Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Posts: 442
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: SanFrancisco Bay Area

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Kaushal » 01 Nov 2002 01:17

The above discussion, albeit with some disagreements, is an excellent example of deciphering a jig saw puzzle, with everyone adding their own insight. It is a lesson that we can carry on a highlevel discourse without giving up or attacking 'izzat' (id , ego,ahankar, whatever) and still fill in the jig saw puzzle . May there be more examples such as this.


Posts: 417
Joined: 07 Jul 2000 11:31
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Atish » 01 Nov 2002 01:41


Excellent thread, Informative and enjoyable. Lately BRF has again started the pleasant tickle in the brain that was missing for a little while. Keep it up folks.


Posts: 1562
Joined: 09 Oct 2000 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby JCage » 01 Nov 2002 02:20


After all, Chinese civilisation is based on Indian civilisation just as EVERY Asian nation is

This is priceless!Classic i say! :D

Inscrutable orientals,daft indeed!They have made their share of mess ups and embarked on maverick,unreasonable hot headed actions...but lets try telling that to SPC/analyst types!

Thanks for the insight.Could you elaborate more on the Uncle cultivating Indian leaders bit?
Also JLN is for better or worse,regarded as an idealist whose comeuppance was the 62 war.
Are there any resources wherein we can get a more reasonable or perhaps realistic view?

Re: CPI/Marxist tie-ups...a recent interview with one of the ex-leading lights of the Naxalbari movement and an associate of the CPI-M iirc(in some mag)was eye-opening.Given up the gun,turned to benign indifference ...but stoutly maintains that "by no stretch of imagination could China have attacked India in 62;India must have done something to deserve it".
I wouldnt be surprised if this "ideological view" was still held to dearly by many in the CPI/CPI-M etc.


I wish it was just the revisionist lackeys we could be worried about.IMHO,its not.We should be wary of any linkage /usage and perpetuation of the hegemon myth as it allows the proliferators and destabilisers to make merry;namely China and perhaps Uncle Sam who still has Cold War warriors running in the corridors of power.

To give an example from earlier times,the sale(proposed) of the E2C Hawkeye in the mid 80's and Indian concerns were explained away in yank terminology as the New York yankees worrying about the "Blue Jays" and suchlike.

One congressional aide gleefully told the Congress that 400 F-16's would ensure that Pakistans western borders would be inviolate and added that this would reduce tensions in the region as strength respects strength ,parity would ensure war was ruled out. :roll:

In the same vein,continued sales of AlKhalids,S-7's etc are needed to address the imbalance...the aerostats to prevent any rash destabilising action...

This myth of oppressing neighbours etc is still being spread-the pakis of course will do their utmost,see the pak news and discussion thread on the SSI forum and the Paki ex advisors "questions" to Yahswant Sinha.


BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 5
Joined: 15 May 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby manpreet » 01 Nov 2002 04:40

Very informative and interesting thread.

Thanks to all participants.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 55208
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby ramana » 01 Nov 2002 11:35

Quote: Thanks for the insight.Could you elaborate more on the Uncle cultivating Indian leaders bit?
Sure. Google for Marshal Windmiller. He is Prof of Intl Relations at San Francisco state and wrote in an obscure journal.

Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby daulat » 01 Nov 2002 15:03

Nitin - I wish it was just the revisionist lackeys we could be worried about.IMHO,its not.We should be wary of any linkage /usage and perpetuation of the hegemon myth as it allows the proliferators and destabilisers to make merry;namely China and perhaps Uncle Sam who still has Cold War warriors running in the corridors of power.

exactly my point mostin!! (in violent agreement)

the myth of the hegemon persists simply because the americans and chinese are the master hegemons and cannot comprehend a power that does not wish to do the same

btw - isn't 'myth of the hegemon' a japanese manga movie?! :)

india is (to us atleast) a benign power with no desire for smash and land grab from our neighbours - something that the other powers fail to comprehend since it is not how they think. our smaller neighbours do worry about us, but don't seriously think that we threaten their sovereignty. pakistan persists in their funk simply because their military leadership can only comprehend the world in terms of warfare - and the deeper funk of their belief in their so called martial heritage - but thats another thread. they have fed the beast, now they must reap the whirlwind of mixed metaphors ;)

China too is in an ideological transition - military strength is an important pillar for a state, but one who's primary strength is economic; once the politburo get past that, they'll look at the world differently

Raj Singh
Posts: 101
Joined: 23 Jan 2002 12:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Raj Singh » 02 Nov 2002 01:57


>something that the other powers fail to comprehend since it is not how they think.

Could it be, the perception India being a hegemon may have been reinforced by Goa/Sikkim/break up of Pakistan (creation of Bangladesh)?

Posts: 547
Joined: 30 May 2001 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Umrao » 02 Nov 2002 02:29

refering to ramana garu's brief history of Chinese plight during its colonization, I suggest the hon members pick up the video of '55 days at peking' *ing C Heston. Recently this was screened by Turner Classic Movies on cable (or was AMC?).

You get a feel for the imperial powers at work in China during those times.

<img src="" alt="" />

Heston and Gardner find romance amidst revolution in this drama about China's Boxer Rebellion. Though critics considered it too ambitious, this provides some compelling cinematic moments to historical epic buffs.
Added Later.
Folks consider what ramana garu said, and the pressures in which Mrs. G operated, even prior to 1962 Mrs. IG was the unofficial advisor to JLN while congress party had majority in parliament, the 1962 debacle really put a big dent and the economy just limping with monsoons playing havoc with heavily agriculture dominated economy, the communists were the biggest threat be it CPI or CPI (M) which split I think during 1962 elections.

It was astute Mrs. IG who by usurping the CPI/CPI (M) agenda (like Bill C taking away GOP agenda) she deftly out smarted the commies who were counting on Moscow or Peking to come in any time.

But for some stupid mistakes Mrs. IG, really kept the commies at bay thorough out the country with the exception of Kerala and W Bengal.
Imagine governing a nascent democracy with CIA, KGB, Chinese Intl agencies having a field day all the time.

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 44
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: The land of beer and honeys (...and that apple pie!)

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Harsh » 02 Nov 2002 13:50

Karthik Krishnamurthy,
which books are you referring to ?
Sorry about not being able to reply sooner, brosahib. I've been inundated with work, and have hardly had a chance to glance at this thread till tonight.

The biggest problem one finds when tackling the Sino-Tibetan conflict and the Sino-Indian conflict is that few realize they are two sides of the same coin.

The Chinese claim on Indian territory is based on the assertion that the Chinese claim on Tibet is legally valid. [In my opinion, it is not. That Nehru and Panikkar decided to acknowledge the Chinese invasion of Tibet does not take away from the fact that the invasion was just that - an illegal and immoral attack on and an annexing of a smaller independent nation.]

Researchers and authors approach the legal problem of contested Himalaya frontiers on two fronts: Sino-Tibetan, and Sino-Indian. However, as I said, these are two fronts of the same conflict; and most authors focus only on one of them while ignoring the other. To do so is not only shooting ourselves in the foot, but can be dangerously misleading (case in point: Maxwell.)

Few books approach the conflict from a wider perspective. Probably the most famous is the recent book "The Fate of Tibet - When Big Insects Eat Small Insects" by the Right Hon'ble Claude Apri. Not only does he use Indian political diplomatic material, dispatches and the like, that Maxwell had access to, but he de-feathers Maxwellian bakwaas (God I love that word - kudos to the BR member to popularize it here) by stepping back and not only critically looking at Chinese claims on Tibet - the basis of Chinese claims on India - but by dealing with the conflict as one and the same. It starts out by chronologically chronicling the Indo-Tibetan relationship from the very beginning, and later, the intricacies of the Sino-Tibetan Choe-Yon (Guru-Shishya) relationship. The book lays the often-ignored (but no less important) inning of Great Game bare - the involvement of China in Tibet.

