China and India at War – 1962

December 29, 2011

For the next few days, we will focus on India and China as a topic. The first post is about the 1962 border war between the two countries.

America is not the first country to attempt nation building (Iraq and Afghanistan). The British Empire did it much earlier and left behind a mess in India, the Middle East and Africa. Too bad the US didn’t learn from that failure.

In the 19th century, with the reckless stoke of a pen or pencil, British Explorer McMahon drew the borders on maps creating India.

Due to this British arrogance, India has had border disputes/wars with China, Nepal and Pakistan. Source: Boundaries

In fact, before the British Empire established the Raj, India wasn’t a country, and no Chinese government was included in the changes McMahon made to the borders between Tibet and India. Source: Victorian Web

At the time, the Qing Dynasty like the Yuan and Ming Dynasties before it considered Tibet part of China.

In 1947, soon after the end of World War II, India gained its independence from Britain, and the Indian government refused to negotiate with China over land that was once was part of China-Tibet.

After 1949, Mao’s government told India that some of the land behind the McMahon line in India was part of China-Tibet and the PRC wanted that land back.

For thirteen years, China and India held a series of diplomatic conversations about this boundary issue. Zhou Enlai, the first prime minister of the PRC, attempted to convince Jawaharlal Nehru to resolve the boundary issue peacefully.

With the failure of peaceful negotiations, Chinese troops were sent to the McMahon Line. In the embedded video are actual battle scenes from the China-Indian conflict of 1962.

India’s Nehru government repeatedly rejected China’s requests to negotiate the border dispute over the McMahon Line.

Instead, the Indian army built bases and outposts in the disputed area. Then Chinese troops strengthened their defenses on their side of the disputed border.

India sent patrols into territory occupied by China and its troops were captured. Then on June 4, 1962, Indian troops built fortified outposts deep in the disputed territory.

On September 8, 1962, Chinese troops surrounded the Indian outposts to stop further advances.

In the middle of September, Chinese intelligence reported that the Indian army would soon attack due to India’s Seventh Brigade being deployed to launch Operation Leghorn.

The first move by India took place on October 9, when Indian troops crossed the river that divided the two armies and attacked Chinese positions.

The resulting battle caused the Indian Seventh Brigade to collapse and a large number of Indian troops surrendered and were taken prisoner by the Chinese.

Chinese troops then counter attacked and crossed the river pushing south as the Indian troops retreated faster than the PLA could advance.

In addition, heavy Chinese artillery bombed Indian troop positions while China moved their Eleventh and Fifty-fifth divisions to the front.

To stop the Chinese advance, the Indian army had four brigades set up defensive positions along the only mountain road leading south through the harsh terrain.

At the same time, India planned to launch an assault on the Chinese army.

In a risky flanking maneuver, the Chinese sent 1,500 troops along a dangerous mountain trail to attack India’s Army in the rear and cut them in half.

The Chinese troops succeeded, and the Chinese army followed up with an attack from the north along the road.

India’s Sixty-second Brigade collapsed the first day. Soon after, India’s Sixty-fifth Brigade abandoned their positions without a fight.

News of the Indian army’s defeat reached New Delhi, and the people panicked causing large numbers of refugees to flee south.

When Chinese troops advanced into India beyond the disputed territory, China declared a unilateral cease fire.

There were abandoned Indian weapons everywhere and the Chinese troops gathered the weapons, which were returned to India. Then the Indian troops that were prisoners of war were released.

China then withdrew its troops to the claimed border keeping the disputed territory. Similar to the Korean Conflict, the war ended without a treaty.

India’s Casualties

Killed = 4,885
POW = 3,968
Wounded = 1,697

China’s casualties
Killed 722
Wounded 1,696

Since the 1962 war, China and India have continued to argue about the disputed area, which includes a portion of Kashmir and the eastern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Another area in dispute is Ladakh. For centuries, Ladakh was an independent kingdom but is now part of India with obvious cultural links with China.

In Ladakh, no one knows where India ends and China begins. China and India still share the biggest stretch of disputed border in the world divided by Nepal and Bhutan from Arunachal Pradesh in the south to Kashmir in the north.

Al Jazerra English – Renewed Tension Over India-China Border

India says the border violations were probably a mistake, but China says they never happened.

Diplomatic letters that Al Jazeera acquired show that both India and China are not telling the truth about Ladakh. Indian nomads wondered into Chinese occupied territory and were warned to leave or face the consequences.

The diplomatic letters also show that China does not accept that the area is disputed. Instead, China says it is their territory.

