Why weren't ancient India and China ever at war?




Yogita Jadhav, works at Bharati Vidyapeeth's Medical College

many reasons i think

1) himalayas acting as a physical barrier, thus large scale confrontation was minimal

2)china and india had been quite peaceful and non inading countries through out the history (yes, even china-until recently

3)culture of peace -friendly diplomatic relations among the rulers - effect of  that -buddhism was spread to china

4)main chinese territory was limited to Easten coast ,, far from north indian plains of ancient indian civilisation, with difficult terrain and extreme climate of region in betweeen both areas- remember Tib, himalayas, gobi desert

5) Indus and Ganges rivers in india , and yellow river in china made both areas self sufficient in the history , so that there was no competition for resources , thus no war for the same.

6) china itself had multiple dynasties and disunited as did India ,thus fighting amongst themselves- so that till british came to rule the Nation as an entity was under developed .

please correct me if i am wrong.

1) 喜马拉雅山脉是一个天然屏障,因此大规模的对抗几乎没有。








Shivaprasad Poovandur, lives in India

There is an account of a Chinese expedition battling Indian forces in the later half of the 7th century AD. This episode is mentioned only in a few history books and is generally unknown.

The Chinese Emperor sent Wang-hiuen-tse as an envoy to the Indian Emperor Harshavardhana Pushyabhuti (who evidently knew much of China before he met Hiuen Tsang and had earlier sent embassies to China) in the year 646. However, Harsha died, either late in 646 AD or early in 647 AD. So when the Chinese diplomatic mission arrived in India, Harsha was dead and he had left no heir to the throne.

Wang-hiuen-tse’s party was attacked and plundered along the Nepal-Bihar border by some Himalayan chief, who was seemingly goaded into doing it by the late Emperor’s minister, who had allegedly usurped the throne. Wang retaliated with the help of Ti-n and Nepalese soldiers.

Harsha’s death was most likely followed by chaos and anarchy in the country, resulting in political disintegration and the rise of ambitious chiefs who vied for the inheritance of the vast empire. Wang himself might have supported the cause of one of these claimants, incurring the wrath of the claimant’s rivals.






Achal Gautam, lives in India

There was no direct boundary between India & China.

The modern Chinese boundaries are way beyond the traditional Chinese dynasties. India never ever faced any security challenges from North. All the invasion came into India via Afghanistan till medieval time and then Europeans came via sea. Afghanistan has always been key of Indian security

Both countries were very rich & prosperous . Even today, modern army would find very difficult to cross Himalayas.





Pradip Gangopadhyay, Seeker of Truth

There has been war between ancient India and China. The forces of Raja Ranjit Singh led by General Zorowar Singh (who annexed the independent kingdom of Ladakh in the 1840s) had a small war in the Aksai Chin area with Tiban forces in the 1840s. Tib was then under nominal control of the Manchu dynasty. That war led to a stalemate. Even earlier there was conflict between independent Ladakh and Chinese/Tiban forces in the 17th century.

Mahomed Tughlak did launch an expedition to China in 1337 ce.

