On the 50th anniversary of Indo-China conflict of 1962, lot of postmortem articles have been published, both in print and electronic media. Some articles have spoken about indecisive political leadership of Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, then Prime Minister of India and Defence Minister Krishna Menon, some have spoken about blunders in decisions from Indian military.
However, as I see, India was less defeated and more surprised by this blatant aggression from China. The reasons were lack of intelligence about what was happening inside China; India could not foresee that this aggression from Chinese Army was coming because it was more to divert attention from Chinese internal problems, raising of national sentiments within the population, rather than achieving a military objective. To counter this in future, post-1962 India made several sweeping changes to its intelligence infrastructure.
Coming back to 1962 conflict, let us take a look at China, from this angle -
Destruction of India-China relations + Seen as blatant aggressor by world community + Unnecessary loss of lives on both sides + Unilateral Ceasefire = Status-quo at the Indo-China border
Doesn't this equation look somewhat illogical, this gives weight to the claims by Indian Military that Chinese were never in a position to sustain the initial onslaught; but when you read through the history of Indo-China conflict, at one point you begin to realize that "India was surprised, but on the other end China was confused".
Once that initial-surprise advantage was gone, China was not sure how to handle the situation, how to finish what they have started. China realized it would not be able to sustain the situation it has created, the inhospitable terrain combined with Indian military resistance after the initial setback, and pressure on supply lines would be disastrous for Chinese troops occupying the Indian territory. So, in the end, there was these hasty unilateral ceasefire from China and all Chinese troops made a retreat to pre-conflict border lines. Now the question is what China achieved out of all this, well answer may only be known to the designers of this illogical military conflict. however, as for India it was an extremely important lesson learnt - "To be at Peace, be always prepared for the War." For this learning, we should be thankful to China.
Agni V, the Indian ICBM ( Image Courtesy - thehindubusinessline.com )
India could show that she has learnt its lessons from the past, when Chinese were beaten back comprehensively in Battle of Chola and Battle of Nathu-la in 1965 and 1967 respectively. Again, in 1987 skirmishes, when China started speaking the same tone as of 1962; they met with sheer confidence of Indian Military establishment who dared Chinese troops to try that aggression again, making the Chinese step back and take a notice of new battle-ready resurgent India who just refused to be surprised again !!!
An Active Defence Original
An Active Defence Original