Is the 1962 border skirmish with China really that important to Indians, and why?
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Vdhay Kumar N, B.E Mechanical Engineering & Construction, Bangalore University (2001)
yes for many of those who had to migrate from Pakistan to India and Tib to India for living due to war. They left their home land, lost their homes, property, money, some of the family members were killed, women were raped and then killed.
india is more powerful than Pakistan but still india respects Pakistan and does not violate LOC. nepal, srilanka, bhutan, bangladesh are nothing compared to india and still india do not have any border disputes why only china and Pakistan.
even to this day chinese people did not forget japanese atrocities of WW2, how can indians forget partition, war etc and its effect on both sides of India (Bangladesh & Pakistan).
Gowindan Nampoothiri, former General Manager (Retired ) at Reserve Bank of India
1962 No Indian can forget
A big cheating from a neighbor .Indians believed blindly.Our PrimeMinister had signed no war pact with Chaina based on Panchasheel the five cardinal principles of friendship and peace.Our primeminister Javaharlal Nehru was confident that China will never attack India and said army is not needed for India and they should be used for agriculture. India was totally unprepared.We were even had no good guns in hand !!
China attacked in India in 1962.We could not do much.A lot of Indian land is still with China.The great cheating taught us a lesson.Now Indian Forces -no comparison !!.Sure India 2017 is not India 1962.
Vijay Bhat, Team Leader at Aman Movement (2012-present)
The war of 1962 was a historic turning point in history and future of India.
India after fre m was living in the dream of non violence we thought if we are non violent it means we will have no enemies. It is said that PM Nehru once said that we don't need any army.
We lived in dream of Hindu chini bhai bhai.
When chines attacked we were least prepared no weapons no preparedness for war and Nehru's policy of dominating army and subjecting them to humiliation through various policies have broken the morale and aggressiveness of armed forces and lesson was humilating defeat of 1962 but unlike our friend Pakistan we soon learnt lesson soon modernisation of army started at highest level and military pacts were signed with various nations which was earlier against our non alignment policy. And the result of this morale of army begin to rise. USSR supplies with latest weapons and technology and whose result we saw in 1965 wen our army crushed pakistani army.
I am not an expert on the Indo - China war of 1962.
But over the years I have read a little about the actual war and the atmosphere before and after it.
The Indo - China border was largely quiet and did not have strife . Then the Chinese takeover of Tib .
India looked anxiously at the events across the border but did not interfere . It was still building up a very fledgling country and was very constrained on resources .
India was meanwhile happy and the folks even had a slogan for it Hindi- Chini Bhai Bhai. Essentially translated as Indian - Chinesese Brothers Brothers . This was one of the highest social honors that could be given by an Indian - to call you as family.
When China attacked India in 1962 , it was a country not prepared for an invasion from the “family” . Needless to say India lost the war. But more importantly Indians felt betrayed and since then never fully trusted the Chinese .
Meanwhile these days given the Chinese track record on international forums where it seems to block all Indian votes and agenda , India still does not have a reason to drop the mistrust.
It not that we don't like the Chinese .. we do. We deeply admire them as well but just don't trust them at the borders .
Subhash Mathur, Masters International Relations (1970)
In India most citizens did not even consider china as an adversary till the Dolakm standoff made the headlines . Till,then for Indians only Pakistan mattered . Suddenly they find another powerful neighbour on a different border .
So I would venture to say most Indians born after 75 are blissfully unaware of the after effects of the 62 conflict or even the conflict itself . In the minds of most Indians under 40 India is the most powerful country in Asia . And India can defeat Pakistan left handed .
But when confronted with china they have no no clue or idea about its strengths or what happened in 62 . Some are ven suggesting that India should simply nuke china and get over the doklam standoff .
But we all know that 62 conflict set Indian economy back by several decades and has hampered India's march to become a super power .
