehru believed that China did not have a legitimate claim over either of these territories, and thus was not ready to concede them. This adamance was perceived in China as Indian opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet. Nehru declined to conduct any negotiations on the boundary until Chinese troops withdrew from Aksai Chin; a position supported by the international community. India produced numerous reports on the negotiations, and translated Chinese reports into English to help inform the international debate. China believed that India was simply securing its claim lines in order to continue its “grand plans in Tibet”.[2] India’s stance that China withdraw from Aksai Chin caused continual deterioration of the diplomatic situation to the point at which internal forces were pressurizing Nehru to take a military stance against China.

The Forward Policy

At the beginning of 1961, Nehru appointed General B M Kaul as army Chief of General Staff, but he refused to increase military spending and prepare for a possible war. That summer, China’s continuing patrols south of the McMahon Line provoked an Indian response known as the “Forward Policy”. According to James Barnard Calvin of the U.S. Navy, in 1959, India started sending Indian troops and border patrols into disputed areas. This program created both skirmishes and deteriorating relations between India and China.The aim of this policy was to create outposts behind advancing Chinese troops to inderdict their supplies, forcing their return to China. There were eventually 60 such outposts, including 43 north of the McMahon Line. China viewed this as further confirmation of Indian expansionist plans directed towards Tibet. According to the Indian official history, implementation of the Forward Policy was intended to provide evidence of Indian occupation in the previously unoccupied region through which Chinese troops had been patrolling. Kaul was confident, through contact with Indian Intelligence and CIA information, that China would not react with force. Indeed at first the PLA simply withdrew, but eventually Chinese forces began to counter-encircle the Indian positions. This led to a tit-for-tat Indian reaction, with both forces attempting to outmanoeuver each other. However, despite the escalating nature of the dispute, the two forces withheld from engaging each other directly.

Chinese attention was diverted for a time by the military activity of the Nationalists on Taiwan, but on 23 June the U.S. assured China that a Nationalist invasion would not be permitted. China’s heavy artillery facing Taiwan could then be moved to Tibet. It took China six to eight months to gather the resources needed for the war, according to Anil Athale, author of the official Indian history. The Chinese sent a large quantity of non-military supplies to Tibet through the Indian port of Calcutta.

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Early incidents

Various border conflicts and “military incidents” between India and China flared up throughout the summer and autumn of 1962. In May, the Indian Air Force was told not to plan for close air support, although it was assessed as being a feasible way to repel the unbalanced ratio of Chinese to Indian troops. In June, a skirmish caused the deaths of dozens of Chinese troops. The Indian Intelligence Bureau received information about a Chinese buildup along the border which could be a precursor to war.

During the period of June-July 1962, the Indian military planners began advocating “probing actions” against the Chinese, and accordingly, moved mountain troops forward to cut off Chinese supply lines. According to Patterson, the Indian motives were threefold:

1. Test Chinese resolve and intentions regarding India.

2. Test whether India would enjoy Soviet backing in the event of a Sino-Indian war.

3. Create sympathy for India within the US, with whom relations had deteriorated after the Indian annexation of Goa.

On 10 July 1962, 350 Chinese troops surrounded an Indian post in Chushul but withdrew after a heated argument via loudspeaker. On 22 July, the Forward Policy was extended to allow Indian troops to push back Chinese troops already established in disputed territory. Whereas Indian troops were previously ordered to fire only in self-defense, all post commanders were now given discretion to open fire upon Chinese forces if threatened. In August, the Chinese military improved its combat readiness along the McMahon Line and began stockpiling ammunition, weapons and gasoline.

Confrontation at Thag La

In June 1962, Indian forces established an outpost at Dhola, on the southern slopes of the Thag la Ridge. Dhola lay north of the McMahon Line but south of the ridges India maintains the McMahon Line was supposed to represent. In August, China issued diplomatic protests and began occupying positions at the top of Thag La. On 8 September, a 60-strong PLA unit descended to the south side of the ridge and occupied positions that dominated one of the Indian posts at Dhola. Fire was not exchanged but Nehru said to the media that the Indian Army had instructions to “free our territory” and the troops had been given discretion to use force. On 11 September, it was decided that “all forward posts and patrols were given permission to fire on any armed Chinese who entered Indian territory”.

