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