Books dealing with the Sino-Tibet issue and the Sino-Indian issue are numerous and detailed - if detached from one another. To one wanting to learn more about the war, I would recommend reading books about the legal status of Tibet before Chinese invasion to get a broader view of the Sino-Indian conflict. Historical books by researchers affiliated with Dharmasala, or legal ones by groups such as the Intl. Commission of Jurists, etc., are good starting points.


On the subject of books, and views, there is said to be three consequent paradigm changes about the Sino-Indian conflict. The first, put forward directly after the War was the argument that "China was the Agressor", plain and simple. China, after/because of conquering Tibet attacked India to capture strategic territory, affirm its place in Asia and consolidate its Tibetan occupation by proactive means.

The second, due to the muckraking of Maxwell and Alastiar Lamb (guilty of the same presuppositions as Maxwell) is the "Noble China/Devious India" argument, which gained momentum during the height of the Cold War, when Indo-Western relations were at its lowest ebb and when Mao and Nixon pranced about nuzzling noses and blowing each other kisses as allies against a common foe. Many of the Cold Warriors defected to this side, polarizing the argument into the two camps we have today.

Lately, however, there has come a third shift in thinking - the general realization that the two conflicts, Sino-Tibetan and Sino-Indian, are the same, and there has been much meeting of the minds of Tibet-centric and Indian-centric researchers on the subject. New viewpoints, looking at the unified conflict from a broader historical and civilizational perspective are gaining momentum, and it is no exaggeration to say that the distinguished Mr. Apri served as a catalyst. There are rumors of new books being researched - joint Indo-Tibetan efforts - and already this view is winning converts to the Indo-Tibetan perspective from an academia now (somewhat) distanced from Cold War biases.


Correct, Mr. Andy Chan (Xinhui) of (not to be confused with the CMF), has an OrBat of the Chinese forces in the war. With his permission, it is reproduced below:

Sino-India Border Self-Defense Counter-Attack Battle.
This is the official Chinese name for the event of 1962. or the Sino-India war of 1962.
Order of Battle (Orbat)

1st Phase:

Xizang (Tibet) Military Region Command:

Xizang Frontline Command:
Xizang Garrison 419th formation. (154th, 155th, and 157th regiments)
11th division (32nd, 33rd regiments)
308th artillery regiment
136th engineering regiment
Xizang Military Region command base
Shan-Nan (South Maintain) Front sub-district (1st, 2nd, 3rd regiments)
Lin Zhi Front Sub District (Mi Lin battalion, Mo Tu battalion)
Chang Du Front Sub District (Reinforced battalion of 153rd regiment, Sub District independent battalion)

Xinjing Military Region Kangxiwa command HQ:

4th division (10th regiment, 120 artillery battalion, Engineering battalion, Anti-aircraft artillery battalion, communication battalion
2nd regiment, the A-li sub-formation
3rd Cavalry regiment
109th Engineering regiment, 1st battalion.


Second Phase:

Xizang Military Region Frontline Command:

Xizang Garrison 419th formation. (154th, 155th, and 157th regiments)
11th division (32nd, 33rd regiments, Anti-aircraft Artillery battalion, temporary Artillery battalion)
306th, 540th, 308th artillery regiments
136 engineering regiment
24th railroad regiment
130 division (388th, 389th, 390th Regiment, Anti-aircraft Artillery battalion)
153rd regiment
134th division (Mixed Infantry-Artillery battalion, Anti-aircraft Artillery battalion, also acting as HQ unit for 134th division)
135th division (Anti-aircraft Artillery battalion)

Xizang Military Region Base Command:

Shan Nan sub-district (1st regiment)
Lin Zhi Front Sub District command
Xinjing Military Region Kangxiwa command HQ
4th division (10th regiment, 120 artillery battalion, Engineering battalion, Anti-aircraft artillery battalion, communication battalion
2nd regiment, the A-li sub-formation
3rd Cavalry regiment
Perhaps Mr. Chan can make an appearance in this thread and explain the processes he used to reach those figures?


Thanks for the link to the ChoLa incident. I've realized the links on our page to BR have been outdated (sorry!), and will soon be corrected.


Kaushal, Could the 1962 war be considered a part of the Great Game?
Though the Great Game is usually abscribed to Russia and China in Central Asia through Afghanistan, with a bit of the Himalaya as a backdrop, there was another theater - the solely Sino-Tibetan. Ancient concerns and nostalgia aside, the British proactively engaged Tibet through China (and then Tibet directly) not only to pre-empt Russian meddling, but to establish trade relations with what was seen as a potentially lucrative market. At this time, the myth of Shangra-La, musk and perfumes growing wild, streets and buildings of Gold - a Tibetan El Dorado - enjoyed much popularity. When the economy of Tibet was eventually assessed, it was decided that adventures in Tibet was almost as a liability. Except among zealous Great Gameists and Russiophobists, Tibet was later seen and generally not worth it, and then onwards we see the British acknowledging the myth of Chinese suzerainty, and border bungling along the frontier. One must really tip one's hat to Chinese persistence - their quest to annex Tibet and strategy towards getting it did not change since the Great Game, and survived three successive, contradictory governments, whereas India did not have a coherent, long-term strategy towards Tibet or China (to call 'Hindi-Chini-bhai-bhai' a strategy would be an insult to the very word) until the Look-East proactive-engagement/containment doctrine of the 90s.


a lot of readers on this thread are mightily perturbed about anyone claiming that India might have brought the 62 war on its own head. i too used to feel the same way...
1. so what if india is a hegemon, we should be!
2. so what if we were aggressive to china, we should have been (but more prepared first!)
3. so what if we are vocal about our status -we damn well should be
Power respects power. It is the fundamental basis of geopolicy. China did not respect a India that practiced ritual self-castration. That disrespect played out in the Debacle. India was politically humiliated. PRC delusions of grandeur over India persist to this day.

The brute facts of life: fair enough. But I ask, must we continue to in our self-emasculation? Brushing off Maxwell as irrelevant, or stating with pride that India's "aggression" was justified or whatnot, is eventually self-defeating. The fact is that Maxwell pulled one hell of a pro-PRC propaganda coup that India is still reeling from. That propaganda must be countered, and mere bravado about how our "wrongs" were, in fact, "rights" is simply not impressive enough. Pakistan, tight-of-ass, fair-of-skin - but in reality, full-of-$hit - is an stank example of this. Even assuming the Maxwell fallacy is correct, the political fallout of the 'aggressing India' is detrimental to the Cause, and must be countered.

Acceding to such an obvious wrong is a sign of weakness. If there is one lesson India must take to heart from the Debacle, it is this.


Ron Eaton,
The religion of the Chinese, is it Confucianism, Taoism, or Buddhism ???
Though it is a bit off topic, the answer to your question would be, all four (including Christianity, as you also mentioned, which is making strong headway in China, especially amongst the more upwardly-mobile as a means of engaging the West on an equal footing.) All four faiths, if you consider the nontheist philosophies of Confucianism and Taoism as faith, have influenced and affected each other, creating uniquely Chinese religion and philosophies. Indian contributions in this field have been immense. During friendlier times, entire philosophies have been exported wholesale into China by Indian pilgrims, saints and traders (my best friend, who is a Chinese Buddhist, for instance has a shrine to an indigenous Chinese deity - an deity exact in all respects, aside from race, to Saraswati. A fitting testament to happier times, no doubt.)

But I digress... I am sure anyone wishing to continue to discuss this topic can do so in a relevant thread in the General History & Current Affairs Forum.


