The border face-off between China and India has been going on for weeks now. Much has been said by some people while too little has been said by the ones we expected more from. Recently, the government said that the violence occurred on 15th June because China was trying to erect structures just across the LAC and did not desist from doing so. While there is no official statement from the Chinese Authorities, it is speculated that over 43 Chinese soldiers lost their lives.
The tensions in the border started way back in 1962. There is regular border transgression, but many times it won’t turn out to be as serious as now. Though, it happened once in 2013. Indian media stated that China troops have set up fences, trenches, and heavy equipment for several kilometers, which is considered Indian Territory. China is getting into the Territory that is accepted as the Indian Territory by them. China claims that India has changed the facts of the ground. Aksai Chin is a territory claimed to be in India but was occupied by China while constructing the road that links Tibet to Xinjiang in 1962.
Sino-Indian War 1962: What happened then?
Exactly on October 20, 1962, i.e., 58 years ago, India and China broke out in a war. In the Sino-India war, China army invaded Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Both the troops exchanged the bullets, and finally, the war ended on November 21 when China left the Indian territories. However, 3250 soldiers were killed, and this resulted in the loss of 43000 square kilometers of Indian land, which was taken over by China in Aksai Chin.
Relationship between India and China before the war
The Himalayas served as the frontiers for the neighboring countries. When India was invaded by the British and China occupied by the communist forces, the equation was changed. With the addition of Tibet, China announced the whole Himalayan region to be its sovereign territory. It was not ready to talk about the McMohan Line that would separate China and India to the East. The two countries signed an agreement on Panchsheel, which had five principles. The agreement was signed on April 29, 1954, at Peking.
The Then Prime Minister of India, Nehru stated that the old maps must be scrutinized. The new maps have come into force, showing the northern frontier with no reference to the line. However, the agreement has been kept confidential and was not open for discussion.
The official map released by China had Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh. When asked about the map, Premier Zhou Enlai stated it to be an error on the map.
‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai’
India and China are culturally, politically, and socially different. In the mid of 1950, they both came to an amicable settlement when the slogan of ‘Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai‘ was promoted by Jawaharlal Nehru.
Though, there was a huge outbreak in 1962, with Indian forces being defeated by China. It was a big blow to the then Prime Minister, Jawahar Lal Nehru.
The story behind the war
China stated that there were no issues in the border with India in 1956. Immediately in 1958, they said that Aksai Chin comes under the Chinese Territory.
There was a rebellion activity happening in Tibet where the People’s Liberation Army was trying to crumple the voice of the communist party that was led by Mao Zedong. The Dalai Lama, who was the spiritual leader in Tibet, had flown to India. The Indian government had given him asylum, which helped this spiritual leader to form the Tibet government while he was in exile. There were many clashes between Chinese and Indian forces in that year. China claimed that Arunachal Pradesh till the Himalayan foothill comes under their Territory. The relationship between the two countries was taking a toll due to the border issues, so Dalai Lama came into the picture to settle the issue between the two countries. He asked India to give up Aksai Chin and China to give up Arunachal Pradesh. Nehru dismissed the proposal claiming that China has no legitimate authority on any of these territories.
War started in 1962
After knowing China’s assertive nature, India came up with a Forward Policy in 1961 to create small military camps at several posts. However, the conflicts continued until the first half of 1962. However, India never thought that China would get into the war. Many attacks took place on October 20, 1962, on various posts in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. The main objective of the attack was to conquer Chip Chap river that was towards the west and the territories that were towards the Namka Chu River in the east.
End of the war
The Indian Army was not prepared for the war, and the China troops attacked the army, which had a lack of equipment and supplies. The Chinese force occupied up to 15 km of Indian Territory by October 24. Zhou Enlai sent a letter to Nehru as a signal to stop the fight. They went into negotiation. Both the parties were requested to go back 20 km away from the line of control. Enlai proposed withdrawing the rights in Arunachal Pradesh and suggested that both the countries maintain a status quo in Aksai Chin.
When this proposal was put before Nehru, he rejected it, stating that China’s claim on Aksai Chin is not legitimate. A resolution was passed to drive people from their sacred soil, and the war resumed on Nehru’s birthday. Finally, it came to an end with China occupying Aksai Chin. The 1962 war was a big jerk to both India and Nehru. They revamped the defense policy and started focusing on nuclear power to prepare the nation to fight a world war for power.