The Indian army keeps a heavy military presence on India’s side of the border in Ladakh and the Al Jazeera reporters were not allowed to visit the Chinese side.

What did you learn about China from its actions during this conflict, and/or you may also want to discover The Sino-Vietnam War of 1979


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

His latest novel is the multiple-award winning Running with the Enemy.

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Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 2/8

November 12, 2011

To claim this famine on Mao’s watch was the worst in “modern world history” is a farce once we learn what “modern history” means.

In the West, “modern history” may describe the beginning of a new era, which was the European Renaissance (about 1420-1630).

The term “modern history” may also be marked by the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. If so, then “modern history” started between 1760 and 1830.

If we use 1760 as the beginning of “modern history”, then there are other famines that may claim the title of “worst famine in modern world history.” [Note: only famines with one million or more verified deaths will be listed here — there were many more than what’s on this page.]

In 1769 to 1773, there was the Bengal famine with 10 million deaths while India was part of the British Empire. To understand the British corruption that led to these deaths, I suggest reading Three Episodes in the Criminal History of the British Empire

In 1883-84, the Chalisa famine in India killed 11 million while India was still part of the British Empire.

Between 1810 and 1849, there were a series of four famines in China that took an estimated 45 million lives.

In 1845 – 1849, the Great Irish Famine killed more than one million people while Ireland was part of the British Empire.

Then in 1850 to 1873, because of the Taiping Rebellion in China, drought and famine caused the population of China to drop by over 60 million people. (Note: the Taipings were converted Christians influenced by Western religious beliefs and one goal of the rebellion was to convert China into a Christian nation.)

The Great Irish Famine manufactured by the economy of the British Empire

In 1866, the Orissa famine in India led to one million deaths from starvation, while still part of the British Empire.

Three years later in 1869, the Rajputana famine in India took another 1.5 million lives when India was part of the British Empire.

In Persia in 1870-71, famine took two million lives.

Between 1878 – 1880, there were famines in India, China, Brazil, Northern Africa and other countries.  Thirteen million died in Northern China and more than five million in India, which was part of the British Empire.

In 1921, famine in Russia took 5 million, while in 1937 another famine in China took the lives of another five million and then the Soviet famine of 1947 added one million more to the death toll.

The last major famine during British rule in India was the Bengal famine of 1943.  It has been estimated that some three to five million people died. [Note: at this point, more than 56 million died of famines in the British Empire—You may want to read How the British Empire Starved Millions… to learn more.]

Then, when we look at the number of major famines that have hit China since 108 BC, there were 1,828 or one nearly every year in one province or another and the famines varied in severity.

Moreover, in 1958-61, not all of China suffered from the so-called great famine, which has been blamed on Mao by many in the West. The provinces that suffered were Shandong, Henan, Shanxi, Anhui, Jaingsu and Sichuan — six of the twenty-three provinces in China.

To blame the famine and all loss of life due to starvation on Mao and the Maoists during the Great Leap Forward (1958 -61) and claim it was murder is a false accusation and an injustice. Mao was not a saint, but he was not guilty of this.

Continued on November 13, 2011 in Mao’s ‘alleged’ Guilt in the Land of Famines – Part 3  or return to Part 1

View as Single Page

Recommended reading on this topic for those who seek the unblemished truth: From the Monthly Review, Did Mao Really Kill Millions in the Great Leap Forward? by Joseph Ball

From Griffith University, Australia, Poverty, by David C. Schak, Associate Professor


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China and India’s Mutual Collectivism and History – Part 1/2

September 10, 2010

There appears to be an obsession in the West that India, since it is a democracy, is the country that will counter China’s economic and military growth.

The American Interest published a piece in their May/June 2010 issue – The Return of the Raj, which points out that where G. W. Bush failed to build an Indo-U.S. defense pact, Secretary of State Clinton in a visit to India in July 2009 did open the door to significant arms transfers from the U.S. to India.

If the United States and India can together rediscover and revive the Indian military’s expeditionary tradition, they will have a solid basis for strategic cooperation not only between themselves but also with the rest of the world’s democracies. Source: The American Interest

In another piece, A Himalayan rivalry, The Economist focuses on the 1962 conflict between India and China saying, “Memoires of a war between India and China are still vivid in the Tawang valley…”

However, memoires aren’t everything. There is also knowledge, and China is not the same country it was in 1962.

In 1962, some of the factors that led to the war between India and China were linked to Mao’s policies, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

The Maoists were removed from power in the 1980s, and China is not a socialist nation as it was then.

Go to Part 2


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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