Wariness is not what I'm talking about. It's the undercurrent of awe and defeatism that occasionally comes across in DDM stuff that p!sses me off. Not that it's anything specific. Just an attitude.
Well said. I agree completely. Most Chinese who boast, I've noticed, tend to boast about superiority in all topics. Whereas the boastful Indian; he boasts about his inferiority in all - including the topic of inferiority. Rather pathetic, really.

Also, what is "DDM"?


Also, just a final, humble request...

Does anyone have pictures, or know of a source of pictures about the conflict? So far we are aware of only a few books, several Chinese VCDs of questionable authenticacy, and a Time Magazine published in Dec, 1962. The latter I found on ebay while out of country and was therefore unable to bid on it. I've heard it has been on and off, but despite daily efforts, I've never since managed to pin it down. So any internet auction enthusiasts out there, please keep your eyes peeled and please contact us if you find it. Or, if you purchase it, please kindly make available to those interested the pictures there.

Thank you kindly.


A webmaster of:
The 1962 Sino-Indian War Website.

Posts: 264
Joined: 30 Jul 2001 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby kgoan » 02 Nov 2002 22:24

Harsh, DDM --> Desi Dork Media. A Brism invented before my time. I'm not sure by whom, probably Narayanan.

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 44
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: The land of beer and honeys (...and that apple pie!)

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Harsh » 03 Nov 2002 00:34

Ahh, my bad. I've heard the phrase but didn't realize the acronym. Thanks.


Also, I talked to Xinhui, and he says the source for his Orbat is "based on the book Wars of the Republic, published by PLA in Chinese, in the Sino-India border war chapter."

Though I wonder if the PRC ever published casualty figures for the war. I've seen it mentioned that they have, but no one seems to actually quote the figures...

Much respect,

A webmaster of:
The 1962 Sino-Indian War Website.

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 05:32

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby member_4810 » 03 Nov 2002 01:00

Yes they have, in a very detail report. I don't have that information with me right now.

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 44
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: The land of beer and honeys (...and that apple pie!)

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Harsh » 03 Nov 2002 01:04

Hmm, do you know if copies of that report are available in the states?


Posts: 442
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: SanFrancisco Bay Area

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Kaushal » 03 Nov 2002 02:06

review of "lest we forget' by Amarinder singh

PS Harsh , that was a very perceptive summing up of the strategic aspects of the India-China conflict. Esp. the part where if you accept that China has no locus standi in Tibet then there is no Indo-China border conflict because there is no Indo china border (except for a small portion in POK and the karakorum pass). of course the chinese claim to Xinjiang is tenuous too - but who will bell the cat and tell China that.

a summing up of the overall standoff


Posts: 310
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Prateek » 03 Nov 2002 22:41

This article probably proves why GF claimed that China is enemy #1 for India !!!

War with China: Could it happen again? Probabilities are less, but never the less possible, says this article here in rediff.

COULD IT HAPPEN AGAIN? Dr John W Garver The probability of another war between China and India is not great. But it does exist.

Armed conflict on the scale of 1962, possibly greater, might arise out of three situations, singularly or in combination: Chinese intervention in an Indian-Pakistan war, a major uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, and the unresolved border dispute.

A Pakistan strong enough to challenge India will, perforce, prevent any Indian government from concentrating its diplomatic energies and/or its military forces against China.

A strong and anti-India Pakistan compels Indian defence planners to keep the better part of Indian forces on guard in India's west and away from China's borders. Indian preoccupation with South Asian challenges also greatly hinders India's ambition of acting as an Asian or global equal to China; it keeps India chained to the subcontinent.

Internecine conflict between India and Pakistan forces world capitals to view both those states in a regional context, leaving China alone on a higher global plane, as the only truly Asian power. Finally, the realities of the existing distribution of subcontinental power keep India cautious when dealing with problems relating to "China's Tibet".

>>> Is this the reason why India should slow down against Pakistan, until we reach some where ? India's War with Pakistan can serve Chinese Intentions pretty well.... as I have been saying this since long time. It's China that India has to deal with. And We must cut the Chinese Arm in Pakistan with with brute force.

China did not create the animosity between India and Pakistan. But China's strategists recognize the enduring reality of that enmity and use it to China's advantage.

Would China, then, intervene in an India-Pakistan war? Almost certainly not, unless it seemed that India were about to decisively subordinate Pakistan. Short of that point, Beijing would probably render Pakistan various sorts of material and political support, while pressuring Washington, Paris, London, Moscow, Tokyo and other capitals to pressure New Delhi to cease operations against Pakistan and restore the status quo ante.

What if those measures didn't work? What if India pushed ahead with a determination to settle its Pakistan problem once and for all? What if India persisted, perhaps in the aftermath of a nuclear exchange, in a drive to decisively resolve India's Pakistan problem?

Beijing would probably then undertake measures moving up the escalation ladder threatening intervention --- making increasingly ominous declarations, undertaking various troop movements and manoeuvres, taking punitive measures to downgrade Sino-Indian diplomatic relations, creating incidents along the Sino-Indian border in an area distant from Pakistan, and so on.

>>> This gives more reasons for Indians as to why India should get the capability to hit HongKong, Shanghai and Beigjing with a short notice with a Megatonner nuke Bomb. Unless India has this kind of a deterrence, India can't help itself against Pakistan India must develop capabilities to hit the heart of China, with its full might, even while we are at war with Pakistan. This alone can save India from the Chinese RED Dragon.

China's response would probably depend very much on the circumstances at the time. Like, what the battlefield balance between India and Pakistan is and how effective Chinese intervention would be. And what the military balance between the People's Liberation Army and the Indian armed forces is at that point.

One extremely important factor would be the attitude of the United States and its allies. If Washington could be persuaded to adopt an understanding attitude towards Chinese intervention, or to agree to remain neutral, Beijing would be much more likely to intervene.

On the other hand, US and Western disapproval of Chinese intervention would greatly raise the costs for Beijing of Chinese intervention. Chinese diplomacy would probably go all out to secure Western understanding. A great deal would depend on the skill of Indian diplomacy.

>>> Does this also mean that US and west disapproved India's action against Pakistan NOW ? India is probably in great danger of getting nuked not just by Pakistan, but by the Chinese too. India should tread their future path very seriously and and get their ACTS together very QUICKLY against China. Also the report FAILS to give India the third option they git, that is the ability for Indian armed forces to HIT Chinese heartland with nuclear bombs, in a massive way. With this ability and India warning Chinese interventions well ahead of time, should Keep Chinese from intervening. I bet Chinese will not loose HK, Beijing and Shanghai for the sake of Pakistan or Kashmir. But this option depends on the Indian leadership and their will power.

Since the breakup of the USSR and Yugoslavia along ethnic lines, Beijing has lifted earlier restrictions on Han migration into Tibet. The result has been a flood of Chinese into Tibet. Already, perhaps close to half the population of Tibet is Han (this is the estimate of the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile in India) and that proportion will almost certainly continue to grow as new roads and rail-lines are built into Tibet.

>>> This is what something India should have done w.r.t Kashmir !

Forum Moderator
Posts: 55208
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby ramana » 04 Nov 2002 06:39

Muddur 'Claimed'- off course the current dispensation is!!!

Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby daulat » 04 Nov 2002 14:43

Raj Singh - Could it be, the perception India being a hegemon may have been reinforced by Goa/Sikkim/break up of Pakistan (creation of Bangladesh)?

these are the types of situations that are often used to justify the claims. the bangladesh situation in particular was proof positive as far as the rest of the world were concerned, then sikkim was 'swallowed', IPKF in Lanka... China has not let any of these situations go by without exploiting their propaganda value

john garver's article in rediff and in this thread posted by someone else gives a good synopsis

bottom line, only a strong india can survive. a mr nice guy india will not

Posts: 793
Joined: 04 Jul 1999 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Hitesh » 06 Nov 2002 10:39

Jai Hind!
That site was awesome. It is always good to see that Indians take a critical look at all our wars in the past and ensure that we don't make the same mistakes twice. That is what killed us before and caused that 1000 years of war, slaughter, and great demises of great glorious cultures.

