Neighbours at war

As the squabble over boundaries increased a war seemed inevitable. The Sino-Indian War began on October 20, 1962.

Published - October 20, 2017 04:34 pm IST

Ready, aim, fire!: Indian soldiers in a bunker in a forward post during the war.

Ready, aim, fire!: Indian soldiers in a bunker in a forward post during the war.

Neighbours, India and China, share the border along the Himalayan range that runs across Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan. But, the Aksai Chin region in the western end between Xinjiang and Tibet, and Arunachal Pradesh on the eastern border region between Burma and Bhutan are areas of dispute as China claimed sovereignty. Both areas were trade routes.

Reasons for the war

The 1960 meetings between the two countries failed to resolve the boundary question. When India began patrolling along the disputed lands it found that China had marked the boundaries in such a way that at various locations the highest ridges came under China.

The then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, along with General B. M. Kaul, started the Forward Policy to counter China’s encroachment. They established outposts along these areas in an attempt to force China to leave. Finally, military confrontations between May and October along the borders caused China to declare war on India on October 20, 1962.

The war

The Chinese launched simultaneous attacks in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line which were 1,000 km apart. The high altitude and freezing conditions in both the Aksai Chin region and at Arunachal Pradesh where the war took place caused logistical difficulties for the armies of both countries.

By October 24, China had come 15 km inside Indian territory. Over the next three weeks, proposals and letters were exchanged negotiating settlements and boundaries.

The end

The war ended when China declared a ceasefire on November 20, 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal to the actual line of control. It was decided that by December 1, the Chinese frontier guards would move back 20 km behind the line of actual control. India also increased its support for Tibetian refugees as they were fighting a common enemy.

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