Having heard of the great wealth of China, Mahomed Tughlak conceived the idea of subduing that empire; but, in order to accomplish his design, it was found necessary first to conquer the country of Hemachal, which lies between the borders of China and India. Accordingly, in the year A.H. 738 (A.D. 1337), he ordered 100,000 horses, under the command of his sister’s son, Khoosrow Mullik, to subdue this mountainous region, and to establish garrisons as far as the frontiers of China. When this should be effected, he proposed to advance in person with his whole army to invade that empire. The nobles and counsellors of state in vain assured him, that troops of India never yet could, and never would advance a step within the limits of China, and that the whole scheme was visionary. In the year A.H. 738 (A.D. 1337), the King insisted on making the experiment, and the army was accordingly put in motion. Having entered the mountains, small forts were built on the road, to secure a communication; and proceeding in this manner, the troops reached the Chinese boundary, where a numerous army appeared to oppose them. The numbers of Indians were by this time greatly diminished, and being much inferior to the enemy, they were struck with dismay; which was only increased, when they considered their distance from home, the rugged country they had passed, the approach of the rainy season, and the scarcity of provisions, which now began to be severely felt. With these feelings, they commenced their retreat towards the foot of the range of hills, where the mountaineers, rushing down upon them, plundered their baggage, and the Chinese army also followed them closely. In the distressing situation the Indian army remained for seven days, suffering the extreme of famine. At length, the rains began to fall in torrents; the cavalry were up to the bellied of their horses in water. The waters obliged the Chinese to remove their camp to a greater distance, and gave to Khoosrow Mullik some hopes of effecting his retreat; but he found the low country completely inundated, and the mountains covered with impervious woods. The misfortunes of the army seemed to be at a crisis; no passage remained to them for retreat, but that by which they entered the hills, which was accompanied by the mountaineers; so that in the short space of fifteen days the Indian army fell a prey to famine and became the victims of the King’s ambition. Scarcely a man returned to relate the particulars, excepting those who were left behind in the garrisons; and the few of those troops who evaded the enemy did not escape the fatal vengeance of their King, who ordered then to be put to death, on their return to Dehly.

译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/48654.html 译者:Joyceliu

古印度和古中国之间有过战争。辛格将军(Zorowar Singh,他在19世纪40年代吞并了独立的拉达克王国)领导的拉贾·兰吉特·辛格(Raja Ranjit Singh)军队在19世纪40年代与中国军队在阿克赛钦地区发生过小规模战争。xz当时处于满清王朝的统治之下。早在17世纪,独立的拉达克和中国xz军队之间就发生过冲突。


在得知中国的巨大财富后,穆罕默德·图赫拉克就有了征服这个帝国的想法;但是,为了完成他的计划,首先必须征服位于中国和印度边界之间的赫玛恰尔邦。因此,在公元738年(公元1337年),他下令派出10万匹战马,由他姐姐的儿子霍斯罗·穆立克(Khoosrow Mullik)指挥,征服这一山区,并在中国边境建立驻军。军队开始行动,进入山区后,在路上修建了小炮台,以确保通讯畅通;军队到达了中国的边界,许多军队奋起抵抗。这时印度人的人数已大大减少,他们比敌人少得多,感到十分沮丧。当他们想到背井离乡,沿途崎岖的乡村,雨季的来临,以及食物的匮乏时,他们的恐惧只增不减。带着这种感觉,他们开始向山脚下撤退,山民冲了过来,抢走了他们的行李,中国军队也紧紧地跟着他们。印度军队在这种悲惨的情况下,忍受了七天的极度饥荒。最后,大雨倾盆而下;这场大雨迫使中国人把他们的营地移到更远的地方,给了霍斯罗·穆利克一丝希望;但是他发现低洼的地方完全被淹没了。在短短的15天时间里,印度军队成了饥荒的牺牲品,成了国王野心的牺牲品。除了留在军营里的人以外,几乎没人生还。那些逃过敌军击杀的士兵中,只有少数人躲过了国王的致命报复,国王在他们返回Dehly时下令处死他们。


Thuyết Vị Lai

The Ming–Kotte War was a military conflict between the expeditionary forces of the Chinese Ming empire and the Sinhalese Kotte kingdom, located in the southern territories of Ceylon. This conflict happened when Ming China's treasure fleet returned to Ceylon in 1410 or 1411. It resulted in the overthrow of King Alakeshvara in favor for Parakramabahu VI of the previous royal family.