History is a bitter pill to swallow but must we swallow to move on and make a better future for India. Keep up the good work.


BRF Oldie
Posts: 3355
Joined: 23 Oct 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Kakkaji » 06 Nov 2002 20:27

Remembering a war: A POW in Tibet

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 27
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Thane,Maharashtra,India

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Vaibhav » 06 Nov 2002 20:27

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 05:32

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby member_4827 » 06 Nov 2002 21:17

In the article "A PoW in Tibet" Gen K.K.Tewari mentions about the grave of Subedar Joginder Singh ( PVC awardee )whose grave they visited in Tibet. Did GOI try to get back his remains ( and others who died there ) . If not it is high time we got the remains of our soldiers back, as they deserve honorable last rites in their motherland. I have seen US go to extraordinary lengths in doing so for their own.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 55208
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby ramana » 07 Nov 2002 23:21

Anil Athale debunks Maxwell's version : Military Nonsense
The Rediff Special/Col (retd) Anil Athale

I think it was in 1988, at a talk at the IDSA (Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, New Delhi) that Neville Maxwell peddled his thesis that it was India that was the aggressor in 1962, and claimed that China merely 'reacted'.

Maxwell is a self-confessed Maoist, and anybody who has had occasion to deal with the ideologically motivated scholars (?) of the pink variety knows how difficult it is to argue with them! Yet, having spent close to four years researching the subject, backed up by military experience/knowledge, field visits and hundreds of interviews, I was on sure ground.

The question I posed to Maxwell was simple... if it was merely reacting to provocations, how come the attack on October 20, 1962, took place at the same time in the Chip Chap valley in Ladakh and 1000km away on the Namkachu river? The precision and co-ordination speaks for a well thought-out plan and premeditation. To talk of these co-ordinated attacks over a wide front as 'reaction' is military nonsense.

The second and even more fundamental point is the huge resources in heavy artillery and mortars used by the Chinese during the operations, specially in the Ladakh sector. Tibet, in 1962, was a virtual desert, bereft of any local resources. Even a pin had to be brought all the way from the 'mainland', over a tortuous and single road from the railhead located nearly 2000km away. It is like the Indian Army fighting in Arunachal with the nearest railhead located at Kanyakumari.

In order to suppress the Tibetans, the Chinese indeed had a very large military presence in Tibet. But that was mainly infantry, not heavy weaponry. In fact, it was a journalist of The Hindustan Times who reported the rumours circulating in Kalimpong (Sikkim was then independent and heavily infested with Chinese spies) that heavy artillery from the Taiwan front had been moved to Tibet. The Chinese took a good six to eight months to gather all these resources. A reaction indeed!

Unfortunately for Indians, with no means to monitor Chinese movements, India was in the dark about these developments.

This does not mean that India, especially Nehru, did not make provocative statements. He did. The classic being the offhand remark while leaving for Colombo, when he told the waiting media that he had ordered the Indian Army to 'throw out the Chinese'! But there is a vast gulf between verbal and military provocations.

But the best-kept secret of the 1962 border war is that a large part of the non-military supplies needed by the Chinese reached them via Calcutta! Till the very last moment, border trade between Tibet and India went on though Nathu La in Sikkim. For the customs in Calcutta, it was business as usual and no one thought to pay any attention to increased trade as a battle indicator.

There is undeniable linkage between the Cuban missile crisis and the Chinese attack. This has been brought out in the official history and was also written about by me in the print media in 1992 (in The Sunday Observer).

The US ordered the call-up of reservists on September 11, 1962, when the Chinese attacked the Dhola post in the East. The naval blockade was ordered around October 16 and put in place by October 20, the exact time of the Chinese attack. Given the close Chinese relations with the erstwhile Soviet Union, it seems entirely plausible that the Chinese must have had prior information about the placement of missiles in Cuba. In December 1962, after the conflict was over, the Soviet Union charged China with 'adventurism' against India.

The unilateral Chinese ceasefire of November 21 and the quick withdrawal coincided with the resolution of the Cuban missile crisis. The Chinese were afraid of intervention by the US Air Force. They were not very wrong, for literally within days the massive American airlift of supplies for India began on November 23/24, 1962.

In international relations there is no room for coincidences. Certainly not four or five! It would not be an exaggeration to say that had the Cuban missile crisis not taken place the Chinese would not have attacked on such a massive scale. This also explains Nehru's confidence that China would not attack. All these years, the need to maintain its non-aligned 'virginity' prevented India from acknowledging that it was the implicit American support against China that was at the back of Nehru's confidence.

It is best to quote Professor Thomas C Schelling (Arms & Influence, Yale University Press, 1966, page 53): "Our commitment is not so much a policy as a prediction... In the Indian case, it turns out that we [the US] had a latent or implicit policy [to support India against China]. It was part of the effort to preserve the role of deterrence in the world and Asia. Military support to India would be a way of keeping an implicit pledge...." (paraphrased)

Schelling then goes on to say that Nehru possibly anticipated it for 10 years and that was why he was so contemptuous of the kind of treaties Pakistan signed with the US. Nehru felt that his own involvement with the West in emergencies would be as strong without any treaty.

The tragedy was that Nehru could not anticipate the Cuban crisis that took away the 'shield ' of implicit American support.

Colonel (retd) Anil Athale, former director of war history at the defence ministry and co-author of the official history of the 1962 war, is a frequent contributor to
So we were righ to infer that it was part of Great game and Nehru was a covert realist.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 55208
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby ramana » 08 Nov 2002 00:34

Mohan Guruswamy:

The Se La Debacle of 1962

By Mohan Guruswamy

New Delhi, 26 October 2002

The article highlights the blunders of our political leadership in 1962 in matters military. The author opines that 40 years later nothing seems to have changed

On 14 October 1962 US U-2 spy planes over flying Cuba detected Soviet military personnel erecting IRBM capable missile launchers. The CIA’s photo-analysts had also determined that some of the missiles were lying alongside and that they would be operational within weeks putting much of mainland USA under less than five minutes of warning after launch. John F. Kennedy, whose presidency was marred in its initial weeks by a fiasco when a US organized invasion of Cuba by émigré Cuban forces floundered on the shoals of the Bay of Pigs, was in no mood to add another Cuban failure to his record.

On 22 October he ordered a blockade of Cuba and warned the Soviet Union that all its vessels would be boarded and inspected by US naval forces. Five days later a Russian flotilla consisting of ships with more Cuba bound missiles lashed on their decks and with an armed escort of destroyers and submarines ground to a halt ahead of the blockading US ships. The two super-powers were now eyeball to eyeball and unless one blinked there would be Armageddon. Nikita Khrushchev blinked first and the Soviet Union agreed to withdraw its nuclear missiles from Cuba. Though the USA in turn agreed to discreetly dismantle its nuclear tipped Jupiter missiles from Turkey, quite clearly the Soviets had backed down.

Some recent articles written elsewhere, like I had written earlier in these columns, on the 40th anniversary of the 1962 Sino-Indian border war, have provoked this narration. These articles have suggested that the Chinese attack was timed to coincide with the Cuban Missile Crisis, at a time when the USA was militarily pre-occupied, as much to take advantage of it as also to put pressure on the USA. The facts seem to suggest otherwise.

