The articles on the Sino-Indian war evoked unpleasant memories of the 1962 conflict. There is a heated debate on what exactly triggered the war and why India suffered a humiliating military defeat at the hands of the Chinese. Although the then ruling government has drawn a lot of flak in retrospect for its gullibility and procrastination, in 1962 India was a fledgling democracy whose leaders were learning the ropes of governance. It is, therefore, unfair to blame Jawaharlal Nehru and his government for the debacle. China has been hegemonic and expansionist in Asia and has territorial differences with its other neighbours too. Even today, China is many steps ahead of us militarily. It is better to engage it diplomatically and enhance our bilateral and technological ties, which will act as a deterrent to war.
I was in class 10 when China attacked India. Nehru and Krishna Menon failed to anticipate China’s moves. The unprepared Indian government forced the army to fight the war without a strategy. Thousands of square miles of land were occupied by China as a sequel to this one-sided war. Many Indian soldiers were killed as they lacked the requisite arms. They did not have even warm clothes to face the severe winter in the Himalayas.
It has taken 50 years for the government to honour the martyrs. Better late than never! The singing of aye mere watan ke logon can’t be a substitute for the act of honouring war veterans and their families.
M.V. Nagavender Rao,