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Sino-Indian War

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India China War – Sino Indian Conflict

Sixty-two years into the 20th Century, or rather 1962 was a period of war between China and India. This war is commonly remembered as the Sino-Indian War. It can also be termed as the Indo-China War, India China War and Sino-Indian Border conflict. The main pretext for the war was the disputed Himalayan Border. There however were other factors that also played a role in the war including the Chinese perceptions about the Indian designs for Tibet.

There had been a series of violent border incidences after India had granted asylum to the Dalai Lama. This is the historical 1959 Tibetan uprising. As a result, India initiated a policy where it placed outposts along the border. This included several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of the Line of Actual Control proclaimed by the then Chinese Premier.

The Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20th October. This is after they were unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory. This was along the 3,225-kilometer-long Himalayan border. The Chinese troops advanced over Indian forces in both theatres, capturing Rezang La in Chushul in the western theatre. It was not until 20th November 1962 when China declared ceasefire that the war ended. It was at that time also that China announced its withdrawal to its claimed line of actual control.

The declaration of the ceasefire was because China had reached its claim lines so the PLA did not advance any farther. Towards the end of the war, India increased its support for Tibetan refugees and revolutionaries, some of them having settled in India, as they were fighting the same common enemy in the region.

The war was characterized by harsh mountain conditions and large-scale combat at altitudes of over 4000 meters. This is because the war was mainly fought on the Himalayan mountains which were cold and with very harsh climatic and geographical conditions.

It was also very conspicuous all through the course of the war, there was no deployment of any navy or air force by either Chinese or Indian side.

The 13-day Cuban Missile Crisis (the buildup and offensive from China) which occurred between 16-28 October 1962 saw the United States and the Soviet Union confronting each other and India did not receive assistance from either of these world powers until the Cuban Missile crisis was resolved.

The Sino-Indian war was the first war to ever be fought between India and China. Resulting from the end of this war, a number of small clashes broke out between both sides. There however was no large scale fighting that ensued. 

As an aftermath of the war, China’s policy objectives of securing borders in its western sector, as China retained de facto control of the Aksai Chin. After the war, India also abandoned the Forward Policy, and the de facto borders stabilized along the Line of Actual Control. As a result of the war also, China lost in terms of its international image although it won a military victory.

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