There might have been something to this logic if the Chinese attack across the Namka Chu River in Arunachal Pradesh (then NEFA), that had begun on 19 October had continued uninterrupted after the huge gains it had quickly made. For by 23 October the Chinese PLA’s force of about three regiments had decimated the Indian Army’s 7 Brigade commanded by Brig. John Dalvi (taken prisoner) and was within ten miles of Tawang. On 24 October the PLA entered Tawang unopposed. That night they were also opposite Walong at the other end of NEFA. Both, Tawang and Walong were deep inside NEFA. Even in the western sector despite a determined stand made possible by the deft handling of resources by Lt.Gen Daulet Singh the Chinese had by and large occupied all that lay within their claim line here by 21 October. There was a lull in the fighting in all sectors after this.

On 24 October the Chinese issued a statement that after the predictable recriminations made three proposals. They were: I. Both sides agree to respect the line of actual control (LAC) as of November 1959 and withdraw their forces twenty kilometers from that line. II. If India agreed to (I), the Chinese agreed to withdraw to the north of the McMahon line in the eastern sector. (This was significant considering the PLA was quite deep inside NEFA.) III. That the two Prime Ministers meet, either in New Delhi or Peking to seek a friendly settlement. On the very same day a statement was issued by New Delhi rejecting these proposals. On 4 November, Chou En-lai wrote to Nehru commending the Chinese proposals and urged Nehru to accept them. Nehru countered with a proposal on 7 November that the Chinese should return to the positions they held on 8 September and that talks follow after this is complied with.

During this period of renewed diplomatic skirmishing there was a major development. On 29 October the US Ambassador, John Kenneth Galbraith, called on his friend Jawaharlal Nehru and offered “any military equipment India might need.” This started arriving within five days and soon there were as many as eight USAF and RAF flights a day each disgorging twenty tons of hardware. Ironically only a few weeks before this Jawaharlal Nehru while rejecting a suggestion of India seeking western arms aid equated the acceptance of military aid with joining a military bloc and declared that India would never accept this “even if disaster comes to us on the frontier.” The disaster that visited the 7 Brigade was a small one compared what was to visit the 4 Division in November.

The lull that followed the quick Chinese advances to Tawang and Walong in the east and to the gates of Chushul, instead of causing the national leaders to introspect and inject some realism in them took them on new flights of fancy. The defeats gave rise to a wave of jingoism and euphoria since seen only once after that, during the Kargil conflict. The Lok Sabha praised the “wonderful and spontaneous response of the people of India to the emergency.” Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, always with a way with words, said: “the blood of our martyred jawans is becoming the seed of a new, virile nation that is being born in our country.” Little wonder then that Nehru commented “we never had it so good.”

Instead of taking stock of what went wrong on the run up to the stinging defeat at Namka Chu our leaders persuaded themselves that further battle would beat the Chinese back. When 7 Brigade launched its ill conceived operation, the decision for which was taken by people at the highest level overlooking all advice of commanders on the frontline, the jawans fighting at heights of 12-14000 feet had only light tunics and one blanket each to fight the cold, and ancient .303 rifles with about forty rounds each to fight the Chinese. The massive airlift of western small arms did little to change this reality. Instead of seeking a respite and allowing the military leaders the option of choosing the time and place for the next battle, the politicians, both, in parliament and in the Indian Army pressed on for another round.

After the initial debacles in NEFA, Lt. Gen. B M Kaul, who was hastily appointed commander of the newly created IV Corps, had returned to the more familiar battlegrounds in New Delhi stricken with pulmonary edema. Lt. Gen. Harbaksh Singh replaced him. Harbaksh Singh after studying the changed tactical position of his troops decided that the next point of defence would be Bomdila. But he was replaced by Kaul after hardly four days and transferred out to take command of XXXIII Corps, which was under Lt. Gen. Umrao Singh. Before the establishment of IV Corps, created for the express convenience of Kaul, XXXIII Corps was responsible for the defence of NEFA. Like Lt. Gen. Daulet Singh of the Western Command, Umrao Singh had consistently warned the higher ups in New Delhi of the Indian Army’s lack of preparedness to take on the Chinese PLA. Umrao was now packed off to a staff job.

Kaul returned with the DMO, Brig. D K Palit, in tow. Palit, who later wrote a somewhat self-serving yet eminently readable book on the 1962 war, was a favourite of Kaul and a man quite well versed with the functioning of the Delhi durbar. Palit had earlier commanded the now ill-fated 7 Brigade and could claim intimate knowledge of the terrain. Military logic, given the availability of troops and supplies demanded that they be concentrated in Bomdila, as per the Indian Army’s three-tiered defence plan for NEFA prepared in 1959 by Lt. Gen. Thorat. This called for at least four brigades. In 1961 Lt. Gen. LP Sen who took over Eastern Command from Thorat determined that he would need two divisions or six brigades to do the job. After the debacle at Namka Chu, the 4 Division had only two brigades to do the job! But Kaul and Palit, fresh out from New Delhi, put out the word that Se La which was a good sixty miles ahead of Bomdila and nearer Tawang must be held. The politicians could not afford its loss. 4 Division’s losses were hastily replenished with troops rushed to NEFA from the plains and by mid November it was back to full strength, though not preparedness.

14 November was the Prime Ministers seventy-third birthday and Kaul wished to give him a present. He launched an attack in the Walong sector to push the Chinese back over to the other side of the McMahon line. This was probably the stupidest order he was to ever give. The PLA had a full division lying in wait at Rima while the Army’s new 2 Division just had three battalions designated 11 Brigade at Walong. The PLA retaliated with a massive wallop. 11 Brigade fought bravely but was all but wiped out by 17 November even as newspapers in Delhi were hailing the attack!

The decision to confront the Chinese at Se La led to the thinning of the forces at Bomdila, which was now defended by just six companies. Kaul and Palit did not envisage the possibility of the Chinese bypassing Se La in any great strength. But this is just what they did. They took the path known as the Bailey Trail, named after the British officer who rediscovered the traditional route to Tawang. 4 Division with its main defence centered in Se La was much too thinly spread and the PLA began hacking at its rear. By the time orders went out for 62 Brigade to evacuate Se La, it was too late. They were cut off and its commander Brig. Hoshiar Singh, who was later awarded the Param Vir Chakra, fell fighting on 17 November. The next day the divisional headquarters at Dirang Dzong, between Se La and Bomdila fell. On 20 November Bomdila fell. The rout in NEFA was complete.

Jawaharlal Nehru made a broadcast to the nation that night. His broadcast had a special place for the people of Assam. He said: “Now what has happened is very serious and very saddening to us and I can well understand what our friends in Assam must be feeling, because all this is happening at their doorstep.” Later that night Nehru made an urgent appeal to the USA for intervene with air strikes against the Chinese on Indian territory.

I had written earlier in these columns about how we blundered into a war with the Chinese. First with the asinine Forward Policy, and then with absurd orders to hold cartographically and militarily untenable positions leading to the Namka Chu debacle. Had we used the interregnum when the Chinese halted their advance and made the offer to withdraw to positions held prior to November 1959 intelligently, we could have built up our strength with the new western arms and faced the Chinese another time and place. But our political system with its emphasis on polemics, and our media ever willing to conjure up dreams that never can be, for rulers unable to see their feet of clay even in the light of day caused us to lurch unthinkingly towards certain disaster. It is still the same story. Just read the papers.

Posts: 193
Joined: 15 Nov 2000 12:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Leonard » 08 Nov 2002 22:37

I am reading

Spy on the Roof of the World
by Sydney Wignall

Interesting details.

Interrorgation of Sydney, John Harrop, and Damdohar

was conducted by "a Oily Haired Indian Gentleman who spoke Urdu fluently and some Hindi"

Also, the Body Search of Sydney, John Harrop, and Damodhar, was very professional to minute details.