In Ceylon, the Kotte kingdom had waged a war against the Jaffna kingdom.[3] In this war, Alakeshvara gained military prestige.[3] He soon came to power and ruled Kotte with a puppet king from the previous royal dynasty, eventually usurping the throne of the kingdom.[3] During the Ming treasure voyages, a large Chinese fleet led by Admiral Zheng He arrived in local waters to establish Chinese control and stability of the maritime routes in the waters around Ceylon and southern India.[3] Alakeshvara posed a threat to Chinese trade by committing piracy and hostilities in the local waters.[3]




Alakeshvara was hostile to the Chinese presence in Ceylon during the first Ming treasure voyage, so Admiral Zheng He decided to leave Ceylon for other destinations.[4] During the third Ming treasure voyage, the Chinese fleet returned to the Kotte kingdom.[3] This time the Chinese came with the intention to depose Alakeshvara by military force.[3] Dreyer (2007) states that the confrontation against Alakeshvara in Ceylon most-likely happened during the outward journey of the Chinese fleet in 1410 rather than the homeward journey in 1411,[5] but he also notes that most authorities think that the confrontation happened during the homeward journey in 1411.[3]



After the third Ming treasure voyage, Admiral Zheng He returned to Nanjing on 6 July 1411 and presented the Sinhalese captives to the Yongle Emperor.[8] The Yongle Emperor eventually decided to free Alakeshvara and return him to Ceylon.[3][8]

The Chinese were allied with Parakramabahu VI and dethroned Alakeshvara in favor of him.[9][10] The Yongle Emperor had requested from the Ministry of Rites to recommend someone to serve as the new king of Kotte.[3] As documented in Chinese records, Parakramabahu VI was elected by the Sinhalese present at the Ming court, nominated by the Ming emperor, and installed by Admiral Zheng He with the backing of his fleet.[10] By the time the Chinese embassy arrived, the previous Sinhalese dynasty had re-established themselves in Kotte.[3] With Parakramavahu VI as the ruler in Ceylon, both economic and diplomatic relations between China and Ceylon was improved.[9] From then on, the Chinese treasure fleet would experience no hostilities during visits to Ceylon on subsequent voyages.[3]

On 13 September 1411, the emperor granted both rewards and promotions for those who participated in Sinhalese confrontation after the joint recommendation of the Ministry of War and the Ministry of Rites.[11]






Gopal Sinha, former Civil Engineer

India and China both are great oriental civilizations and have enjoyed cordial cultural and commercial relations since long.

So long as the Chinese people were under the influence of Buddhism, there was no reason of a clash between the two - the spiritual guru and the sincere disciple.

Soon with the shift in indoctrination and inclination, the fault- lines of ideological divergence and political self-interests began to appear. 

The difficult Himalayan terrains and Ti-t as a buffer state, acted as a deterrent and provided safety against aggressions.






Aman Zaidi, Coaching | Performance | Strengths Psychology practitioner

This is a very interesting question.

Shan Liu's answer is the best one so far on this thread.

The main points to consider are:

1.Ancient India and Ancient China were quite different from what we know then as today. They were not unified countries in ancient times. They were split into different kingdoms of varying geography and cartography.

2.The largest ancient Chinese kingdoms didn't share a border with the largest Indian kingdoms.


Shan Liu的回答是目前为止最出色的回答之一。





Badhrinath Kannan

Trying a different take on this.

Quoting Hu Shih

“India Conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.”

There is a reason behind this. While the Chinese were arguably the greatest engineers and inventors in recorded human history, India focused more on spirituality, philosophy and religion. So cultural exchanges between the two nations were marked by this. Whether it was Buddhism or martial arts (Bodhidharma), all India reasonably exported to China (apart from things like spices, herbs etc. which would only grow in Indian climactic conditions) were ideas and thoughts either as texts or wandering teachers. The Chinese emperors and go nment - remember that China had a very well evolved system of governance from very early on in history - did what they do well in adapting these ideas, arguments and thoughts into their own context to help them consolidate power. For example Chinese buddhism that emerged in quite a short time was markedly different from the form of buddhism that prevailed in India. But it is not just Buddhism. The ancient Tamil Siddha texts talk about a Chinese monk locally called as Sri Bogar who came to India (and Sri Lanka) to learn about Siddhas and then went back to China to spread these ideas (his Chinese name being Lao Tse) before returning to South India for Samadhi.


引用Hu Shih的话:



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