Satvik Tandon, B. Sc Statistics & Economics, K.C. College (2020)
Well until recently no one India neither cared nor thought about 1962. Its mentioned with one or two pargraphs in out textbooks. Since India has never seen any hostile actions from China which could kead to war, its generally only mentioned in books.
Then the recent Dokhlam situation happened. Intially the situation didn't affect Indians, we have seen LOC violations from Pakistan for years, its like a weekly event for us. So news if LOC violations wasn't a big deal.
But then Chinese go nment tweeted about India should remember 1962. India tweeted back with India is not the same as it was in 1962. And now the 1962 conflict is on the front stage.
Ray Comeau, A decade in China, interest in geopolitics
I have know a number of Indians, all of whom are well educated.
Indians are rightly very proud people of their history, and upon being given their independence from the UK in ’47 (?) they saw a bright future for the country.
However since then a few things have happened. the Indian sub-continent was divided by the Brits, setting up a security situation between India and Pakistan, which was exacerbated by the Kashmir situation, which has become entrenched in stalemate on both sides.
Having suffered conflicts on border issues with both Pakistan and China, Indians are very sensitive on these past events.
It is a matter of pride for many Indians. It has not helped that the Indian go nment at the time, has not allowed open disclosure of the events, while India media pounds out Indian nationalism, every time something happens with another country.
There are many in India that believe media reports the Indian military pushed back the Chinese in ‘62.
Ashok Ghai, former Owned a Construction Co, Now Retired (1967-2010)
1962 defeat was a nightmare for India that made us wake up from slumber. Otherwise, we would have lost the war against Pakistan in 1967. Pakistan thought so and attacked. But the preparedness of our army was such intense in 1967 that our army converted the advancing battalion of Patton Tanks into a tank graveyard. This astonished the entire world because Patton Tanks were considered invincible by then. The defence research organisation of India had developed a secret weapon to combat Patton Tanks. My friends from army told us the details about that weapon in a meeting of IIT Roorkee Alumni Association at Kanpur. When fired, this weapon fell near the tanks and then exploded in a big way. Thus, 1962 defeat was a blessing in disguise for us at least in some way.
Siva Kumar, works at Self-Employment
It is not just the question of border skirmish, it runs deeper. If you contrast the situation with that of Pakistan, you will appreciate it better. Indians are clearly aware of Pakistan’s attitude towards India. Pakistan’s attitude has always been the same, that of hostility. Thus, Pakistan doesn’t particularly shock India. Indians do not have any expectations from Pakistan.
India’s relationships with China run deeper, closer and warmer. Nehru was a firm believer in the ideal of Afro-Asian Unity. He enjoyed excellent mutual trust & friendship with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek and his wife. Chiang and Madame sympathized with India’s cause and more than once requested USA to use its influence with Britain (to grant Independence without delay).
Nehru believed that China and India together could achieve an unassailable place in the world. Till the 1962 war, Nehru had had unshakable and absolute trust in China. He actively supported China in the UN. The Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai (Indians and Chinese are friends) ideal is an excellent instance of the trust India (read, Nehru) had in China. And the whole country echoed Nehru’s sentiments and trust.
I am not sure if ordinary Chinese are aware of the Indians’ view of the events that eventually broke India’s trust in 1962. Here is a link to one of my old answers -
Siva Kumar's answer to Why do some Indians think it is China that invaded and betrayed India in 1962 while the fact has suggests otherwise?
But, given the background of implicit & unconditional trust, Indians truly felt betrayed and even stabbed in the back as Nehru exclaimed.
Achal Gautam, lives in India
Indo-Sino war is an important milestone in history of Republic of India.
This was a national humiliation and the generation after generation is reminded about that humiliating loss. When I was growing up, my grandfather used to tell me stories of the war.
This was the lowest moment of Indian history after independence. Indian Armed and political leadership failed in their primary duty to protect India. At a few places in Eastern sector, well-fed and well-armed Indian army units lacked will to fight and they withdrew. But in western sector, Indian Army showed the glimpse of their will to defend India to the last men. I think that Battle of Rezang La was one of the finest hours in the Indian military history.