Even the baggage search by the Chinese was cursory, but the Baggage was re-searched by "indian intelligence agent".

My speculations:

This guy was a Paki.

The Pakis were involved in the 1962 Conflict, and
provided the Chinese with Vital Intel information on the deployments of the IA in NEFA. Most of the Paki Spies were probably from Bangladesh.

The PLA attacked weak deployments points of the IA
based on this information.

Is Any other information, how the Pakis were involved in the 1962 Conflict available ?????

Posts: 193
Joined: 15 Nov 2000 12:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Leonard » 08 Nov 2002 22:56

Sheikh Mujibur Rehman in 1949 was elected as member of the provincial Assembly and later elected as member of the National Parliament. Twice he became the Minister in the government of East Pakistan. He also led the Parliamentary delegation to the Peoples Republic of China.
He was arrested on October 12,1958 for one and a half year and later again in 1962 on the eve of the proclamation of the constitution, for six months.

So when did the Paki-Chinese Nexus really begin ????


Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Harpal_Bector » 09 Nov 2002 00:46

I am very happy to see Colonel Athale's analysis of the Neville Maxwell book. He has succinctly covered the key elements behind the 1962 conflict.

I am sickened even further by the manner in which some Indians take Maxwell as an authority on the topic and actually commiserate with the Chinese on the issue. The sacrifice of their fellow Indians is neatly ignored or forgetten.

BRF Oldie
Posts: 3355
Joined: 23 Oct 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Kakkaji » 10 Nov 2002 03:02

Second part of Col. Anil Athale's column on India-China war: Missed Opportunities

Posts: 310
Joined: 05 May 2001 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Prateek » 10 Nov 2002 08:04

The silver lining !

THE SILVER LINING November 20, 1962, was the darkest day in the history of independent India. The previous evening, a distraught Nehru addressed the nation. "Huge Chinese armies are marching into the Northeast of India... yesterday we lost Bomdila, a small town in Kameng division... my heart goes out to the people of Assam!"

The whole nation was stunned by the reverses on the battlefront. Rightly or wrongly (from the military point of view at least) people perceived that the very existence of India was at stake. Nehru's loss of nerve and 'abandoning' of Assam had grave repercussions. Even 40 years after the event, ULFA extremists and common Assamese often cite that speech by Nehru and assert that at a time of peril India had abandoned Assam.

But in these otherwise dark winter days, there was a silver lining.

As if in a flash, all internal bickering and fights ceased. On October 23, the guard at Teen Murti House, the prime minister's official residence, was confronted by an elderly couple, obviously from a rural area near Delhi. When they demanded to see the PM, the sentry directed them to his officer, thinking they must have come with some petition. The officer was stunned into silence when the old man took out papers donating his land for the defence of the nation.

Women gave their jewellery, including their 'mangalsutra', to the National Defence Fund to buy guns to fight the Chinese. In Rajasthan, 250 families from Village Bardhana Khurd decided to send one son from each family into the army. All over the country people queued up to join defence forces. Trade unions all over India gave up their right to strike till the national emergency lasted. The donations in cash were more than $220 million, the total amount needed in the supplementary budget.

Posts: 338
Joined: 09 Oct 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby daulat » 11 Nov 2002 15:21

Leonard - oily haired gentleman was Pakistani...

a very good hypothesis, I had assumed he was a maoist, but even desi maosists have some deshbhakti - so actually the possibility of pakistani involvement is high

wignall's account of PLA interrogation techniques is quite interesting - mock executions, minor humiliations, etc. I had expected more actual beatings and torture, which does not seem to have happened - i guess the psycological impact was probably quite intense

the most amusing part of the book is the PLA's mad dash to learn mountaineering to check out the secret CIA observation posts that wignall lied about to amuse his interrogators - including the one on top of everest! :)

BRF Oldie
Posts: 3355
Joined: 23 Oct 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Kakkaji » 12 Nov 2002 09:22

Remembering a War: Fleeing Tezpur

BRF Oldie
Posts: 3355
Joined: 23 Oct 2002 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Kakkaji » 15 Nov 2002 03:54

