Thanks to The Hindu for bringing back memories of the Sino-Indian war of 1962. Like most Chinese, young Indians also do not know much about the conflict. I was a college student then. I remember how Nehru got the shock of his life when India came under attack even as all of us were chanting ‘Hindi-Chini bhai bhai.’
About the loss of Aksai Chin, Nehru is reported to have said in Parliament “not a single blade of grass grows there.” Mahavir Tyagi, a senior Congress leader, pointed to his bald head and said: “Nothing grows here … should it be given away to somebody else?”
The articles and the neatly arranged Timeline (Oct. 20) on the 1962 India-China war brought back poignant memories of those unforgettable days when I was in college. The war was the subject of debates and emotional speeches often marked them. For the first time, Nehru’s image suffered a setback.
We can now openly admit that amateurish defence preparedness coupled with military acts undertaken in forward areas cost India heavily in terms of men, material and standing in the community of nations. Delimitation of the boundary at snowy heights need not have been a herculean assignment given the goodwill and understanding between the two neighbours which had cultural links for centuries. It has been argued that the two possible causes of the war were the Indian ‘designs’ in Tibet and its hospitality to Dalai Lama. Please let me disagree. India wanted only good relations with its neighbour. It pleaded the case of admitting China in the U.N. in the place of Taiwan. India recognised China’s claims on Tibet in 1953 itself.
Keywords: Sino-Indian war of 1962