However, the operation to occupy Thagla was flawed in that Nehru’s directives were unclear and it got underway very slowly because of this. In addition to this, each man had to carry 35kg of luggage over the long trek and this severely slowed down the reaction. By the time the Indian battalion reached the point of conflict, Chinese units controlled both banks of the Namka Chu River.On 20 September, Chinese troops threw grenades at Indian troops and a firefight developed, triggering a long series of skirmishes for the rest of September.

Some Indian troops, including Brigadier Dalvi who commanded the forces at Thag La, were also concerned that the territory they were fighting for was not strictly territory that “we should have been convinced was ours”.According to Neville maxwell, even members of the Indian defence ministry were categorically concerned with the validity of the fighting in Thag La.

On 3 October, a week before the triggering of the war, Zhou Enlai visited Nehru in new delhi promising there would be no war. On 4 October, Kaul assigned some troops with securing regions south of the Thagla Ridge. Kaul decided to first secure Yumtso La, a strategically important position, before re-entering the lost Dhola post. Kaul had then realised that the attack would be desperate and the Indian government tried to stop escalation into an all-out war. Indian troops travelling to Thagla had suffered in the previously unexperienced conditions, two gurkha troops died of pulmonary edema.

On 10 October, an Indian Punjabi patrol of 50 troops to Yumtso La were met by an emplaced Chinese position of some 1,000 soldiers. Indian troops were in no position for battle, as Yumtso La was 16,000 feet (4,900 m) above sea level and Kaul did not plan on having artillery support for the troops. The Chinese troops opened fire on the Indians under their belief that they were north of the McMahon Line. The Indians were surrounded by Chinese positions which used mortar fire. However, they managed to hold off the first Chinese assault, inflicting heavy casualties.

At this point, the Indian troops were in a position to push the Chinese back with mortar and machine gun fire. However, Brigadier Dalvi opted not to fire, as it would mean decimating the Rajput who were still in the area of the Chinese regrouping. They helplessly watched the Chinese ready themselves for a second assault. In the second Chinese assault, the Indians began their retreat, realising the situation was hopeless. The Indian patrol suffered 25 casualties, with the Chinese suffering 33. The Chinese troops held their fire as the Indians retreated, and then buried the Indian dead with military honors, as witnessed by the retreating soldiers. This was the first occurrence of heavy fighting in the war.

This attack had grave implications for India and Nehru tried to solve the issue, but by 18 October it was clear that the Chinese were preparing for an attack on India, with massive troop buildups on the border. A long line of mules and porters had also been observed supporting the buildup and reinforcement of positions south of the Thagla ridge.

Preparations for war


Two of the major factors leading up to China’s eventual conflicts with Indian troops were India’s stance on the disputed borders and perceived Indian subversion in Tibet. There was “a perceived need to punish and end perceived Indian efforts to undermine Chinese control of Tibet, Indian efforts which were perceived as having the objective of restoring the pre-1949 status quo ante of Tibet”. The other was “a perceived need to punish and end perceived Indian aggression against Chinese territory along the border”. John W. Garver argues that the first perception was incorrect based on the state of the Indian military and polity in the 1960s, it was, nevertheless a major reason for China’s going to war. However, he argues the Chinese perception of aggression to be “substantially accurate”.

The CIA’s recently declassified Polo documents reveal contemporary American analysis of Chinese motives during the war. According to this document, “Chinese apparently were motivated to attack by one primary consideration–their determination to retain the ground on which PLA forces stood in 1962 and to punish the Indians for trying to take that ground”.

Another factor which affected China’s decision for war with India was a perceived need to stop a Soviet-US-India encirclement and isolation of China. India’s relations with the Soviet Union and United States were both strong at this time, but the Soviets were preoccupied by the Cuban Missile Crisis and would not interfere with the Sino-Indian War. P.B. Sinha suggests that China timed the war exactly in parallel with American actions so as to avoid any chance of American or Soviet involvement. American buildup of forces around Cuba occurred on the same day as the first major clash at Dhola while China’s buildup between the 10th and 20th of October coincided exactly with the United States establishment of a blockade against Cuba which began on the 20th of October.

Garver argues that the Chinese correctly assessed Indian border policies, particularly the Forward Policy, as attempts for incremental seizure of Chinese-controlled territory. On Tibet, Garver argues that one of the major factors leading to China’s decision for war with India was a common tendency of humans “to attribute others behavior to interior motivations, while attributing their own behavior to situational factors”. Studies from China published in the 1990s confirmed that the root cause for China going to war with India was the perceived aggression in Tibet, with the forward policy simply catalyzing the aggressive Chinese reaction.

Neville Maxwell and Allen Whiting argue that the Chinese leadership believed they were defending territory they believed to be legitimately Chinese, and which was already under de facto Chinese occupation prior to Indian advances, and regarded the Forward Policy as an Indian attempt at creeping annexation. Mao Zedong himself compared the Forward Policy to a strategic advance in Chinese chess:

Their [India’s] continually pushing forward is like crossing the Chu han boundry. What should we do? We can also set out a few pawns, on our side of the river. If they don’t then cross over, that’s great. If they do cross, we’ll eat them up [chess metaphor meaning to take the opponent’s pieces]. Of course, we cannot blindly eat them. Lack of forbearance in small matters upsets great plans. We must pay attention to the situation.

The motive for the Forward Policy was to cut off the supply routes for Chinese troops posted in NEFA and Aksai Chin. According to the official Indian history, the forward policy was continued because of its initial success, as Chinese troops withdrew when they encountered areas already occupied by Indian troops. The Forward Policy was having success in cutting out supply lines of Chinese troops who had advanced South of the McMahon Line. However, the Forward Policy rested on the assumption that Chinese forces “were not likely to use force against any of our posts, even if they were in a position to do so”. No serious reappraisal of this policy took place even when Chinese forces ceased withdrawing.

By early 1962, the Chinese leadership began to fear that India’s intentions were to launch a massive attack against Chinese troops, and that the Indian leadership wanted a war. In 1961, the Indian army had been sent into Goa, a small region without any other international borders apart from the Indian one, after Portugal refused to surrender the exclave to the Indian Union. Although this action met little to no international protest or opposition, China saw it as an example of India’s expansionist nature, especially in light of heated rhetoric from Indian politicians. India’s Home Minister declared, “If the Chinese will not vacate the areas occupied by it, India will have to repeat What she did in Goa. India will certainly drive out the Chinese forces”,while another member of the Indian Congress Party pronounced, “India will take steps to end [Chinese] aggression on Indian soil just as she ended Portuguese aggression in Goa”. By mid-1962, it was apparent to the Chinese leadership that negotiations had failed to make any progress, and the Forward Policy was increasingly perceived as a grave threat as Delhi increasingly sent probes deeper into border areas and cut off Chinese supply lines. Foreign Minister Marshal Chen Yi commented at one high-level meeting, “Nehru’s forward policy is a knife. He wants to put it in our heart. We cannot close our eyes and await death.” The Chinese leadership believed that their restraint on the issue was being perceived by India as weakness, leading to continued provocations, and that a major counterblow was needed to stop perceived Indian aggression.

Xu Yan, prominent Chinese military historian and professor at the PLA’s National Defense University, gives an account of the Chinese leadership’s decision to go to war. By late September 1962, the Chinese leadership had begun to reconsider their policy of “armed coexistence”, which had failed to address their concerns with the forward policy and Tibet, and consider a large, decisive strike.

The Chinese leadership initially held a sympathetic view towards India as the latter had been ruled by British colonial masters for centuries. However, Nehru’s forward policy convinced PRC leadership that the independent Indian leadership was a reincarnation of British imperialism. Thus, the Indian government must be taught an unforgettable lesson. Mao Zedong stated: “Rather than being constantly accused of aggression, it’s better to show the world what really happens when China indeed moves its muscles.”

Military planning

The Indian side was confident war would not be triggered and made little preparat


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