Deccan Chronicle
Friday, November 15, 2002
Men of steel on icy heights
By Mohan Guruswamy
One of the bitter ironies of life is that greatest acts of heroism
and valour mostly happen when the odds are hopeless and death and
defeat inevitable.
Throughout history nations have always glorified such episodes in
their ballads and poems, by honouring the heroes and commemorating
the event.
It is the common perception of these few and far in between episodes
in a people’s history that forge a sense of nationhood. Why else
would we celebrate the deaths of a Prithviraj Chauhan or a Tipu
Or a Porus or a Shivaji who battled great armies with little more
than a handful of brave comrades and immense courage? Of course we
rejoice in the triumphs of an Ashoka or Chandragupta or even an
Akbar but that is about greatness and not heroism.
Even if it is true that the end of history is at hand, we can be
sure that the annals of heroism will never cease being written.
However endless these may be, the heroic stand of C Company of the
13 Kumaon at Rezang La on November 18, 1962 will always be among the
more glorious chapters.
The monument that stands at Chushul asks: “How can a man die better/
Than facing fearful odds/ For the ashes of his fathers/ And the
temples of his gods.” C Company was fighting for neither ashes nor
temples, for they were none at Chushul.
The loss of Chushul would not even have had much bearing on the
ultimate defence of Ladakh. But in those dark days of 1962 Chushul
became a matter of national honour.
Chushul is only 15 miles from the border as the crow flies and even
then had an all weather landing strip. It was the pivotal point of
our frontier posts in this sector as it was astride the second route
into Tibet from Leh about 120 miles further west.
The road built after 1962 rises to nearly 17,000 feet crossing the
Ladakh range at the desolate and wind blown Chang La pass, steeply
descends into Tangtse and then goes on to Chushul.
Between the Chang La and Tangtse the road takes the traveller though
the most beautiful scenery with matching beautiful wildlife. Golden
marmots dart in and out of their holes and in the distance you can
sometimes spot a snow leopard warily keeping a watch on mankind.
Chushul itself is at 14,230 feet and is a small village in a narrow
sandy valley about 25 miles long and 4 miles wide, flanked by
mountains that rise to over 19,000 feet.
At the northern end touches the Pangong Tso, a deep saltwater lake
nearly a hundred miles long and that makes for one of natures most
glorious sights. Also near Chushul is a gap in the mountains called
the Spanggur Gap that leads to another beautiful lake, the Spanggur
Tso that like the Pangong extends well into Chinese territory.
The Chinese had built a road from Rudok in Tibet right up to the
Spanggur Gap capable of carrying tanks. In the first phase of their
assault on Ladakh in October 1962, the Chinese had overrun many of
our major border posts on the line between Daulat Beg Oldi near the
Karakorum Pass to Demchok astride the Indus on the border with
Chushul was the solitary Indian position east of the Ladakh range.
Geography favoured the Chinese and they were able to make a major
concentration of men and material for an attack on Chushul. Till
September 1962, the defence of all of Ladakh was vested with the 114
Brigade commanded by Brigadier T N Raina (later General and COAS).
It consisted of just two infantry battalions, the 1/8 Gorkha Rifles
and the 5 Jat. Initially, only the Gorkhas were deployed in the
Chushul and when the gravity of the Chinese threat began to be
realised 13 Kumaon, which was at Baramula in the Kashmir Valley, was
sent in to reinforce 114 Brigade.
In the first week of October the 3 Himalayan (later Mountain)
Division was formed for the overall defence of the Ladakh and the
Chushul sector was entirely left to the 114 Brigade. On October 26,
the 114 Brigade set up its headquarters at Chushul and braced for
the inevitable Chinese attack.
The newly-arrived 13 Kumaon began deploying on October 24 in the
lull that followed the first phase of the Chinese attack. The
forward defenses of Chushul were on a series of hill features given
evocative names like Gurung Hill, Gun Hill and Mugger Hill, but C
Company of 13 Kumaon got Rezang La which was about 19 miles south of
Rezang La as the name suggests is a pass and is on the southeastern
approach to Chushul Valley. The feature was 3,000 yards long and
2,000 yard wide at an average height of 16,000 feet. Digging
defensive positions and building shelters was hard going for the men
were still not acclimatised and cold wintry winds made life even
more hard.
At this altitude it took hours to bring a kettle to boil for tea and
whatever fruit and vegetables that came were frozen hard. Let alone
potatoes even oranges acquired weapon-grade hardness. More than the
thin air and cold the location of Rezang La had a more serious
It was “crested” to Indian artillery because of an intervening
feature, which meant that they had to make without the protective
comfort of the big guns. Both sides prepared feverishly, mostly
within sight of each other, for the next Chinese attack.
The attack came on that cold Sunday that was November 18. The Kumaon
Regiment has an interesting history. It begins at Hyderabad on
October 21, 1798 when a British force took over Raymond’s corps.
Raymond was a French soldier who raised a formation officered by
non-British European officers for the Nizam of Hyderabad. The legend
has it that this force also consisted of a battalion of female
Raymond himself continues to be remembered at Hyderabad by the
locality called Moosa Ram Bagh (Monsieur Raymond) and his grave has
become a sort of a shrine.
It became the Hyderabad Contingent and marched under the command of
Lt Col Arthur Wellesley, later the Duke of Wellington, on
Seringpatam where Tipu Sultan was killed on May 4, 1799.
In 1811 it came to be called Russell’s Brigade after Henry Russell,
the British Resident at Hyderabad. After the departure of Russell it
became the Nizam’s Contingent under which name it joined in crushing
the 1857 revolt.
Then it became the 19 Hyderabad Regiment with its headquarters at
Bolarum on the outskirts of Secunderabad. During the World War I it
saw action in the West Asia, and in the World War II it fought in
Lt Col K S Thimayya (later General and COAS) commanded the 8/19
Hyderabad that saw action in Kohima and Arakan. In the course of its
long history the composition of 19 Hyderabad had long undergone a
great change.
It now comprised mostly of Kumaonis, Ahirs and Brahmins from north
India. To reflect this composition its name was changed on October
27, 1945 to 19 Kumaon thereby becoming a part of the Kumaon
13 Kumaon was the Kumaon Regiment’s only all Ahir battalion. The
Ahirs are concentrated in the Gurgaon/Mewat region of Haryana and
are hardy cattlemen and farmers.
When the order to move to Chushul came, its CO, Lt Col H S Dhingra
was in hospital but he cajoled the doctors into letting him go with
his men. Major Shaitan Singh who was a Rajput from Jodhpur commanded
C Company of 13 Kumaon.
C Company’s three platoons were numbered 7, 8 and 9 and had .303
rifles with about 600 rounds per head, and between them six LMGs,
and 1,000 grenades and mortar bombs.
The Chinese infantry had 7.62 mm self loading rifles; MMGs and LMGs;
120 mm, 81 mm and 60 mm mortars; 132 mm rockets; and 75 mm and 57 mm
recoilless guns to bust bunkers. They were much more numerous and
began swarming up the gullies to assault Rezang La at 4 am while a
light snow was falling.
The Ahirs waited till the Chinese came into range and opened up with
everything they had. The gullies were soon full of dead and wounded
Having failed in a frontal attack the Chinese let loose a murderous
shelling. Under the cover of this intense shelling the Chinese
infantry came again in swarms.
C Company, now severely depleted, let them have it once again.
Position after position fell fighting till the last man.
C Company had three JCOs and 124 other ranks with Major Shaitan
Singh. When the smoke and din of battle cleared, only 14 survived,
nine of them severely wounded. 13 Kumaon regrouped and 114 Brigade
held on to Chushul. The battalion war diary records that they were
now “less our C Company.”
The Chinese announced a unilateral ceasefire on November 21 but
little more than what the survivors had brought back was known about
C Company. In January 1963 a shepherd wandered on to Rezang La.
It was as if the last moment of battle had turned into a tableau.
The freezing cold had frozen the dead in their battle positions and
the snow had laid a shroud over the battlefield.
Arrangements were then made to recover our dead under International
Red Cross supervision. Brig Raina led the Indian party, which
recorded the scene for posterity with cine and still cameras.
This tableau told their countrymen what actually happened that
Sunday morning. Every man had died a hero. Major Shaitan Singh was
conferred the Param Vir Chakra.
Eight more received the Vir Chakra while four others the Sena Medal.
13 Kumaon received the battle honour “Rezang La” that it wears so
Few events in the annals of heroism can match this. C Company gave
its all to defend Chushul, a Ladakhi village, which for one brief
moment in our history came to symbolise our national honour.
At Thermopylae on September 18 480 BC, 1,200 Greeks led by King
Leonides of Sparta died fighting the Persian King Xerxes’ mighty
bodyguard called the Anusya or Companions. But Leonides was fighting
for a great prize.
In July 481 BC the Oracle of Delphi told him that in the next war
with Persia either the King will die or Sparta would be destroyed.
Leonides thus died to save Sparta. But C Company willingly
sacrificed itself to save a little village and that makes its
sacrifice all the more glorious. That is why we must never forget
Rezang La.

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 21
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Pathmarajah » 18 Nov 2002 17:03

By 1949, the east-west divide had crystallised and the lines were drawn.It was a battle between capitalism and communism. It was a battle for world dominance. Sanctimoniously, India took a principled neutral stand, reflecting the need for a multipolar world.

China's hold on Tibet in 1950 was tenuous, given the UN Declaration of human rights, complicated further by the disputed borders with all of its neighbours.It was further compounded by the possibility that India stands to rival China in Asia, which was unacceptable to their communist principles.(Basicallly it meant to the chinese that they are the believers and the Yindoos and the rest are kafirs)

By the 50s both China and USSR were launching and supporting communist insurgencies all over south east asia and central and south america. It was imperialism.Both nations were preparing for war as evidenced by their increased military spending all through the 50s.If I remember correctly in 1962 China had a 4 million man army whereas India had 284,000 men.

Once the US established missiles in Turkey, the stage was set for a confrontation, leading to the Cuban missile crisis. This development started taking place in 1959 and by 1961 there missiles were alreasy in place. Sensing a confrontation, China started preparing to war with India over disputed lands and strategic areas.

Once the cuban missile crisis began, China goaded the USSR to be more aggressive with the US ( as evidenced by the declassified documents), while at the same time used its opportunity to attack India and then withdraw partially once the missile crisis was over but still retaining the strategic areas.

This was ambition, planning, deceit, geopolitics, imperialism, cunningness. We assisted in contributing with incompetant generals and cabinet, lack of ambition and geopolitics.

Well in the end the communists lost the cold war and USSR empire was dismantled, and now having an economy smaller than that of India.China has dismantled its communist imperialist ideas for south east asia and is now dismantling its communist economy.India went on to cut China's proxy into 2 in 1971, totally embaressing the Chinese. They took revenge by supplying the remaining head with nuclear weapons.

China is certainly a faster growing nation than India, but the overall glame plan has been lost as it is a unipolar world and they are at the wrong end.All their growth is will come to nought with India, Japan and USA at their door steps. We lost the battle in 62 but we are now winning the war.China is a smokestack and industry based economy; yesteryears economies. We are into IT and services.A single IT company can be bigger than Exxon, GM, Hyundai, Mitsubishi.

If only we remain steady in our economic path as we have done so in the last decade.