Had China not attacked India, India would have been caught by surprise by Pakistan in 1965 war. India would have anyhow won the war (in case of a lengthy war) but India would have suffered heavily in initial days. After 1962 debacle, India gave more attention towards military preparedness and this proved to be decisive in 1965 war.
India had never faced any threat from North till 1962.
1962 war ended Nehru’s dream to be a leader of developing and non-aligned nations. Hardly any neighboring country diplomatically supported India. India had supported fre m movement of many Asian & African countries but everything went into vain.
Pakistan realized that India is a weak nation and they can take Kashmir forcibly from India.
Balaji Viswanathan, Knowledge lover.
Although the 1962 Sino-Indian border conflict is not really a full war [combined casualties about ~2000 and about 2 weeks of fighting], for India there was a broad significance:
For nearly two centuries now, Indian army has got into the habit of winning. The defeat in 1962 is a standout and thus has hurt the nation’s pride and ego.
It is a rude reminder that it is China, not Tib, that is our new neighbor. For many millennia India had gotten used to a friendly northern border.
The conflict was a big ruse for strengthening the security apparatus.
Indian army’s understated achievements
Of the major militaries in the world, it is India that has held one among the perfect records in winning. Indian army was a key element in the emergence of Britain as a superpower. British Indian Army won great honors in both the World War I and the World War II. Its victory in the landmark Battle of Kohima was the key turning point that led to Japanese retreat and defeat.
Post-independence, Indian army effortlessly took the kingdoms of Junagadh [Annexation of Junagadh] and Hyderabad - a kingdom of the size of Great Britain [Indian annexation of Hyderabad]. In Kashmir, it had a geographical, demographic and timing disadvantage and still retained most of the Kashmir region [Indo-Pakistani War of 1947].
In 1961, India warred a NATO ally - Portugal - and easily won to takeover Goa [Annexation of Goa]. In 1972, it cut Pakistan into two in barely 13 days [Pakistani Instrument of Surrender] - the biggest loss of territory in modern times in such a short time. When there was a coup in Maldives, India got it restored in a day [1988 Maldives coup d'état]. When it had to takeover Sikkim, it did with the least fuss - Sikkimese monarchy referendum, 1975.
The one defeat it had in nearly 2 centuries was with China. The high altitude and the element of surprise, put Indian military out of gear. Although the war was very short, didn’t really lead to a territorial loss [just formalized the loss the uninhabited Aksai Chin] and not even really a war [with mere 2000 casualties and a 3 week span], it is a blemish in our military’s record.
Although the Indian army got a part revenge in winning the smaller 1967 [Nathu La and Cho La clashes] conflict and a stalemate in 1987 conflict [1987 Sino-Indian skirmish], the wound remains.
India wakes up to a new neighbor
If you take the traditional neighbors of India - Tib, Iran, Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka - you could see a deep cultural relationship that India has shared. Many of the countries looked up to India and there was a quite level of familiarity.
India especially had an excellent relationship with Tib. Thus, the borders were never relevant in that region.
As China got serious about the border in the late 1950s, India tried an unsuccessful “forward policy” where it tried to push its borders as much as possible into Tib. In 1962, China truly put the danger to India and it was the shock Indian populace needed that they finally got a very powerful and unfamiliar neighbor. Unfamiliarity scares people.
A ruse to get the domestic population united
On the whole, the 1962 war worked in favor of the Indian go nment.
They doubled the military and created the key intelligence agency - RAW. In a decade, it went nuclear. A little after that, it acquired the key border kingdom of Sikkim and later gave full state status to Arunachal Pradesh - that used to be a frontier in the 1962 war. The go nment put a strong emphasis on high altitude warfare that got it the Siachen glacier 2 decades later.
To get all this strength, the go nments had to keep the public reminded about the 1962 “war”.