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 1
Joined: 11 Aug 2016 05:32

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby member_4867 » 18 Nov 2002 17:51

go to

Mark Clifford

A China in the Image of America
In his new book, Kenichi Ohmae argues that the Asian giant is evolving into something more like the multifaceted U.S.

Printer-Friendly Version

E-Mail This Story

China Journal Archive

• Find More Stories Like This

Asia: Microsoft's Land of Opportunity

Bill Gates's Indian Coronation

Homeland Security Is CACI's Domain

For Chipmakers, Less of Moore?

A New Twist in Labor's ULLICO Scandal

How Bush Will Stoke the Engine

George W. Opens the Gipper's Playbook

How Would You Fix the Economy's Mess?

HSBC: Why the British Are Coming

Taking Health Care In-House

MGM Can Bank on Bonds

A Department Store Shopping List

Averse to Stock Picking? Consider This

Are China's Banks Caught in Quicksand?

Germany's Budget Gap: A Bad Example

Fair Weather for Fair Isaac

The Delicate -- or Not -- Art of Layoffs

A PC Rebound?

?nbsp;More Headlines

The United States of China. That's the provocative title of a new book just published in Tokyo by one of Japan's most prominent economic thinkers, former longtime McKinsey consultant Kenichi Ohmae. With their obsession for centralized control, Chinese leaders won't like the title. But they'll like much of the message. After years of skepticism about China's economic potential, Ohmae has become an outspoken China bull. He also has a fresh take on one of the more remarkable economic transformations the world has ever seen.

Story Continues Below Ad

Ohmae contends that it's a mistake to think of China as a single economy. He notes that its economic growth is increasingly driven by clusters of megacities, most of them along China's coast. If Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore are included, Ohmae reckons that 9 of the 15 largest economies in Asia are part of this U.S. of China.

ATTRACTING ATTENTION. Foreign investment is key to China's takeoff in these megacities, with companies that receive foreign investment accounting for about half of all imports and exports. The scale and quality of the investments has accelerated rapidly in recent years, thanks to reforms by Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji. At this point, China can make just about anything anyone wants. With highly skilled $3-per-day labor for as far as the demographers can see, and big slugs of foreign capital and knowhow, it's becoming increasingly clear that the Chinese juggernaut is going to keep rolling for some time to come.

It's obvious, but it bears repeating that China is very big. Like that other United States, it will likely see a variety of different urban centers develop. Americans can happily live in Boston, or San Francisco, or Chicago and be part of a thriving business community (and political community, too, though Ohmae stays away from that). But only a handful of other countries in the world have so many different economic centers.

Most Asian countries, in fact, have a single economic and political center. Think Seoul, Taipei, Jakarta, and Bangkok. Mighty Japan -- the world's second largest economy -- is heavily centered on Tokyo. Even vast India is just starting to see a few cities such as Bangalore and Hyderabad break away from the stranglehold on power and commerce that have long been held by New Delhi and Bombay.

POPULATION FLUX. China, by contrast, has 166 cities with over 1 million people -- each with extraordinary potential for economic growth. Just take a look at the string of cities along the coast that are on Ohmae's map. Already, their thriving economies have been turned into the workshop of the world. Hong Kong and Taiwanese businessmen have been in the Pearl River Delta, near Hong Kong, and along the coast south of Shanghai for more than a decade. Their numbers, and the sophistication of their factories, continue to grow.

Foreigners are starting to flock in. Ohmae calculates that 100,000 Koreans are in China, mostly living in Tianjin and Qingdao. More and more Korean products are actually being manufactured in China, too. Ohmae counts 4,000 Japanese businesses in Dalian, the former Russian colony of Port Arthur midway between Beijing and Seoul. Incredibly, Japanese-language skills in the area are so good that he's in the process of setting up a call center there. Although the Japanese have been in China for some time, investment is accelerating.

When he turns his attention inland, Ohmae is likely to find something similar at work. The central city of Chongqing is booming, thanks to massive infusions of government-backed investment (see BW Online, 10/3/02, "A Rapid Beat in China's Heartland"). And the Yunnan capital of Kunming is thriving.

NORTHEASTERN RUST. In short, important urban centers in China's provinces are doing far better than one might imagine. No longer is development limited only to Beijing, Shanghai, and a few coastal cities. This isn't to minimize the massive problems China faces, especially in the countryside and in the declining Northeastern rustbelt cities. But in much of the country, growth is being driven by local officials, who are wooing investment -- especially foreign investment -- as a way of ensuring that economic growth stays high.

Local bureaucrats need the jobs and growth that foreign direct investment brings -- a fact that's lost on many observers, who consider local officials as usually protectionist. In fact, many local officials are moving faster than the cautious central-government bureaucrats in Beijing.

Within 50 years, Ohmae figures that the Chinese economy could be eight times the size of Japan's. His logic: By 2050 he calculates that China will have 600 million workers. Japan, which is losing 600,000 workers annually, will have only 50 million. Even if Japan is twice as productive per worker, China's economy still will be eight times as large.

Of course, these long-term forecasts are anything but science. I'd be surprised if over the next decade or so China doesn't have political and economic upheavals that at least rival those of South Korea over the last 15 years. How China handles those tremors and makes the transition to a more democratic, law-based civil society will determine whether Ohmae's bullishness is justified

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 21
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Pathmarajah » 19 Nov 2002 00:35

Goood post prc. I like Ohmae and he is mostly right.

Nice to hear ideas of a United States of China. In the same vein, there could be a United States of India. Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and to some extent Thailand would be part of the USI. Myanmar is definately part of USC, along with the Philippines in some part. Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei would be fence sitters.

United Korea and Japan would always be China's competitors. Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan have no options. They will know who the masters are.

The spheres of influence are set.Wasn't this the situation 1500 years ago? Oh well, one more time again.

Forum Moderator
Posts: 55208
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby ramana » 19 Nov 2002 00:50

prc and Pathmarajah, this thread is about the 1962 war. So please take the discussion to some other thread in either of the other forums. Thanks, ramana

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 21
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Pathmarajah » 19 Nov 2002 01:11

There has been no cease fire, no treaty, no agreement of borders and no agreement on Tibet or Sikkim. The 62 war is not finished. As Nehru said, ..there war will go on or years. Only the battleground has enlarged to include spheres of influence, strategic allies, the UNSC as well as the economy.

We are still on the topic, so hang in there ramana.

Posts: 111
Joined: 11 Nov 2000 12:31
Location: Earth

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Joeqp » 19 Nov 2002 01:23

Originally posted by Pathmarajah:
We are still on the topic, so hang in there ramana.

Sorry, I don't see how a discussion of China's economy and speculation on its size in 50 years has <B>anything</B> to do with the events of 1962. You want to discuss PRC's economy? Please start a thread in HICAF.

BRFite -Trainee
Posts: 21
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Pathmarajah » 19 Nov 2002 01:57

Hello Manavendra,

I said that the 62 war is not over. Can you tell me a date when it was over! Did we accept the withdrawal, the ceasefire? Wasn't there continuing border skirmishes?

This is not about the chinese economy, but that the battlefield has enlarged to the economy and other spheres of influence.

Refocus and see the larger picture.

Posts: 393
Joined: 01 Jan 1970 05:30

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Roop » 19 Nov 2002 02:21


Ramana has spoken, take the hint and move your economic discussion to another thread. Stop making irrelevant arguments.

Webmaster BR
Posts: 282
Joined: 16 Jun 2001 11:31

Re: Remembering a War: The 1962 Indo-China War

Postby Kapil » 19 Nov 2002 08:28

Finally,someone takes a good look at what we do and writes about us.Subra's compulsive article on the gallant 13 Kumaon is linked here:


Return to “Military History Archive”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest