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1962 India China War, Role of Indian political and military leadership

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    PLA’s clear superiority over Indian forces in the frontier region, should also have been
    clear. Given this, it was unfortunate that Nehru did not order suspension of Indian
    offensive operations and find a way of starting boundary negotiations, as Zhou Enlai
    proposed on 24 October, the day after the first phase of the Chinese offensive ended.
    Had Nehru reoriented Indian policy in early November, the next phase of the war very
    probably could have been avoided.
    In fact, Indian offensive operations to oust Chinese positions both in the Tawang
    and Walong areas of NEFA resumed on 14 November.123 Chinese forces responded by
    launching a pre-planned massive offensive on 18 November. Indian defenses in the east
    rapidly crumbled. PLA forces would not halt until Chinese soldiers looked out from the
    Himalayan foothills to the broad valley of the Bramaphutra River.
    Internal Mobilization and International Confrontation
    It is now pretty well established that Mao’s domestic mobilization concerns
    occasionally helped inspire his preference for confrontational international policies.
    Thomas Christensen has demonstrated this dynamic in Mao’s 1950 decision for war with
    the United States in Korea and for Mao’s 1958 decision to bombard the offshore
    islands.124 A similar dynamic may have been operating in 1959 and 1962. In early 1959
    when Mao decided to launch polemical struggle against Nehru, Mao was struggling to
    push the agricultural collectivization movement to a new high tide. And in fall 1962, as
    Mao was guiding his comrades toward war with India, he was also beginning his
    struggle to revive “class struggle” in agricultural policy as part of a broader effort to
    reverse the post-Great Leap retreat from collectivized agriculture.125 On the other hand,
    there is a danger of over-determining an event, and the border conflict viewed on the
    Chinese side through the prism of Tibet, certainly seems adequate to explain the 1962
    war. In any case, both the highly selective Chinese sources on the 1962 war available
    thus far, and constraints of space associated with a single book chapter, do not allow
    testing of the internal mobilization hypothesis here.
    There was an underlying reason why China’s leaders decided for war in 1962
    which has been alluded to earlier: a belief that India’s leaders did not appreciate the fact
    that the People’s Republic of China was a “new China,” that had “stood up” and, unlike
    old pre-1949 “old China,” could no longer be “bullied” and “humiliated” by foreign
    powers. Indian leaders believed that China would not strike back, but would back down
    before Indian provocations, or so China’s leaders concluded. Indian leaders did not
    respect New China, but arrogantly believed they could impose their will on it, just like
    Britain, India’s imperial mentor, had done repeatedly in the Nineteenth Century. Indian
    leaders were obvilious to the power and determination of New China.
    This image of India was linked, I believe, to a fundamental asymmetry of Chinese
    and Indian worldviews regarding the role of military power in world affairs, an
    asymmetry symbolized perhaps by the meeting of Chen Yi and Krishna Menon at the
    1962 Geneva conference. China’s leaders saw military power as playing a central role in
    politics, both domestic and international. Careful preparation and prudent use of military
    power was vital to political success. When and how to use military power were, for
    China’s leaders, a matter of pragmatic calculation. (This was exemplified by the
    prominent role of combat veterans in China’s decision making: Liu Bocheng, Lin Biao,
    Chen Yi, or even Mao, Deng, and Zhou.) Nehru and Menon, on the other hand, believed
    that war among the major powers was an obsolete phenomenon. In the nuclear age,
    major power war would inevitably escalate to nuclear war, which was so horrible it
    would never be undertaken. Moreover, world moral opinion would constrain potential
    aggressor states. And certainly among the African-Asian states who had shared the
    common experience of national oppression, resort to war was unthinkable. Thinking
    along these lines led India to disregard the realities of power in the Himalayas and to
    conclude that China would not resort to war against India. China’s hardheaded leaders
    took India’s disregard for China’s power as disdain. They took the Indian belief that
    China would not fight, would not resort to war, as a belief that China was weak and
    would back down before assertive policies.
    Was China’s resort to war in 1962 prudent? Did it achieve its policy objectives at
    an acceptable cost to China? The official PLA history of the 1962 war stresses that
    “quickly achieving peaceful, stable borders in the west" was the objective of the 1962
    war (ba xibu bianjiang dichu xunsu wending xialai). This was the "basic direction" of
    China's border policy to be achieved by inflicting a painful defeat on India thus
    demonstrating the futility and danger of aggressing against borders defended by the PLA,
    would force India to abandon the Forward Policy. Sharp military defeat would also
    "compel India to again [sic] sit down at the negotiating table and solve the Sino-Indian
    border problem." This too would "achieve peaceful stability along the western borders."
    The harsh defeat inflicted on India in 1962 did, in fact, cause Indian leaders to
    look much more soberly and respectfully at Chinese power. India did in fact swiftly
    abandon the earlier policy of suing military force to challenge Chinese control over
    disputed territory. India abandoned the policy of attempting through military means to
    establish a new de facto line of actual control. The reality of Chinese power also
    ultimately led New Delhi to resume border negotiations with China still in possession of
    Aksai Chin --- although it would take twenty-seven years for this to happen. After 1962
    Indian leaders were, in fact, much more cautious in dealing with China and more
    respectful of China’s power.
    These Chinese gains were secured at significant cost. The PLA’s drive to the
    southern foothills of the Himalayas had a profound effect on Indian opinion. China
    became a nemesis of India ranked only after Pakistan. Even forty-some years after the
    war this sentiment remains significant in India. The experience of 1962 made India
    deeply skeptical of Chinese professions of friendship and more wary of the expansion of
    Chinese security ties with South Asian countries neighboring India. What Indians view
    as China’s “betrayal” of India’s desire for friendship in the 1950s has made India far less
    responsive to Chinese diplomatic friendship offensives, and more determined to keep
    China out of places like Nepal or Bangladesh. Fear of Chinese rooted in 1962 was a
    major factor impelling India to keep open its nuclear weapons options and then, in 1998,
    to openly acquire nuclear weapons. There exists in Indian military culture a desire for
    payback against China, which would someday erase the humiliation of 1962. The trauma
    of 1962 impelled New Delhi into close strategic alignment with the Soviet Union in the
    1960s and 1970s, a development “encircling” China with Soviet power. Even in the
    2000s when India began developing a military partnership with the United States, the
    defeat of 1962 was a remote but distinct factor in India’s deliberations. India also began
    serious military modernization after the 1962 defeat, and this would eventually change
    the equation of military power between the two countries. One component of the new
    military capabilities developed by India was a highly trained, professionally led, and
    militarily very potent Tibetan armed force of 6,000-or so men, the Special Frontier
    Force.127 It quite plausible that had China not opted for war with India, or perhaps had
    opted for a far less powerful and traumatic assault, China and “China’s Tibet” would
    today face far less threat from India.
    1 Neville Maxwell, India's China War, Garden City, New York: Anchor Books,
    1972. Allen S. Whiting, The Calculus of Chinese Deterrence, India and Indochina, Ann
    Arbor: University of Michigan, 1975.
    2 History of the Conflict with China, 1962. P.B. Sinha, A.A. Athale, with S.N.
    Prasad, chief editor, History Division, Ministry of Defence, Government of India, 1992.
    Printed on line by the Times of India in December 2002.
    3 There was a third set of factors underlying China's road to the 1962 war --- a
    perception of U.S.-Indian-Soviet collaboration against and encirclement of China.
    Considerations of space require limitation to consideration of the first two factors which
    were, I believe, rather more important than the third.
    4 Whiting, Calculus, p. 36, 34.
    5 Encyclopedia of Sociology, Edgar Borgatta, Rhonda J.V. Montgomery, New
    York: Macmillian, 2000, Vol. 1, p. 194, Vol. 4, p. 2751.
    6 Zhong yin bianjiang ziwei fanji zuozhanshi (History of the Sino-India border self
    defensive war), Beijing: Junshi kexue chubanshe, 1994, p. 37-40. This is the official
    PLA history of the 1962 war. It labors at considerable length to demonstrate that India's
    aggressive intentions and actions precipitated the 1962 confrontation, and provides
    copious detail on PLA military operations. Yet it gives very short shrift to the actual
    process through which China's leaders decided to resort to war. Only four out of 567
    pages deal with China's decision making process. Still, these few pages provide
    important information when pieced together with other equally fragmentary accounts.
    7 Xu Yan, Zhong Yin bianjie zhi zhan lishi zhenxiang (True history of the Sino-
    Indian border war), Hong Kong: Cosmos Books Ltd., 1993, p. 28, 29-30, 50, 53. This
    is the most important Chinese work thus far on the 1962 war. It is significant that Xu's
    work was published in Hong Kong rather than in the People's Republic of China. The
    work deals at considerable length with China's actual decision making process. Xu
    apparently has access to primary documents, although he does not reference those
    8 Wang Hongwei, "Zhong yin bianjie wenti de lishi beijing yu 1962 nian zhong yin
    bianjie zhanzheng," (Historical background of the Sino-Indian border problem and the
    1962 Sino-Indian border war," Ya tai ziliao (Asia Pacific materials), No. 1, 18 March
    1989, p. 1-13.

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    Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon
    Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye....!!!!
    मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं,
    तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ....!!!!
    'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں
    تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے
    "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me."

  2. #47
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    Chinese signaling-opportunity for Indian drawback hypothesis. Currently available
    Chinese sources do not indicate another decision for war after the 6 and 16 October
    decisions. It seems that those decisions were for a multi-stage war. Indian forces would
    first be given a sharp and bloody warning, after which Chinese forces would halt and
    reorganize for their next offensive. If after this first bloody warning and during the
    interregnum after the first Chinese advance , India did not reorient its frontier policies,
    and perhaps if nothing occurred in the international situation pointing toward United
    States intervention in a Sino-Indian war, then the next stage, a truly massive assault to
    southern fringe of the Himalayas would follow.
    Roderick MacFarquhar raises the important point that Nehru could and should
    have used the early November lull to reorient Indian policy.122 By then it was abundantly
    clear that the key assumption underlying the Forward Policy --- that China would not go
    to war over the border --- was wrong. The realities of the military balance, that is the

    9 Zhao Weiwen, Yin Zhong guanxi fengyun lu (1949-1999) (Record of the
    vissitudes of India-China relations (1949-1999), Beijing: Shi shi chubanshe, 2000, p.
    103. Zhao is one of China's authoritative India hands. From 1950 until the mid 1990s she
    worked for the China Institute for Contemporary International Studies and the
    organizational predecessors of that body. This was the analytical organ of China's
    ministry of state security.
    10 Zhao Weiwen, fengyun lu, p. 110.
    11 Zhao Weiwen, fengyun lu, p. 129.
    12 Tsering Sakya, The Dragon in the Land of Snows, A History of Modern Tibet
    since 1947, London: Pimlico, 1999, p. 13, 26.
    13 Regarding India’s Tibet policies see, Sakya, Dragon in Land of Snows. Also,
    Claude Arpi, The Fate of Tibet, When Big Insects Eat Small Insects, New Delhi: Har-
    Anand, 1999.
    14 Arpi, Fate of Tibet, p. 338-43.
    15 Sakya, Dragon in Land of Snows, p. 21-23.
    16 John K. Knaus, Orphans of the Cold War, America and the Tibetan Struggle for
    Survival, New York: Public Affairs, 1999, p. 155. See also, Kenneth Conboy and
    James Morrision, The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet, University Press of Kansas, 2002.
    17 Zhao Weiwen, fengyun lu, p. 124-29. Yang Gongsu also enumerates these Indian
    transgressions in Yang Gongsu, Xin zhongguo duiwai zhengce, (New China's foreign
    policies), unpublished manuscript, p. 68-69. Yang was foreign affairs assistant to the
    PLA in Tibet in the 1950s. He was later China's ambassador to Nepal. Yang charges
    the Indian Consul General in Lhasa with encouraging Tibetan demonstrators to draft a
    statement of demands, which eventually became a Tibetan declaration of independence,
    and with promising to convey such a statement of demands to the Indian government.
    Nehru in testimony to the Indian parliament denies this, and says that the Consul merely
    talked with the Tibetans who had pushed their way into the Consulate building. Nehru
    also said that the consul explained that he could not render any assistance, and declined to
    become involved in their protests in any concrete way. See Dalai Lama and India;
    Indian Public and Prime Minister on Tibetan Crisis, New Delhi: Institute of National
    Affairs, 1959, p. 75. This volume contains Nehru's various comments to parliament
    about Tibetan developments in 1959.
    18 Wu Lengxi, Shi nian lunzhan, 1956-1966, Zhong Su guanxi huiyilu, (10 year
    polemical war, 1956-1966, a memoir of Sino-Soviet relations), Beijing: Zhongyang
    wenxian chubanshe, 1999, Vol. I, p. 195. Wu Lengxi was head of Xinhua News Agency
    plus General Editor of Renmin ribao at the time. He was also the Politburo's record
    keeper for relations with the Soviet Union. His two volume is an extremely rich source
    for scholars. See my review in The China Quarterly, No. 171 (September 2002),
    19 Wu Lengxi, Shi nian lunzhan p. 197.
    20 Wu Lengxi, Shi nian lunzhan p. 198.
    21 Wu Lengxi, Shi nian lunzhan p. 198-99.
    22 "The Revolution in Tibet and Nehru's Philosophy," Editorial Department of
    Renmin Ribao, 6 May 1959, in Peking Review, 12 May 1959, p. 6-15.
    23 Zhou Enlai waijiao wenxuan (Diplomatic documents of Zhou Enlai), Beijing:
    Zhongyang wenxian chubanshe, 1990, p. 268-276.
    24 Memorandum of conversation of N.S. Khrushchev with Mao Zedong, Beijing, 2
    October 1959, Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issue 12/13 (Fall/Winter
    2001), Woodrow Wilson Internatioal Center for Scholars, Washington, D.C., p. 266.
    25 Lei Yingfu, as told to Chen Xianyi, Zai zuigao songshuaibu dang sanmo --- Lei
    Yingfu jiangjun huiyilu (Serving on the staff of the high command - memoir of General
    Lei Yingfu), Nangchang, Jiangxi province: Baihuazhou wenyi chubanshe, 1997, p. 207.
    26 Mao Zedong sixiang wansui (Long live Mao Zedong thought), in "Miscellany of
    Mao Tse-tong Thought (1949-1968), p. 2. No. 61269 (20 February 1974), Joint
    Publication Research Service, p. 573.
    27 Apri, Fate of Tibet, p. 320-47, 392-98; Shakya, Dragon in Land of Snows, p.
    28 Shakya, Dragon in Land of Snows, p. 215, 219, 232, 233.
    29 Nehru returned repeatedly during his parliamentary testimony in 1959 to this
    theme of a two part agreement. See Nehru's statements to parliament, 30 March 1959, 27
    April 1959, and press conference on 5 April 1959, all in Dalai Lama and India, New
    Delhi: Institute of National Affairs, 1959, p. 80, 103, 105, and 120-21.
    30 Correspondence between Nehru and Patel over Tibet is in, R.K. Jain, China and
    South Asian Relations, 1947-1980, New Delhi and Brighton: Harvester Press, 1981, Vol.
    I, p. 41-47.
    31 Dalai Lama and India, p. 127.
    32 B.N. Mullik, My Years with Nehru, The Chinese Betrayal, Bombay: Allied
    Publishers, 1971, p. 221.
    33 Mullik, Chinese Betrayal, p. 70, 180, 182.
    34 Steven A. Hoffman, India and the China Crisis, Berkeley: University of
    California Press, 1990, p. 38.
    35 Shakya, Dragon in Land of Snows, p. 215, 282.
    36 Knaus, Orphans, p. 159.
    37 Conboy and Morrison, Secret War, p. 95-96, 155-56.
    38 Sakya, Dragon in the Land of Snows.
    39 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, 56.
    40 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 56.
    41 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 72.
    42 See John Garver, Protracted Contest, Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth
    Century, Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2001, p. 79-86.
    43 Hoffman, India and the China Crisis, p. 23-30.
    44 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 412.
    45 Zhongguo renmin jiefangjun liushinian dashiji (1927-1987) (Record of 60 years
    of major events of the PLA, 1927-1987), Beijing: junshi kexue chubanshe, 1988, p. 579-
    46 Memorandum of Conversation of N.S. Khrushchev with Mao Zedong, Beijing, 2
    October 1959, in Cold War International History Project Bulletin, Issue 12/13, p. 266,
    47 Lei Yingfu, huiyilu, p. 202.
    48 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. xx.
    49 From Whiting, Calculus, p. 46.
    50 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. xx.
    51 Chinese accounts of the 1962 war are almost entirely devoid of specific dates for
    specific events. With several exceptions, reference to meetings is by very general terms
    like "later" or in "mid 1962". I have therefore tried to order reported meetings by the
    context of other events discussed by the book at the time of the reported meeting, or by
    matters discussed in the meeting themselves.
    52 Shi Bo, editor, Zhong yin da zhan jishi (Record of events in the big China-India
    war) Beijinjg: Da di chubanshe, 1993, p. 182.
    53 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 110.
    54 Whiting, Calculus, p. 51.
    55 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p . 183-84.
    56 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p. 184.
    57 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. xx.
    58 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. xx.
    59 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. xx.
    60 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 415-16.
    61 Whiting, Calculus, p. 55.
    62 Whiting, Calculus, p. 58.
    63 D.K. Palit, War in High Himalaya, The Indian Army in Crisis, 1962, New Delhi:
    Lancer, 1991, p. 177-78.
    64 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. xx.
    65 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. xx, 415-17, 428.
    66 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 430, note 13.
    67 Wang Bingnan, Zhong mei huitan jiunian huigu (Recollections of 9 years of Sino-
    American talks), Beijing: Shijie zhishi chubanshe, 1985, p. 85-90.
    68 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p. 185-86.
    69 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p. 187-188.
    70 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 87.
    71 Whiting, Calculus, p. 78.
    72 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 88.
    73 Whiting, Calculus, p. 82.
    74 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 91. This corresponds to Whiting's judgment in
    Calculus, p. 92.
    75 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 113.
    76 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 91-92.
    77 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 415. A map of this region is
    available in Palit, War in High Himalaya,, p. 239.
    78 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 94.
    79 Whiting, Calculus, p. 95-96.
    80 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 415, 417.
    81 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 95.
    82 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 103.
    83 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 103-04.
    84 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 110.
    85 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p. 188.
    86 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p. 189.
    87 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p. 189.
    88 Sun Shao, Chen Zhibin, Ximalaya shan de xue, zhong yin zhanzheng shilu
    (Snows of the Himalaya mountains, the true record of the China-India war), Taiyuan:
    Bei Yue wenyi chubanshe, 1991, p. 95. As far as I can ascertain, this was China's first
    book-length study of the 1962 war. It was not a scholarly, but a popular work. It lacked
    reference notes and was written in an often-breezy style. Yet the work was authored by
    two long-time PLA soldiers (the front page of the book contains brief biographical
    information about the two authors indicating their military background) and contained
    one long section with an extensive verbatim quote of Mao Zedong. Much of the text of
    these long quotes were lacking in later more authoritative Chinese accounts of the same
    events, yet their love of literary and historical allusions give them the ring of truth. Mao
    loved such language. The work also conveyed obstensibly verbatem negative comments
    by Marshal Ye Qingying about Indian Army commander Kaul. The book was banned
    shortly after its appearance, but this author was lucky enough to find the book on a street
    bookstall of a small city in Sichuan before it was banned. To date this work provides the
    fullest, most direct account of Mao Zedong's thinking about the road to war with India.
    CASS's Wang Hongwei gives an account of a CMC meeting in "mid-October" with some
    quotations using the exact same language as Sun Shao and Chen Zhibin, but omitting not
    only quotation marks and precise dates but also the more off-hand comments by Mao
    quoted in the Shao/Chen book. Omitted too in Wang's account are the negative
    comments by Ye Jianying about Kaul. Wang Hongwei, Ximalaya shan qingjie, zhong
    yin guanxi yan jiu (The Himalayas Sentiment: A Study of Sino-Indian Relations,
    Beijing: Zhongguo zangxue chubanshe, 1998, p. 228-30. It may well have been Sun and
    Chen's too full and direct quotations of Mao, plus Ye Jianying's negative evaluation of
    Kaul's abilities, that were deemed inappropriate for open publication and led to the
    volume's recall. For these reasons, I believe the Sun/Chen book is credible, indeed
    extremely valuable.
    89 Sun Shao, Chen Zhibin, Ximalaya shan, p. 96.
    90 Sun Shao, Chen Zhibin, Ximalaya shan, p. 97.
    91 Sun Shao, Chen Zhibin, Ximalaya shan,. 97-98.
    92 Sun Shao, Chen Zhibin, Ximalaya shan, p. 99-100.]
    93 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 104.
    94 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 104.
    95 Zhong Yin bianjiang ziwei fanji zuozhanshi, p. 179.
    96 Shi Bo, da zhan jishi, p. 189.
    97 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 106.
    98 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 109.
    99 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 111.
    100 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 111.
    101 Howard Boorman, Biographical Dictionary of Republican China, Vol, I, New
    York: Columbia University, 1967, p. 404-05.
    102 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 111-112.
    103 Zhong Yin bianjiang ziwei fanji zuoshanshi, p. 180-81.
    104 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 98-100.
    105 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, 112.
    106 Roderick MacFarquhar attributes major significance to Nehru’s comments to the
    press. Roderick MacFarquhar, The Origins of the Cultural Revolution, 3: The Coming of
    the Cataclysm 1961-1966, New York: Oxford University Press and Columbia University
    Press, 1997, p. 308. Nehru’s comments certainly confirmed established Chinese
    suspicions about Nehru, but I suspect that the aggressive Indian actions over the previous
    week weighed more heavily in Chinese evaluations.
    107 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. P. 102.
    108 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, 112.
    109 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, 112.
    110 Lei Yingfu, huiyilu, p. 209.
    111 Zhong yin bianjiang ziwei fanji zuozhanshi, p. 179.
    112 Liu Shao, Chu shi sulian ba nian (Eight years as ambassador to the Soviet Union),
    Beijing: Zhonggong dangshi ziliao chubanshe, 1986, p. 121.
    113 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 114.
    114 MacFarquhar, Origins of the Cultural Revolution, p. 314-318.
    115 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 104.
    116 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 107.
    117 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 114.
    118 Xu Yan, lishi zhenxiang, p. 114. Zhong yin bianjiang ziwei fanji zuozhanshi, p.
    119 Zhong yin bianjiang ziwei fanji zuozhanshi, p 180.
    120 Biographic information is from Donald W. Klein, Anne B. Clark, Biographic
    Dictionary of Chinese Communism, 1921-1965, 2 volumes, Cambridge, MA: Harvard
    University Press, 1971.
    121 Lei Yingfu, huiyilu, p. 209-210.
    122 MacFarquhar, Origins of the Cultural Revolution, p. 309.
    123 History of the Conflict with China, 1962, p. 171-74, 242-47.
    124 Thomas Christensen, Useful Adversaries, Grand Strategy, Domestic mobilization,
    and Sino-American Conflict, 1947-1958, Princeton, N.J: Princeton University, 1996.
    125 MacFarquhar, Origins of the Cultural Revolution, p. 261-318.
    126 Zhong Yin bianjiang ziwei fanji zuozhanshi, p. 178.
    127 Conboy and Morrison offer a good account of the evolution of this force in Secret

    Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon
    Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye....!!!!
    मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं,
    तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ....!!!!
    'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں
    تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے
    "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me."

  3. #48
    Veteran Member ajtr's Avatar
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    ic 4


    As a result of the Chinese threat on our northern borders, some time in 1959 the headquarters of the Eastern Command at Lucknow was given the operational responsibility for the defence of the borders in Sikkim and NEFA.

    I was at that time on the staff at HQ Eastern Command. The 4th (Red Eagle) Infantry Division was located at Ambala. Soon after it was ordered to move to Tezpur in Assam towards the end of 1959, I was posted as its Commander, Signals.

    This division, trained and equipped for fighting in the plains, had suddenly been deployed to guard the borders in this high mountainous region. While a normal division is expected to defend a 30-40km front in the plains, we were assigned a front spanning more than 1800km of mountainous terrain.

    Worse was to come. Even before the division could take over its operational responsibilities to defend the border with Tibet, orders for the execution of Operation Amar 2, for construction of accommodation for ourselves, were received from Army HQ.

    This was the brainchild of Lt Gen B M Kaul, then Quartermaster General at Army HQ. We were supposed to build temporary basha accommodation. Besides the fact that my regiment had to provide communications for the division in an entirely new and undeveloped area, we had now to become engineers and labourers!

    My first four months in command were a real nightmare. We would certainly have preferred to rough it out in tents and spend the time developing a reasonable communications set-up, getting our equipment properly checked and maintained, and getting the men used to working with the available equipment, which was antiquated and unsuitable for mountainous terrain and the excessive ranges.

    Even at that time, there were hardly any roads in any of the five frontier divisions (FD) of Arunachal Pradesh. The road into Kameng FD, the most vulnerable, finished at the foothills just beyond Misamari.

    We were faced with shortages of every kind. It was during these early days in NEFA that one of the commanding officers of an infantry battalion sent an official reply written on a chapati. When asked for an explanation, he gave a classic reply:

    "Regret unorthodox stationary but atta [wheat flour] is the only commodity available for fighting, for feeding, and for futile correspondence."
    Sometime in 1962, orders came from Army HQ for Operation Onkar (the famous "Forward Policy"), which directed all Assam Rifles posts to move forward, right up to the border.
    Of course, we in the army were to back them. The idea was to establish the right of possession on our territory and to deter the Chinese from moving forward and occupying the territories claimed by them. But this order was certainly not backed up with resources.

    At that time, our division had done almost three years non-family station service, and some of the units were already on their way out on turnover. Suddenly all moves out of the area were cancelled and orders reversed.

    Brig John Dalvi, commander of the 7th Infantry Brigade in Tawang, was ordered to move his HQ on a man/mule pack basis to Namka Chu River area. An ad-hoc brigade HQ was created for the Tawang sector overnight with hardly any signal resources.

    At that time, I was the only field officer of lieutenant colonel or higher rank who had the longest tenure not only at the divisional HQ but among all the divisional troops. I should have been posted out after a two-year tenure in a non-family station.

    But I had also a sort of premonition, and I recorded it in my diary, that a severe test was in the offing for me to assess my faith in the Divine. I certainly had no idea that I would be taken a prisoner of war.

    On September 8, 1962, the Dhola post manned by the Assam Rifles on the McMahon Line was encircled by the Chinese. After this incident, a new corps HQ was created to take charge of operations in NEFA. Lt Gen B M Kaul was appointed corps commander. He arrived from Army HQ in a special aircraft at Tezpur in the late afternoon of October 4. He went straight into a conference and at about 10pm, announced in his typical flamboyant style that he had taken over command of all troops in NEFA. It was all so dramatic!

    Here was a new situation. Normally, in those days, a corps HQ would be served by a corps signal regiment and another communication zone signal regiment to back it. But these had yet to be raised and my regiment had to take on the load of not only our own division, but the new corps HQ also.

    To add to these difficulties, Lt Gen Kaul had his own way of sending messages. Normally, a signal message is supposed to be written in an abbreviated telegraphic language. But all messages from the new corps commander ran into a couple of typed sheets in prose and were all marked Top Secret and Flash.

    They were not addressed to the next higher HQ, but directly to Army HQ. You should understand that normally Signals are required to stop all other traffic to clear FLASH messages and these messages also have to be enciphered first.

    In September 1962, the higher authorities had obviously assumed that it would be easy to beat the Chinese. Otherwise, one cannot imagine how such an order to engage the enemy could have been issued by Delhi to the ill-equipped, ill-clothed, ill-prepared, fatigued, disillusioned troops.

    When Dalvi's brigade arrived near the Namka Chu River after forced marches, he was ordered to throw the Chinese out of the Thagla ridge.

    Arriving at the destination after an exhausting journey, my brigade signal officer discovered that the generating engine to charge the wireless batteries was missing. A porter had dropped it in a deep khud on the way, and it could not be retrieved.

    I think it was dropped deliberately, because I knew some of these civilian porters were in the pay of the Chinese.

    But I was in for a bigger shock when it was discovered that almost all the secondary batteries had arrived without any acid. I presume that what had happened was that the porters must have found it lighter without liquid and they probably decided to lighten their loads by emptying out the acid from all the batteries.

    How to establish communications when the batteries were dead and could not be recharged without an engine? Despite our good relations with them, the air force helicopter boys refused to carry acid. There was no question, of course, of dropping sulphuric acid by air. What was I to do?

    Finally, we filled up a jar of acid and marked it prominently: `Rum for Troops'. On October 18, I flew from Tezpur to Zimithang where I met the GOC, Maj Gen Niranjan Prasad. Later, I went to Tsang Dhar near the Namka Chu River in a two-seater Bell helicopter with just the pilot and with the 'Rum' jar strapped onto my lap.

    I landed there in the late afternoon and marched down to Brig Dalvi's brigade HQ. As I arrived, I could quite clearly see the massing of the Chinese troops on the forward slopes of Thagla ridge.

    But when I discovered that every unit on the front had numerous Signals problems, I decided to extend my stay by a day. Not knowing that the fates had other things planned for me.

    On the 19th, Brig Dalvi talked on the telephone with the GOC at Zimithang. He pleaded with his boss to let him move out of the `death trap', up to a tactically sound defensive position.

    Brig Dalvi was told not to flap, but to obey orders and stay put. He was extremely upset and passed the telephone to me saying, "You won't believe me, Sir, but talk to your 'bloody' commander Signals and he will tell you what all he can see with his naked eyes in front."

    I spoke to the GOC equally strongly saying that one could see the Chinese moving down the Thagla ridge like ants with at least half a dozen mortars, which were not even camouflaged. I added that the Chinese could not have been there for a picnic.

    But I was also told to concentrate on my work and not to worry.

    I stayed on with the Gorkhas during the night of 19th October. Early on the 20th morning, I was woken up from deep sleep by the noise of intense bombardment. There was utter confusion in the pre-dawn darkness, with people shouting and yelling and running around in the midst of these exploding shells.

    I came out of the bunker and somehow found my way to the Signals bunker with two of my signalmen. But when I looked out of the bunker, I was mystified to see no visible movement outside. There was no one in sight. But I could hear short bursts of gunfire.

    When I peeped out of the bunker again, I saw a line of khaki-clad soldiers with a prominent red star on their uniforms advancing towards our bunker. I had never seen a Chinese soldier till then at such close range.

    I used to carry a 9mm Browning automatic pistol in those days with one loaded clip. The thought immediately was that one's body should not be found with an unfired pistol; it must be used, however hopeless our situation. So, when a couple of Chinese soldiers approached our bunker, I let go the full clip at them.

    This provoked a lot of yelling and firing and a number of the soldiers converged onto our bunker. My two assistants were killed, but I was still alive, though a PoW now.

    The same day we were marched along a narrow track across the Namka Chu River and later we went up to the Thagla Pass (about 15,000 feet). On our way, we passed huge stocks of unfired mortar shells by the sides of all the mortar positions, while on the northern side, we saw Chinese parties bringing up 120mm mortars on a man pack basis.

    After three days' walk, we reached a place called Marmang in Tibet. From there we were taken in covered vehicles at night. During the journey, the Chinese tried to demoralize us; they would make fun of our army: "You do not even have cutting tools for felling trees. You use shovels to cut down trees."

    It was true; they had seen our troops preparing their defensive positions near the Namka Chu River. There were other remarks, such as, "You people have strange tactics. You sit right at the bottom of the valley to defend your territory instead of sitting on high ground."

    We arrived at the PoW camp located at Chen Ye [Chongye in central Tibet] on October 26 and were accommodated in lama houses, which were all deserted, although we could see some activity in the monastery above these houses on the side of a hill.

    We were to spend over five months in this camp, located southwest of Tsetang, off the main highway to Lhasa. The prisoners were segregated into four companies: No 1 company was all officers, JCOs and NCOs. Majors and lieutenant colonels were also separated from the JCOs and men. No 2 and 3 companies were jawans of various units. No 4 company consisted only of Gorkhas and was given special privileges, for obvious political reasons. Each company had its own cookhouse where the Indian soldiers selected by the Chinese were made to cook.

    In our house, we were four lt colonels (M S Rikh of the Rajputs, Balwant Singh Ahluwalia of the Gorkhas, Rattan Singh of 5 Assam Rifles and myself), while John Dalvi was kept in confinement in Tsetang, a few kilometres away from Chongye.

    When we made representations to the Chinese that under the Geneva Convention on PoWs, officers had the right to be with their men, we were told quite bluntly that all these were nothing but imperialist conventions.

    I shivered through the first couple of nights, but then had a brain wave. I had noticed a pile of husk outside. We asked the Chinese if we could use it. Luckily, they accepted, and we could use the stuff as a mattress as well as a quilt to keep warm.

    For almost a month after our arrival, we were not let out of the room. Each of these lama houses had its own latrine in one corner with an open but very effective system of soil disposal. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, the 'disposal squad' of pigs had itself been disposed of by the Chinese.

    There was an English-speaking Chinese officer, Lt Tong, who was with us almost throughout our stay in the PoW camp. He would come daily and talk to us individually or together.

    The theme of his talk with the PoWs was monotonously the same: the Chinese wanted to be friends and it was only the reactionary government of Nehru, who was a lackey of American imperialism, which wanted to break this friendship. "Then why did you attack us on October 20?" was our reaction. They would try to explain that India attacked first and the Chinese attacked only in self-defence.

    On December 5, we were given for the first time some books and magazines to read. This consisted of Mao's Red Book, some literature on the India-China boundary question, and a few Red Army journals. But whatever they were, they were most welcome for me at least. There was something to do at last to occupy the mind. I took notes from the Red Book.

    It is a pity that our government had not taken note of some of the Mao's thoughts. I noted down a few at that time: "Fight no battle unprepared, fight no battle you are not sure of winning", or "The enemy advances, we retreat; the enemy halts, we harass; the enemy tires, we attack; the enemy retreats, we pursue."

    Towards the end of December 1962, the Indian Red Cross sent us some parcels, each with two packets in it. One packet had warm clothes, a German battle dress, a pair of long johns, warm vest, muffler, cap, jersey, warm shirt, boots and a towel. The second packet contained foodstuff, including a bar of Sathe chocolate, tins of milk, jam, butter, fish, sugar, atta (wheat flour), dal (pulses), dried peas, salt, tea, biscuits, condiments, cigarettes, and vitamin pills. It certainly was a very well thought-out list of items.

    Perhaps to demoralize us, the Chinese would often play Indian music on the public address system in the camp. One of the songs which was played repeatedly was Lata Mangeshkar's "Aa ja re main to kab se khari is paar... (come, I have been waiting for so long...)" This would make us feel homesick.

    With my habit of writing a diary, I kept notes as a PoW also. The only available paper to write on in the first week or so were some sheets of toilet paper in my para jacket pocket. The question was how to keep these papers from being discovered by the Chinese. What I had done was to open the stitching on the `belt' part of the trousers and slide the folded papers inside. This was how my diary notes on toilet paper could be brought out to India.

    One day, towards the end of our stay, at our request we were taken to see the palace and the monastery. It was a shock to see the palace with all the beautiful Buddha statues of all sizes and fabulous painted scrolls [thankas] lying broken, defiled, and torn and trampled on the ground.

    On December 25, we, the seven field officers, were taken in one of the captured Indian Nissan trucks to spend the Christmas morning with Brig John Dalvi at Tsetang. He was kept all alone and was comfortably accommodated. We had breakfast and lunch with him and were shown a movie. But the solitary confinement had left its scars on him.

    The first letters we received from home came only in the third week of February 1963. Some of us also received parcels of sweets.

    On March 26, we were informed that we would soon be released and taken for a conducted tour of mainland China. Suddenly we became VIPs, though still held prisoner. We were given various comforts and new clothes and shoes.

    Before leaving the PoW camp, we asked the Chinese to take us to the graves of our soldiers who had died in our camp. There were seven of them, including Subedar Joginder Singh, who had been awarded a PVC.

    The Chinese told us that he had refused to have his toes, which were affected by frostbite, amputated. According to the Chinese, he had told them that his chances of promotion to Subedar Major would be adversely affected if his toes were amputated. We were told that he died of gangrene.

    On March 28, we left the camp, ironically in a captured Indian vehicle, and were driven to Tsetang to pick up Brig John Dalvi and three other lieutenant colonels and five majors.

    On March 29, we were all driven in a bus to Lhasa. On April 5, we were flown in two Il-14 aircrafts to Sinning. After a long tour of China, during which we were shown China's so-called progress after the Communist revolution, we were informed on April 27 that we would be handed over to India at Kunming on 4 May.

    At the handing-over ceremony, we witnessed a last surprise performance by the Chinese. Throughout our tour of China, an immaculately dressed Chinese had accompanied us. He was not dressed in cotton-padded clothes like all the others. He commanded a lot of respect from the other Chinese. We used to refer to him as the 'general'.

    He had a chap trailing behind him always, helping him with things, offering a chair, a cup of tea, etc. We used to refer to him as the 'orderly to the general'. At the handing-over ceremony, however, the person who sat down and signed on behalf of China was the 'orderly' and the one who stood behind to pass him the pen to sign was the 'general'! Such are the ways of the Chinese!

    On May 5, we took off at 9.10am from Kunming and were scheduled to land at Calcutta at 1.20pm. Before reaching Calcutta, the pilot announced that there was some problem with the undercarriage, which was not opening, and that we might have to crash land. But we somehow landed safely at 2.30pm at Dum Dum with the fire tenders all lined up. It would have been such an irony of fate if we had been killed in a crash landing in India!

    We were back on Indian soil after six and a half months in Mao's land.

    In conclusion, I would like to say something that still hurts me 40 years later. Some authors have written that the Chinese attack came as a response to India's 'forward policy'. This is utter nonsense. The Chinese had prepared this attack for at least two or three years before.

    We saw ample evidence of this on our road to the camp. How ammunition had been stocked, how they were prepared in every field. The PoWs from the Ladakh front confirmed that they too had observed the same state of meticulous preparation.

    I can give you a few other examples: one day, much to our delight, a Chinese woman came and recited some of Bahadur Shah Zafar's poems to us. The Chinese had certainly prepared for this war most diligently because they had interpreters for every Indian language right in the front lines.

    This Urdu-speaking woman must have lived in Lucknow for a long time. Same thing for one of our guards; though he had not said a single word for five months (we used to call him Poker Face), we discovered that he could speak perfect Punjabi when he left us in Kunming.

    In Kameng FD itself, they had many local people on their payroll. They had detailed maps and knowledge of the area. How otherwise could you explain that they were able to build 30km of road between Bumla and Tawang in less than two weeks?

    But their constant brainwashing was to make us accept that we had attacked them.

    One day, Lt Tong took us out and we were allowed to sit against a wall to sun ourselves. Though we could not see over it, we heard voices in Hindi from the other side. It was a Hindi-speaking Chinese talking to some jawans. The talk was going in the usual way about how India had attacked first.

    A jawan told the Chinese that his company was sleeping when the Chinese attack came, so how could India have started the war? The Chinese tried to explain that the jawan was only thinking of his own unit, but India had attacked elsewhere and China had to take action in self-defence.

    The jawan was fearless and outspoken. He answered: "I do not know what you are talking about, but the whole of my 'burgerade' (Punjabi for 'brigade') was sleeping when you attacked first."

    It is sad that this nonsense of India attacking China is still prevailing today in some quarters.

    A last anecdote. One or two years after the war, I once saw Gen Kaul at the Grindlay's Bank in Delhi. By that time, he had retired. I went up to him and wished him. Kaul looked bewildered and had tears in his eyes. I was surprised, thinking I'd upset him somehow. "Do you recognize me, sir?" I said. "I was your Commander Signals."

    Moved, he hugged me and said: "Of course, Krishen! I recognize you. But do you know that you are the first officer to greet me? Usually when my officers see me they turn their heads and pretend not to recognize me!"

    Like Nehru, he was a broken man.

    A highly decorated officer who joined the British Indian Army in early 1942, K K Tewari was taken prisoner during the Chinese attack on India on October 20, 1962, when he was visiting the forward troops. He spoke to Claude Arpi.
    Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon
    Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye....!!!!
    मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं,
    तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ....!!!!
    'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں
    تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے
    "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me."

  4. #49
    Veteran Member ajtr's Avatar
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    BATTLE OF NAMKA CHU, 10 OCT - 16 NOV 1962

    "I can tell this House that at no time since our independence, and of course before it, were our defence forces in better condition, in finer fettle, and with the background of our far greater industrial help them, than they are today. I am not boasting about them or comparing them with any other country's, but I am quite confident that our defence forces are well capable of looking after our security."

    - Prime Minister Jawarharlal Nehru addressing the Lok Sabha on 25th November 1959.


    Namka Chu a name seared in Indian memory, a place where the decisions made by a pacifist Prime Minister, an arrogant Defence Minister and a politically connected General caused the rout of a proud Brigade with many of its men dying like animals in a cage. Namka Chu, a gorge situated east of the remote Tri Junction of Tibet, Bhutan and India. It is 200 km from the railhead of Misamari and 60 km from the road head of Tawang. The Nyamjang river flows through from Tibet and enters India at Khinzemane. It meets Namka Chu 1½ miles south of Khinzemane. Local grazers used seven improvised bridges to take their cattle across the Namka Chu. They were from East to West known as Nos I - V, Log bridge and Temporary bridge. Following Hathung La route to Dhola Post, the track hit Bridge I. Across it the track forked, the eastward branch reached Khinzemane, the one going North West along the river and re-crossing to the South across Bridge II. This led to Dhola Post opposite Bridge III.

    A little away was Bridge IV and close to Tsangle was Bridge V. Between IV and V were the Log and Temporary bridges. The bridges were useless when the river was in spate. In October one could walk across the river bed. The Thagla ridge which sprawls from west to east overlooks Namka Chu and has four prominent passes Dum Dum La (17,000 feet), Karpola II (16,000 feet), Yamatso La (16,000 feet) and Thag La (14,000 feet). To get to Tawang the road traverses from Misamari up to 2743 metres to a place called Eagle's Nest, another 200 metres to Bomdi La. Then it drops to 1676 metres to Dirang Dzong, followed by an ascent to Se La at 4180 metres, another drop to 1524 metres to Jang with a final climb to Tawang (3048) metres. From here the journey had to be along tracks with mules and porters. There were no staging areas for acclimatisation.


    The dispute in this area revolved around Thagla Ridge. The Chinese claimed it was on the Tibetan side and India claimed it was on its side of the McMahon line. Accordingly in 1959 an Assam Rifles post was established at Khinzemane. The Chinese disputed it and a force of 200 Chinese pushed back the weak Indian force towards the bridge on the Nyamjang Chu at Drokung Samba which they claimed was the McMahon line. After the Chinese retired the Indians again reoccupied the post. The Chinese again tried to dislodge but this time were resisted by the Assam Rifles. This time they withdrew and started a chain diplomatic exchanges between the two Governments.

    Under Nehru's forward policy some extra posts were ordered to be deployed on the McMahon line. One such post was proposed at the Tri junction. A party under Captain Mahabir Prasad from 1 Sikh went to locate the post. However due to heavy snowfall it could not access it, so they located the post at Che Dong on the southern bank of the Namka Chu. While the post was dominated by the surrounding area, it was easy to maintain with access to water. However this should have been a temporary post and should have been relocated at a later time. For some reason it never was. An Assam Rifles unit was sent to man it.

    The Namka Chu Terrain

    On September 8th, Chinese troops laid siege to the Assam Rifles post. In order to get a quick response the post commander inflated the number to 600 enemy troops. In many other places similar situations were met with an order to stay put. Probably because the higher number, the 7th Inf Bde were ordered to move in and evict the Chinese. The 7th Brigade was part of 4th Division commanded by Major General Niranjan Prasad. At this time two battalions of 7th Brigade, the 9 Punjab and 1 Sikh were in Towang, the 1/9 Gorkha Rifles in Misamari on its way back after a 3-year tenure in NEFA. There was no airfield and all maintenance was by air drops. Raw and un-acclimatised troops with cotton uniforms and canvas shoes were sent into the mountains. All this was done under public clamour and alerted the Chinese. The first man to protest was Lt. Gen. Umrao Singh. When Lt. Gen. Sen in charge of Eastern Command refused to heed his advice, he followed it up with a written protest.

    14 Sept - 09 Oct 1962: Deployment

    The 7th Inf. Bde. was commanded by Brigadier J.P. Dalvi and consisted of 9 Punjab, 4 Grenadiers, 2 Rajputs and 1/9 Gorkha Rifles plus some symbolic artillery. 9 Punjab was led by Lt. Col. R.N. Mishra. With harvesting time in the region the men had to move everything by themselves for the long arduous trek. Each man carried one blanket, 100 rounds of ammo, 2 grenades, 3 days rations and LMG clips. It came to 35 kg per person. After a forced march it reached Bridge 1 on September 14. Next morning leaving one company behind at Bridge I, Lt. Col. Mishra took the rest to Bridge II, where a company of Chinese troops was in position both sides of Namka Chu. Ignoring the Chinese shouts in Hindi to go back, he left two companies about 50 metres away and took the last one to the Che Dong post. The logs at Bridge II were destroyed and a 50-man Chinese detachment occupied the opposite side.

    The next night the Punjabis at Bridge II crept in close forcing the Chinese to move most of their troops to the north bank. Meanwhile Lt. Gen. Umrao Singh's protests were causing a problem for the Government and the Army HQ. To avoid the impasse, General Thapar and Lt. Gen. Sen formed 4 Corps to handle NEFA leaving 33 Corps with Lt. Gen. Umrao Singh. Lt. Gen. B.M. Kaul was put in charge of 4 Corps - an most unusual step for a Chief of General Staff (CGS) to to do with direct access to the Prime Minister. Lt. Gen. Kaul took charge on October 4th. Meanwhile 2 Rajput and 1/9 Gorkha Rifles had reached Lumpu. The men were in cotton uniforms, canvas shoes and were living in the open after marching through slushy roads. The 4 Grenadiers who had arrived at Tawang a few days earlier were in no better shape. The buildup of troops to Tsangdhar was slow. There were no porters and everything had to back packed.

    Furthermore poor planning in the air drops did not help. Instead of snow clothes & ammo they got tent pegs, kerosene was dropped in 200L barrels. Many rolled down slopes and although some could be retrieved, many were given up. Especially high were losses from drops by C119s due to the higher speed of the aircraft. Meanwhile two platoons of MMGs from 6 Mahar and 34 Heavy Mortar Regiment reached Lumpu. The mortars had no ammo. A little later four 75mm guns of the 17 Field Parachute regiment were dropped at Tsangdhar. On October 6th, Lt. Gen. Kaul and Maj. Gen. Prasad made their way to Namka Chu. The Brigade HQ was located at Rongla and Tactical HQ at Zimithang. The troops were extended on a frontage of 12 miles or 20,000 yards - more than 6 times their normal frontage. Furthermore the Corps, Divisional and Brigade commanders were all there. Lt. Gen. Kaul now seeing for himself the deathtrap set up for the Indian troops tried get all available resources. He sent a message to Eastern Command for "marshalling of all military and air resources."

    Late in the game Lt. Gen. Kaul realised what he had gotten into and was now desperate. The Govt. however was not ready to escalate the border clash into an all out war. Meanwhile the Grenadiers, Rajput and Gorkhas were on the way to Tsangdhar. The units had marched through severe cold, with groups of 3 men sharing 2 sheets. As mentioned they were in cotton uniforms resulting in a good deal of sick casualties; frostbite and pulmonary disorders. Two Gorkhas died of pulmonary-edema the next day. So Lt. Gen. Kaul now turned to his pet 'positional warfare' theory while Major General Prasad and Brigadier Dalvi wanted to find a way from their untenable position. The Chinese meanwhile had advantage of position and had now mustered up to a division at Thagla.

    So Lt. Gen. Kaul set his plans in motion on the morning of October 8th. He decided that 2 Rajput would occupy Yamatso La west of Thag La peak as it was unoccupied using the Tseng-Jong approach. Brigadier Dalvi was stunned. The plan meant moving a battalion to a peak 16,000 feet above sea level under Chinese view with no artillery support. Brigadier Dalvi convinced Lt. Gen. Kaul to at least send a patrol of 9 Punjab to find a suitable crossing place for the Rajputs and cover them by taking positions at Tseng Jong. The Rajputs, less one company, left behind at Bridge 1 were to advance on first light October 10th.

    The patrol of 9 Punjab led by Major Choudhary left on October 8th and established itself by 3 p.m. Meanwhile two companies of the 2 Rajput was in the Bridge 4 area with the rest at Dhola post. It was as unprepared with only 90 sleeping bags, no ammo for its 3" mortars. Meanwhile the close proximity between Chinese and Indian troops caused skirmishes. A grenade attack on September 20th on the Punjabis, was met with effective retaliation. 4 Punjabis were wounded and 1 Chinese was killed. October 9th passed uneventfully except for a grenade attack in the Bridge 4 area. One more platoon from the 9 Punjab had reinforced the Tseung Jong area and one section from it, was stationed at the spur of Karpo La II.

    10 October 1962: The Skirmishes Begin

    October 10th dawned without a hint of what was to come. At first light, Lt. Gen. Kaul was shaving while his batman was preparing tea. Suddenly the calm of the morning was shattered by the incessant fire of small arms fire and the thumps of mortars. The Tseung Jong position had come under fire and was retaliating. Around 8:00 a.m., 600 Chinese troops attacked the post. The Indians totaled 56 men with only pouch ammunition. Still they beat back the first assault. Around 9:30 a.m. the Chinese attacked a second time. By now the section at Karpo La II had moved to the flank of the Chinese. When the Chinese emerged, it opened up on them inflicting heavy casualties. The Chinese retaliated by bringing down mortar fire. As the first fire rang out the Rajputs were strung on the Southern bank of the Namka Chu. According to their orders they were hurrying up to Yamatso La. The forward company was about 450 meters from the Temporary bridge with Lt. Col. Maha Singh Rikh following behind with the second company. Lt. Gen. Kaul now proceeded to give another order. He asked Lt. Col. Rikh to hold on and set defensive positions. Protests about the positions being dominated by the Thag La ridge were brushed aside. He then left handing over command to Brigadier Dalvi saying, "It is your battle." Moreover a company of the 1/9 Gorkhas had to accompany the party to provide protection.

    Meanwhile Major Chaudhary was asking for mortar and machine gun fire. Brigadier Dalvi had two 3" mortars and two machine guns but he had to make the painful decision of not opening fire as the retaliatory fire from the south bank would decimate the Rajputs who were still milling around. Helplessly they watched the Chinese reinforcements clamber up for a second attack. The Chinese attacked a third time from three directions and at this time Major Chaudhary asked the unit to withdraw. By that time the Chinese were on Major Chaudhary's position, hand-to-hand combat was in process. Somehow he withdrew what was left of his two platoons. Sepoy Kanshi Ram brought back a AK-47 snatched from a Chinese soldier. The withdrawal was made possible by the gallantry of Naik Chain Singh. Asking his men to fall back, Naik Singh covered their withdrawal with an LMG, till he was gunned down by a machine gun burst. Major Chaudhary, Sepoy Ram and Naik Singh were awarded the Maha Vir Chakra. The Punjabis outnumbered 20 to 1 lost 6 dead, 11 wounded and 5 missing. Peking Radio admitted to a 100 casualties. Later that day the Chinese buried our men with full military honours in view of our men. It was a clever move to beguile the Indians into complacency. Meanwhile the Chinese started reinforcing their positions with more troops and heavy mortars. A long line of mules and porters were seen carrying equipment. Firing lines were cleared with mechanical saws, and barbed wire & punji sticks used to defend their positions.

    Meanwhile the Grenadiers, led by Lt. Col. K.S. Harihar Singh, arrived and started deploying. The Chinese taunted them for their efforts to cut trees with machetes and digging tools. Attempts to withdraw the Punjabis from Tsangle were rebuffed by Lt. Gen. Kaul. The Lt. Gen. who was sick, instead of giving up his command and admitting himself to the hospital, went to his residence and commanded from from his sick bed. In the Army of 1962 this no longer seemed strange. On October 18th the Chinese preparations intensified. Officers were holding conferences and pointing out Indian positions at Namka Chu and Tsangdhar. Bearings were taken and noted down. Tsangle Post and Bridge V came under fire for 90 minutes. With a foot of snow falling, Brigadier Dalvi was forced to take whatever snow clothes from the men at Namka Chu and give it to those in Tsangle. A company of the 1/9 Gorkha Rifles was ordered to be deployed at Tsangle. Brigadier Dalvi protested at this piece meal deployment but was threatened with a court martial. The next day the Chinese activities climaxed. The Rajputs counted 2000 men with stores in the area between Tseng-Jong and Temporary Bridge. Mules and porters came across Thag La. Men were laying tape markers for night assaults. Brigadier Dalvi protested again asking to withdraw his men from this deathtrap. He offered to resign, rather than watch his men get massacred. Brigadier Dalvi thought the attack was going to come the next day and in three days his brigade would be wiped out. Major General Prasad promised he will be there the next day to share the fate of the brigade.

    So by October 19th the troops were deployed as follows;

    • 4 Grenadiers, commanded by Lt. Col. K.S. Harihar Singh
    - 1 Bn less 2 Coy - Bridge I
    - 1 Coy - Drokung Sambha (under Div HQ)
    - 1 Coy - Serkhim with 1 platoon at Hathung La

    • 9 Punjab, commanded by Lt. Col. R.N. Misra
    - 1 Bn less 1 Coy - Bridge II
    - 1 Coy - Bridge V and Tsangle

    • 2 Rajput, commanded by Lt. Col. M.S. Rikh
    Total Strength - 513 men, 8 Officers
    - 1 Bn less 3 Coy - Bridge IV
    - A Coy - Bridge III
    - B Coy - Log Bridge
    - C Coy - Temporary Bridge

    • 1/9 Gorkha Rifles, commanded by Lt. Col. B.S. Ahluwalia
    - 1 Bn less 2 Coy - Che Dong - Tsangdhar Track
    - 1 Coy - behind Bridge II (near Brigade HQ)
    - 1 Coy less platoon - Tsangdhar
    - 1 Platoon - between Tsangdhar and Bridge V

    • Assam Rifles
    1 Platoon - Che Dong

    • 34 Heavy Mortar Battery less platoon - Tsangdhar (no ammo)

    • Field Regiment - 17 Para
    1 Troop - Tsangdhar (2 operational - 260 rounds of ammo, no radio sets for OP)

    • 6 Mahar
    1 MG Coy less platoon*
    (*Platoon with 1/9 GR, rest with Rajputs at Bridge V)

    • 100 Field Coy - Rong La

    • Brigade HQ - 100 yards behind Rola (Dhola Post)

    Against this the Chinese forces consisted of 11th Division with 3 regiments (equal to a brigade). On the night of the 19th the Chinese went into their forming up areas. In utter contempt of the Indians across the river, they lit fires to warm themselves. To Major Gurdial, the 2-in-C of the 2 Rajputs, the idea of his under strength battalion fighting the hardened veterans of the Korean war seemed suicidal. He looked around at his isolated weak companies, un-acclimatised & weak, 150 rds/rifleman, 17 magazines (28 rounds) per LMG and 2 grenades per soldier. The battalion's 3" mortars had 60 rounds of ammo, equal to five minutes firing time. The night was dark and bitter cold. The stars stood out brightly. The sentries of 2 Rajput stood wrapped in blankets shuffling around to keep warm. The men were huddled in twos and threes for warmth. Still sleep eluded them as they waited for the stand to at 0430 hours. Unknown to them in the thousands of yards that separated the posts, with visibility under 20 yards, Chinese infantry columns were infiltrating through the large gaps. Fording the river was easy. To avoid slipping they removed their shoes and walked barefoot across. Once across they dried and wore warm socks. They quickly moved past the link roads where Indian patrols might operate.

    The overhead communication wires were left alone to be cut just before the attack so that the Indians may not be alerted. Once in the dark shadows of the coniferous forests the noises were muffled by the thick moss on rocks. Slowly the Chinese columns gathered into battalions. Each got into a position above and behind the Rajput companies. Other columns likewise moved to the Tsangdhar position to take on the Gorkhas. Other Chinese columns had moved 2 nights before and gone to Hathung La to carry out blocking movements. The fires and other activity of the earlier nights had kept the defenders focus on the front. The plan was to hit like a battering ram at the centre, into the Rajputs, and the left flank and cutting off the rest of the troops. At 4:30 hours Lt. Col. Rikh was woken up by his batman. Outside the temp was well below zero and the fires lit by the Chinese still flickered. His adjutant, Captain Bhatia, who was to be posted to Poona soon was checking with the companies & patrols and they reported all was well. The first pre dawn light could be seen when the darkness was broken by the hollow booming sound of mortars. The muzzle flashes were followed by a pause before the valley erupted in a roar. It was 0514 hours and the Battle of Namka Chu had begun.

    20 October 1962: The Battle

    At 5:14 a.m. 150 guns and mortars opened upon all the localities at Namka Chu and Tsangdhar. The 82mm and 120mm rounds crashed into trees & rocks, forcing the men in the open to take refuge in the bunkers whose firing bays faced forwards. It continued for an hour, as the Indians helplessly watched unable to counter it with any weapon. The Indian 3" mortars made an futile attempt to fire back. Even as they tried to get the range right, the Chinese ranged in on them and blew them away. The signals bunker was zeroed in quickly using 75mm recoilless guns, and blown up, killing all in it including Captain Mangat - the Signals Officer.

    Progress of Battle

    After an hour or so there was a brief lull for 7 - 15 minutes before the Chinese bugles and whistles for an infantry attack became audible. To the shock of the defenders, the attack was from above and behind. This meant their trenches were exposed and they had to scramble out of their bunker to face upwards. At Temporary Bridge, Subedar Dashrath Singh realised what was happening and moved Naik Roshan Singh's section to a bump 150 yards upslope. Barely had Roshan's men taken position when the Chinese came into view. With AK-47s opening up, they charged. Roshan and his men poured fire into the bunched up Chinese cutting down many.

    2nd Lt Onkar Dubey with 7th platoon along with Subedar Janam Singh rushed with 15 LMG clips and 2 men to support Roshan. From the flanks he and his men poured fire on the Chinese breaking up two attacks. Firing the last 2 clips at the enemy he was severely wounded in the stomach & chest and fell down unconscious. He was later taken prisoner. Meanwhile Subedar Dashrath Singh's men turned uphill and opened fire on the advancing Chinese. The Chinese rushed down using cover from tree to tree. Dashrath and his men repulsed 3 attacks. On the fourth they came in to hand-to-hand combat losing four more men. Subedar Dashrath fell unconscious and was taken POW. On the eastern flank, Major B.K. Pant's D Coy platoon under Jemadar J.N. Bose came under attack. The crescendo of AK-47 fire overshadowed the noise of Indian LMGs and rifles.

    Roshan's unit was finally overcome with every man killed. The attention now turned to Jemadar Bose's platoon. After three waves of assault there were only 10 men surviving. The gallant Bengali led the remaining men into a bayonet charge. Most of the men were killed. Major B.K. Pant meanwhile tried to rally the men. Hit at the beginning of the battle in the leg he had to take over after Major Sethi was killed in the first round of mortar attacks which collapsed his bunker. Hobbling from position to position he kept inspiring his men on. He was hit again in the stomach and leg. Still he continued to inspire his men to break a fourth attack. At this point the enemy targeted him and hit him all over with machine gun fire. He uttered the Regiment's war cry before his last breath.

    Meanwhile at Log Bridge, B Company was having its own problems. As the first shells landed, Lt. Subhash Chander reacted quickly and turned his men around to face uphill. However a salvo of mortar shells set fire to his command post as well as the company kitchen. The resulting fire to ghee & wheat engulfed the post trapping him inside and burning him to death. Subedar Har Lal, of 5th platoon, now rallied his men quickly dispersing them amongst the trees and rocks. He kept exhorting his men and when ammo ran out asked them to use their rifles as lathis. Jemadar Gian Chand's 4th platoon too got a few minutes to get into position amongst the trees. They held of 3 waves of attacks before he too was overwhelmed. With Subedar Mohan Lal killed early in the battle only Naik Hoshiar with 6th platoon was left. With the other two platoons absorbing the first few attacks, 6th platoon got more time to get into position. Using their Lee Enfield .303s they inflicted heavy damage. In spite of firing upwards, the Rajputs were effective because the ricocheting bullets continued to drop the Chinese.

    Little by little the superior volume of the Chinese AK-47s overwhelmed the Indians. With ammunition running out the Chinese moved in. Each and every soldier had to be overcome by hand-to-hand to combat. Percussion grenades were extensively used. As Naik Hoshiar ran out of ammo he grabbed a Sten gun and was trying to reload when a percussion grenade exploded, hitting him in the arms & chest. As he regained consciousness, he found four Chinese holding him. A services wrestler, Naik Hoshiar struggled for some time before being overpowered. Meanwhile the area under Bridge IV continued to get pounded with the Btn HQ getting special attention. Major Gurdial, 2-in-C, under mortar fire rallied his men around. Seeing no enemy activity across the river he realised the attack was coming from uphill. Frantically he tried to set the Vickers MG around to face uphill. Men were being hurried out of bunkers to face uphill. Lt. Bhup Singh joined up with Lt. Col. Rikh in the Btn command post.

    The full brunt of the attack struck Lt. Bhup's 12th platoon under Jemadar Biswas, the Btn command post in the centre and Subedar Ram Chander's C platoon to the east. The bunched up Chinese were cut down by volley's of rifle and LMG fire. Yet the Chinese continued to attack. The advantage of the Ak-47s along with HE and percussion grenades thrown down proved decisive. The Indians had to throw uphill, a task much harder. As the men in the upper slopes struggled, some of the men in the lower slopes started withdrawing towards Bridge III including the 11 platoon led by Subedar B.C. Roy. Meanwhile the now depleted C Coy and the Btn HQ had held off two attacks. The Chinese attacked a third time from the south and south west. With Major Gurdial rallying them, they desperately tried to fight back but succumbed to the inevitable. Major Gurdial was overpowered and captured.

    With the flanking platoons almost wiped out to a man the remnants fell back to the battalion bunker. Captain Bhatia and Lt. Col. Rikh and a few others were now in the bunker. The Chinese opened up with a machine gun trying to break through the bunker. When that failed, a Chinese soldier crawled up to the bunker and threw a grenade just as Lt. Col. Rikh was peeping out. The grenade hit his rifle and exploded, breaking his jaw and cutting his lips. Lt. Bhup rushed out and shot the Chinese soldier and dragged Lt. Col. Rikh back in. He was propped up and given an LMG to resume firing. Another Chinese LMG burst through the door killing Captain Bhatia and hit Lt. Col. Rikh again in the shoulder breaking it. He however managed to gun down the Chinese soldier. Yet another Chinese broke through and rounds hit him in the elbow and leg, consequently breaking them. The pain and loss of blood caused him to collapse. Lt. Bhup continued to hold them off with one jawan. The Chinese had now encircled three sides and were pouring machine gun fire. Finally the defenders' ammunition ran out. On this the Chinese threw percussion grenades and overpowered Lt. Bhup and the jawan.

    The fourth and last locality, Bridge 3, was held by A company with a platoon of Assam Rifles holding the Che Dong are. The Assam Rifles held the top of the spur while 2 platoons No.1 and No.2, held the lower slopes 600 hundred feet below. A 3rd platoon held a position another 800 feet lower overlooking Bridge 3. The initial hour long shelling drove the Assam Rifles unit from the post. As the shelling lifted Captain Ravi Eipe began to move towards the Assam Rifles post to get a better view. As he approached there was firing from the post. Thinking it was the AR men firing in panic he shouted out. Soon he saw some figures in khaki and realised the Chinese had already taken over the post. He alerted Company Havildar Major Saudagar Singh's men to reposition themselves just as the attack began. The Chinese then attacked from the top and the West. Facing them were the 2 platoons of CHM Singh and Subedar Basdeo Singh. CHM Saudagar's men had reorganised and took a heavy toll on the attacking Chinese. CHM Singh himself snatched an AK-47 from a Chinese soldier and blew away 5 Chinese soldiers. By 0700 hours the platoons were being swarmed by Chinese troops. 1 platoon got cut off and fought to the death.

    Captain Eipe was hit on the shoulder and could not take any further part. The remnants of the battered 2 and 3rd platoons were asked to withdraw. With this the last Rajput position was overrun. Temporary and Log Bridge were overpowered and the systematic mopping up began. The attack had begun at 5:14 a.m. with the shelling lasting till 6:30 a.m. By 9:30 a.m. mopping operations were in full swing till it ended at 11:30 a.m. The main positions of 1/9 Gorkha Rifles were above Che Dong on a track from the Assam Rifles post. 'D' Coy held the central location with 'A' and 'C' Coy on either side. The fourth company was above bridge II protecting the Brigade HQ. As the Gorkhas were getting into their morning stand, the first salvo of Chinese shells hit their positions. As the officers scrambled to figure the situations they found the telephone lines were dead. Now the Chinese who had infiltrated past them in the last 2 nights launched their attack. The Gorkhas fought back.

    Their 3" mortars opened up only to be silenced by the Chinese guns. By 6:25 a.m., C Coy was under attack by 500 Chinese troops. Company Commander, Captain Gambhir, was killed and 2nd Lt. Dogra, platoon commander, was wounded. Lt. Col. Ahluwalia asked Subedar Major Jit Bahdur Chetri to take his men and reinforce 2nd Lt. Dogra's platoon. By 7:15 a.m. 2nd Lt. Dogra's platoon was overrun. Wounded, he continued to fight with an LMG allowing the remnants of his platoon to fall back. Subedar Dhan Bahadur Chand also covered with an LMG. By 7:30 a.m., A Coy was under attack from rear as well as the front. Lt. Col. Ahluwalia was wounded in the shoulder as hand-to-hand fighting began. With no hope, the CO ordered a withdrawal towards Tsangdhar. Meanwhile word came of Subedar Chetri's platoon being encircled and captured. Captain Mahabir Prasad and Lt. Mahindra were wounded and missing. The Gorkhas fell back in confusion. One lot went towards the Tsangdhar track the other towards Bridge II.

    Many of the attempts to reach Karpo La II or Rong La were thwarted by the Chinese who got there ahead of them. Even at this point there were defiant attacks of bravery. Subedar Bhab Bahadur Katwal with 15 men was heading for Karpo La I. The route was blocked by a Chinese MMG. Subedar Bahadur lead his men in a charge with the Gorkha war cry, Ayo Gorkhali (The Gorkhas have come). The machine gun chattered and then there was silence. All the men were killed or wounded & captured. Small parties of men however did make it across the Chinese encirclement and reached Bhutan. Many others perished due to the cold & starvation as they tried to make their way in the cold, hostile and desolate mountains with no blankets or winter clothing. The Sikh Para Gunners also displayed an astonishing defiance. With no ammo they took up LMGs & rifles and fought the Chinese after the Gorkha platoons were overrun. The Chinese encircled them and called them to surrender. They refused and continued fighting till they ran out of ammo. One third were killed and the rest were wounded and captured.

    7th Brigade had lost all cohesion within the first hour of the battle. By 8 a.m. the first stragglers of the 1/9 Gorkha's came back to HQs with news that the Btn was overrun. This meant his middle & left defences were already broken. Small arms fire was now homing in on Brigade HQ. Brigadier Dalvi now got Div HQ's permission to leave Rong La and fall back to Tsangdhar hoping to reform and fight. The Rajputs and Gorkhas were expected to fall back to Tsangdhar. Brigadier Dalvi and his men left for Tsangdhar after destroying all documents. However they soon found that Tsangdhar was already breached and changed directions to Serkhim. The group wandered around for days avoiding Chinese patrols. At one point they had been without food for 66 hours. Sometime on the morning of October 22nd they ran into a Chinese Company and were captured. At Bridge II, the 9 Punjab had not been shelled. After communications with Brigade HQ was cut off, they remained in touch with Div HQ. At 11 a.m. on October 20th, Major General Prasad ordered them to withdraw to Hathung La. The withdrawal attracted heavy Chinese mortar fire. This was followed by an attack on the positions of 'D' Coy under Major Chaudhary.

    Once again repeated attacks collapsed the defence and all the men went down fighting. Another group of 20 men under Havildar Malkiat Singh were on their way to reinforce the Tsangla defences. They stumbled into a large Chinese force. In the unequal encounter, the Punjabis inflicted heavy casualties before going down. Havildar Singh was amongst those who were killed. With the Chinese reaching Hathung La before the Punjabis, they too had to take the route through Bhutan. At Drokung Samba, C Coy of Grenadiers came under attack from three sides by a battalion of the Chinese. Soon the bridge was blown up cutting off any withdrawal. With no hopes, the men under 2nd Lt. Rao fought wave after wave of attacks. Most including the 2nd Lt. Rao were killed. The rest of the Grenadiers at Bridge I received orders to pull out and managed to escape through Bhutan. It took them 17 days. Thus ended the Battle of Namka Chu. The word 'battle' is grossly misleading, for what was essentially a massacre. Within the first hour of the battle 7th Brigade had lost all cohesiveness. It was then essentially a desperately one-sided battle with many Indian platoons fighting to the death, to the last round, last man.

    The 2 Rajputs suffered horrendously but lived up to the Regiment's reputation. Of the 513 all ranks, 282 were killed that morning, 81 were wounded and captured, 90 were captured unwounded. Only 60 men, mostly rear elements got away. The Gorkhas lost 80 dead, 44 wounded and 102 captured. The 7th Brigade lost a total of 493 men that morning. The Chinese also lost heavily. Lt. Col. Rikh was captured & subjected to repeated interrogations on the characteristics of the Rajputs. He was told it was because the Chinese suffered their maximum casualties in NEFA (North East Frontier Agency). In the bitter flush of defeat, the valour of these men went un-recognised. In the small village of Lumpu, on the track leading to the Hathung La pass, stands a memorial. A memorial consisting of a tin shed under which loose wooden boards are stacked with names of those who fell in the battle. To rub salt in the wounds, not all the men are mentioned. This is considered sufficient to honour them!

    Copyright © BHARAT RAKSHAK. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of BHARAT RAKSHAK is prohibited.
    Last edited by ajtr; 22-05-10 at 04:49 PM.
    Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon
    Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye....!!!!
    मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं,
    तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ....!!!!
    'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں
    تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے
    "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me."

  5. #50
    Veteran Member ajtr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    The following things went wrong in the campaign in the Kameng division.

    *There was a lull in the fighting after Namka chu - till the the point where the Sela collapse happened. it was not a hurried deployment, there was about a three week lull between Namka Chu and the battles of se la , DZ and bomdila. The fact that the presence in Kameng was built from a single or two brigade force to a very strong three brigade force (Despite loss of 7 Brigade) showed that the build up happened at a good pace.
    * As you said Bomdi La was the best place to defend. However once the decision to split troops along bomdila AND SeLa was taken, it was a fatal decision to place the Div HQ in between the two places at Dirang Dzong - there were not enough defensive troops.
    *You have to give credit to the chinese for using other trails, bypassing SeLa and attacking the div hq at Dirang dzong , effectively unsettling the Div commander and his staff. What did they call that - Positional Warfare?
    * The Div Commander made a fatal mistake of ordering the Se La brigade to withdraw - inspite of the protests of Brigadier Hoshiar Singh - and especially when the lead elements were coming under attack. The result, the Brigade broke up just as it was coming under attack and simultaneously withdrawing. they might have held their ground if they had been holding se la as a fortress.
    *From what I read, While deploying at SeLa was not a wise decision, withdrawing the force while under attack when they still had resources to defend was even worse. You can say that the battle was lost in the mind and not on the ground.
    *The story of the Div Commander calling the Corps HQ frantically for permission to withdraw from Se La is well known. The COAS and the Army Commander were there but refused to give any firm decision to the Div Cdr. The Corps Commander returned from his sortie, and while insisting there is no withdrawal , passed the buck and left the div commander to take the decision to teh best of his abilities , who promptly issued the order to withdraw.

    The gist of all this is.
    The Chinese did show initiative in outflanking maneuvers and not sticking to the road and bypassing strong defences.
    The top brass (Atleast in Kameng) lost the battle in their mind - a chance to redeem ourselves in kameng was lost.
    The losses at SeLa had very little to do with the "Chinese human wave attacks" or "heavily outnumbered indian troops" and more due to bad decision making by div hq



    Above pages are from official history of 1962 sino-indo war chapter 5 linked below.....

    Debacles at SE LA BOMDILA :Chapter 5

    **Thanks Jagan for his comments...
    Last edited by ajtr; 20-05-10 at 01:15 PM.
    Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon
    Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye....!!!!
    मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं,
    तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ....!!!!
    'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں
    تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے
    "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me."

  6. #51
    Veteran Member ajtr's Avatar
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    No Use of Combat Air Power in 1962


    No Use of Combat Air Power AK Tiwary map

    In 1962 as the war clouds gathered over the Himalayan mountains, Indian Army beefed up its defences. As a result IAF was asked to undertake tremendous surge in air maintenance – nearly thrice the normal amount. The air maintenance flying in Sep 1962 was 1179 hours. It increased to 3263 hours in Nov 1962. However, the inflow at the receiving end of air maintenance was not as spectacular. The dropping zones (DZ) were sub optimum; there was shortage of dropping equipment; there were too few porters to retrieve the dropped load and take it to Army posts; the identification between different items of dropped air load was ineffective or absent. All this resulted in around 80 percent of the drop being irretrievable. 1This despite the valiant effort of IAF transport crew and helicopter crew which continued to provide much needed support. This has been well recorded and appreciated. They are the reasons of not using combat air – that are little known. This article is devoted to this second part.

    During the Sino-Indian War of 1962, the political leadership did not use the combat air arm of the IAF. General Kaul the Army Commander responsible in NEFA, later confessed, “Lastly, we made a great mistake in not employing our Air Force in a close support role during these operations”.2 This costly and catastrophic omission was a result of multiple factors which impinged on the decision-making process at the highest level. To begin with was the influence of Prof PMS Blackett on PM Nehru in defence matters soon after Indian independence. Blackett was a British advisor for defence. He had advocated only a tactical role for the IAF firmly advising against escalating any war that India may get involved in the future.3 The second major influence was the analysis of Director Intelligence Bureau BN Mullick, a close confidant of Nehru. Mullick concluded that Chinese bombers will bomb Indian cities in response to IAF’s combat use. Probably the horrors of the bombing of the cities during the Second World War were still vivid on Nehru’s mind. The next factor was a counsel on similar lines by the American Ambassador John K Galbraith half way through the war who over estimated the capability of the Chinese air force in the absence of proper air defence infrastructure in India.4 Following was the strength of the two air forces on the eve of 1962 war:


    The fourth factor could be the lack of joint planning between Indian Army and Air Force as opined by George Tanham, “The air force knew nothing about the army plans and was not consulted in any way about defence against a Chinese attack - not surprisingly as the army did not have any specific plan”.5 While this may be partly true at the strategic level, nevertheless, it is also well documented that Army-Air Force planners had explored use of air power and recommended the same to the Army Chief on more than one occasion. It is here that the plan came up against a dead end.6 When the chips were down even Kaul demanded combat air.7 Tanham goes on to state, “The Indian government, although in a desperate state and calling for massive American air support, did not investigate what its air power might do to redress the situation”.8 While the political-bureaucratic combine pleaded to US President John F Kennedy for 12 Squadrons of Star fighters (F-104) and four squadrons of B-47 Bombers as an immediate USAF help to stem the Chinese advance, they did not deem it fit even to consult the Indian Air Force Air Chief.9 The question that arises is as to what was the IAF’s professional opinion?

    It appears that the IAF leadership was quite confident about using combat air to own advantage and did advise the political leadership at every possible opportunity.10 It is a fact that Canberras flew 22 photographic reconnaissance missions between Oct 13 and Nov 11, 1962, during the conflict period, over Aksai Chin, Towang, Se la and Walong area. Some of the sorties were at 300 feet above Chinese concentrations. No damage to the Canberras from Chinese anti aircraft artillery was the proof showing the poor level of Chinese capabilities.11 However, as Lieutenant General Kaul states in the “Untold Story”, “Our intelligence set-up, of course, knew little on the subject and was only adept at presuming some facts and not realising the dispensation of exaggerated information about the enemy was as dangerous as understating vital facts”.12 Here General Kaul is referring to Mullick granting exaggerated capabilities to Chinese Air Force. Major General DK Palit put the quandary in the right perspective when he stated that the Intelligence agency (IB) which should have been supplying inputs to user agencies was not only collating information, but also interpreting the same and recommending policy action, mostly directly to the Prime Minister. A case of cart before the horse.

    Air Marshal Raghvendran then a staff officer (Wing Commander) goes on to recount the exact professional advice given to PM and RM about marginal capability of the Chinese air force operating from Tibet and beyond. He underscores PM’s apprehension about even a single bomb falling over Delhi and the war escalating out of control. Raghvendran minces no words when he states, “The debacle, partly due to the non use of air power but more so due to our foreign policy blindness as well as emasculation of the Army by playing `favourites’ by Krishna Menon, interfering with the promotion and posting of senior officers in the Army, ordering a totally unprepared army to `throw out the Chinese’ and above all insisting on giving the command of the operations to a totally unqualified and inexperienced `favourite’ General were all the work of the political leaders and the blame must be squarely laid there.” General Kaul airs the same views when he states, “The professional judgement of the Air Force Commanders had been completely disregarded and their operational plans ignored to the extent that they called for greater infrastructural resources”.13

    Late JN Dixit, former Foreign Secretary (1992-94) and National Security Advisor (2004 – 05) writing on this stated, “I was the Under Secretary in the China Division dealing with external dimensions of the Sino-Indian crisis. So I claim some personal knowledge… suggestion put forward was that India should consider air strikes against the Chinese forces in Tibet all along the front… Our information was that the Chinese logistical arrangements and supply lines were too stretched and that China did not have sufficient air power in Tibet at that point of time…. India’s air strikes would stop the Chinese advance and neutralise the military successes which they had achieved. The suggestion was dismissed on the ground that the officers concerned were not military experts and their suggestion did not merit serious consideration… And by the time Nehru was coming round to the view of using air power the Chinese declared unilateral cease-fire… Later analyses and records of conversations between Chinese leaders, Henry Kissinger and Nixon clearly indicate that the Chinese considered the decision-making elite in the Indian establishment somewhat naïve and the Indian military planners inept in utilising the strengths which India had at that point of time, particularly in terms of airpower”.14

    Air Force could have been employed for interdiction, battlefield air interdiction, attack on areas captured by the Chinese, attack as a retribution on deeper targets. This definitely was possible. It could have been done from July 1962 onwards after Chinese had surrounded our forward post at Galwan in Ladakh. And definitely between Oct 24 and Nov 17 when Chinese were building up the road from Bumla to Tawang inside Indian territory and were restocking themselves. Indian Air force was ready. The ad hoc - so called “China-Council”, to evaluate threat and formulate the strategy and even tactics to counter Chinese formed by the PM in Sep 1962 did not include the Chief of Air Staff.15 Lt Gen Kaul later stated that, ”Unfortunately, it was the reluctance on the part of the IAF to be able to mount offensive sorties as a legitimate exercise of self-defence which added to the fears of Government in Delhi. If the Air Staff had undertaken to do this, the political appreciation might have been different (?)”16 This is sort of finding a scapegoat after the event. Unfortunately Air Chief was never consulted. Kaul was the same General who earlier as Chief of General Staff for Goa operations a year before had refused to include the IAF and the IN in the planning process, despite repeated advice of his DMO then Brigadier Palit. Since he wielded enormous clout with the PM and RM why didn’t he suggest seeking IAF’s appreciation of the matter?

    It is only when Kaul faced the music as Corps Commander in the field that he realised the importance of air support and asked for it. Mullick admits that around Sep 18, 1962 he was asked to present Chinese air force capability. Since IB did not have first hand knowledge they sought help from `our good friends’ (CIA). Following is a list of arguments put forward by Mullick and my analysis as to why all these were wrong.

    Chinese Airfields

    Chinese air force could operate from airfields in Tibet, Sinkiang and Yunan province, from all of which air attacks on India could be mounted.
    Comment: The airfields of Zinning, Lanchous and Kunming (2080 m) were located too far away from the international border to have any bearing on the ground battle. Nachu, though closest to the battle zone, was situated at an altitude of 4500 m, hence, was unfit for fighter/bomber operations. Jye Kundo, elevation 3800 m, and Chamdo, elevation 3230 m, were fit for MiG-19 operations against NEFA area, though with payload reduced by as much as 2000 kg, a penalty for high elevation. Thus, these fighters could use only cannons. IL-28 bomber could have operated from these bases striking cities like Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Guwahati, Shillong and Kohima. But certainly not Madras (Chennai) as stated by Mullick or for that matter even Calcutta and Kanpur. The strikes would have been with reduced payload. The IL-28 flying a high-low-high profile to extend its range would have had a radius of action of only 700 km and not 2500 km as implicated by Mullick. Even over the ground battle area, MiG-19, only with cannons would not have made significant impact. Moreover due to very primitive infrastructure at Chinese air bases, none of these air bases could have housed more than few aircraft. That too in the open and themselves highly vulnerable to IAF attacks.

    Night Interceptors

    Mullick categorically states that India did not have any night interceptors. Therefore, Chinese bombers could have attacked at will without any opposition.
    Comment: The IAF had night fighter squadrons of Vampires. No 10 Sqn had been dedicated for air defence of Delhi by night in 1954. And if the IL-28 had elected to come by day, they would have been intercepted and shot down by the Hunters and Gnats. No 10 Sqn which operated Vampires had airborne interception radar called A-10.

    Quantum of Chinese Air Effort

    Chinese air force was the third largest in the world. Despite spares shortages, against India it would have mounted large and significant air effort, insisted Mullick.
    Comment: Chinese air force had only 150 MiG 19 and about 500 IL-28 bombers the contemporary aircraft. MiG – 15 & 17 were obsolete aircraft. It faced major threat across the Taiwan Strait and so could deploy only limited numbers in Tibet. These few would have had very serious limitations in performance operating from high altitude airfields.

    Canberra Operations & MiG-19

    Mullick states that MiG-19 being a night interceptor would have made it difficult for our Canberra to operate against Chinese targets.
    Comment: The IL-28 was inferior to the Canberra. MiG-19 was inferior to Hunters and Gnats and was unfit for night interceptions. Yet while IL-28 was granted the capability to roam freely all over India unmolested, our Canberras capability was prematurely written off.

    Chinese Targets

    Targets in China were beyond the reach of our bombers. So using Canberras would serve no purpose.
    Comment: The Canberra’s radius of action is 830 Km in High-Low-High Profile with 8000 pound bombs. This could be extended further using drop tanks or reducing the bomb load and operating from airfields at Chabua which could have attacked Chinese cities of Lhasa, Kunming and Chengdu.

    Escalation of War

    Using the IAF would have escalated the war which would have been an advantage to China.
    Comment: Smart nations prosecute war to achieve set goals. They also prepare for the eventuality of escalation. From one extreme of “throw the Chinese out of Indian territory” announced in the Parliament as an order given to Indian Army, now the leadership and its advisors were afraid to use the air force even when its own army was disintegrating as never before in its entire history. Assam had been given up mentally and yet they called it ‘limiting’ the war. Whereas Lieutenant General Thorat only two years back had submitted a pragmatic plan in which purposeful escalation of the war was planned to trap the Chinese into our killing ground. This was a professional advice based on cold military logic. It was better than not yielding even ‘an inch of territory’, immaterial if that piece of land happened to be in desolate forlorn icy wastes of Himalayas.

    With the second phase of ground war starting on Nov 17, which saw another disintegration of the famous No 4 Division and headlong retreat into the plains, now Indian government was totally flustered. Rather than investigating with its own air force leaders it made a desperate plea to US President asking for 12 Squadrons of F-104s and four squadrons of B-47 bombers. But Indian Defence Secretary was not authorised to consult the Air Chief.17 If a professional appreciation had been given a chance the factual comparison would have revealed:

    IAF could carry far more bomb load than the Chinese air force over targets in battlefield.
    IAF could attack city of Lhasa, Kunming and Chengdu.
    IAF had more modern and capable aircraft compared to Chinese.
    IAF infrastructure, though not optimum, was far better than the Chinese air force.
    IAF could have attacked the Chinese airfields and rendered them totally unusable. Thus winning the command of air over contested area.18
    The Chinese air force was deployed in east China to counter major threat from Taiwan and USAF in Japan and Korea, Philippines etc..
    IAF fighter aircraft were deployed both in North and East. Air support net had been established. HQ XV Corps asked for Close Air Support on Oct 31, 1962; HQ IV Corps asked for the same on Sep 7, 1962 and again on Oct 7, 1962. Because 7 Brigade deployed forward had no artillery support. These demands were vetoed by Army HQ, fearing Chinese air force interfering with IAF’s transport supplies to the troops. IAF continued to maintain alert posture for the air support. Series of inexplicable decision continued to be taken. Tezpur runaway was to be demolished on Nov 22.19 The Air Force was asked to fly its aircraft out from forward bases and destroy those that could not be flown out. Fortunately the Chinese announcement of unilateral cease-fire on Nov 21, on radio saved the aircraft and airfield at the last moment.20
    It appears that at different times, Air HQ expressed differing assessment of the Chinese air threat. While one section appreciated all the advantages for India in committing its air force into war, the other section was strayed by the reasoning of political leaders and senior leadership of the Indian Army. They argued that close air support against dispersed and dug in infantry in the jungles obtaining in lower Himalayas will not be effective. In fact close air support demands from the army units in the field were raised. But these were vetoed by Army Commands and the Army HQ even though air force pilots remained on cockpit alert for the same. It was also reasoned that this action by IAF may invoke Chinese Air Force to interfere with our transport and helicopter operations which were the lifeline for forward deployed army troops. And of course in case of escalation Chinese Air Force could bomb Indian cities. No doubt the Director Operations, then Air Commodore HC Dewan advised against using combat air. But there were officers including the Air Chief who felt India would benefit by use of combat air force. Another such officer was then Air Vice Marshal Arjan Singh, then Air Officer Administration at Air HQ. Another was Wg Cdr Raghavendran, a staff officer in Operations Directorate, who later became an Air Marshal. Having stated so it must also be emphasised that from all accounts available, that after the start of the conflict it is quite clear that Air Chief including majority of air force officers advocated use of combat air, time and again but to no avail. Some sources do mention initial reluctance on part of the Air Chief but this is at best hearsay and not based on any evidence.21 Such contradiction in professional opinion on air power matters goes to highlight the accurate description of the complexity in air warfare by Winston S Churchill during World War II. That the air warfare is one of the most complicated affair and difficult to understand even by the professionals. Therefore the need to be thoroughly air minded.

    The first phase of ground fighting lasted from Oct 20-24, 1962. Thereafter, Chinese having established themselves within the Indian territory used the lull period upto Nov 17 to build up a road from Towang to Bumla and restock themselves. During this period they would have been highly vulnerable to IAF. Even during the second phase of the ground war, from Nov 13 to 19, the Chinese would have been highly vulnerable to air power. On Nov 20, when Assam had been mentally surrendered to the Chinese by the Indian politicians, the Director Military Operations (Palit) in Army HQ was busy planning for further defence. Palit writes, “I again stressed the need for allowing the IAF to be committed to battle to provide air support for the ground forces but Sarin (Joint Secretary MoD) was still charry of committing the air arm to a ground support role before we had ensured air cover for north Indian cities. When I insisted he said that he would speak to Nehru once again on the subject”.22

    In final analysis the use of combat air power would have turned the tables on Chinese and the 1962 war could well have been a debacle for China.


    1. Niranjan Prasad, Major General, “The Fall of Towang – 1962 (Palit & Palit, 1/9 Shanti Niketan, New Delhi, 1981). p. 76. Also see, DK Palit, Major General, “War in High Himalaya” (Lancer International, New Delhi, 1991) p.224.
    2. BM Kaul, Lieutenant General, “The Untold Story”, (Allied Publishers, Bombay, 1967) p. 441.
    3. Bharat Karnad, “Nuclear Weapons & Indian Security - The Realist foundations of Strategy” (Macmillan India Ltd, New Delhi, 2000), p. 172.
    4. Jasjit Singh, Air Cmde, “Role of Air Power in India’s Defence”, a paper presented at conference on Air Power in India’s Security, New Delhi, Oct 2000.
    5. George K Tanham, “The Indian Air Force - Trends & Prospects (Vision Books, New Delhi, 1995), pp. 44-45.
    6. DK Palit, Major General, “War in High Himalaya” (Lancer International, New Delhi, 1991). pp166-168 & p. 180.
    7. Ibid, p. 224.
    8. Tanham, op. cit. pp. 44-45.
    9. Palit, op. cit. p. 375. Also see RD Pradhan’s, “Debacle to Revival” (Orient Longman, New Delhi, 1998), pp. 104-05.
    10. Information given by Air Marshal (Retd) S Raghavendran on 02 Dec 02.
    11. Ibid.
    12. Kaul, op. cit. p. 441.
    13. Ibid. p. 442.
    14. J. N. Dixit, “Indian Foreign Service – History and Challenge”, Konark Publishers, New Delhi, 2005. p. 99 and p.171.
    15. Pushpinder Singh, “The Air War that Never Was” article in Vayu magazine VII/92.
    16. Kaul, op. cit. p. 442.
    17. Pushpinder, op. cit. p.32
    18. Ministry of Defence Report of 1987, pp. 415-430.
    19. Kuldip Nayar, “Between the Lines”, (Allied Publishers, Bombay, 1969) p. 172.
    20. Pushpinder, op. cit. p. Vayu. p.33.
    21. Palit, op. cit. p. 211.
    22. Ibid. p. 341.

    About the Author
    Air Vice Marshal AK Tiwary, VSM, IAF, author of the book "Attrition in Air Warfare"
    Last edited by ajtr; 20-05-10 at 01:48 PM.
    Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon
    Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye....!!!!
    मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं,
    तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ....!!!!
    'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں
    تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے
    "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me."

  7. #52
    Veteran Member ajtr's Avatar
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    this declassified letter by a US diplomat on india's weaknesses vis-a-vis China in 1962 is an interesting read... What is amazing is that the letter, written in 1962.

    Letter from India

    July 17, 1962

    Alan Carlin

    Submitted by
    Albert Wohlstetter


    November 19, 1962

    The following is the text of a letter received from Alan Carlin dated July 17, 1962, in which he relates a discussion with B.K. Desai of the Democratic Research Center, Bombay, India, which took place earlier in the summer. The letter also contains observations by Carlin relating to Chinese expansion which may be of interest at this time in view of the Sino-Indian conflict.
    Carlin has been a consultant to the Economics Department, where he has done work in systems analysis on their summer programs. He has a degree in Physics from Cal Tech and is finishing his doctorate in Economics at M.I.T. He is presently on a Ford Foundation Fellowship concerned with economic aid to India.

    During a recent trip to Bombay I went to see B. K. Desai. In outline, this is what he had to say:
    The China section of the Ministry of External Affairs is dominated by a pro-Chinese group of which R. K. Nehru is a leading member. The Indian policy regarding China is based on a continuing belief that China does not want war (since Communism, according to Nehru, does not imply violence or expansionism),[1] the pacifist fear that even if she does, such a war might develop into a major one, and the hope that the Russians would come to the rescue if worse came to worse. Until such time as this pro-Chinese group may be removed from the Ministry, no serious policy planning is likely to take place. The main obsession continues to be Pakistan, especially on the part of Menon.

    India's favorable policy towards China dates from the early days of the Chinese Communist Revolution and the favorable attitude of India's then Ambassador to China, K. M. Panikkar, who may also have been largely responsible for Nehru's decision to recognize Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. His daughter, according to Desai, is married to a leading Communist labor leader.

    Chinese aggression against India commenced within three months after the signing of the 1954 Indo-Chinese Treaty. The Army favored resistance, but was overruled by Menon who insisted that Pakistan was the real enemy. Desai claimed that supplies were deliberately withheld from Indian troops in the affected areas and that they were ordered not to retaliate. There was considerable unhappiness about this in the Army, and even open rebellion once or twice. Menon, he said, went to Ladakh personally two years ago to quiet such a rebellion.

    The Army is confident that it could stop the Chinese if it were ordered to do so, but they have received no special training or equipment for mountain warfare, according to Desai. Helicopters were purchased from Russia, but were found to be unsuitable for high altitudes. Russian pilots were used for training purposes, however, and were allowed to fly over the strategic areas.

    The guerrilla struggle continues in Tibet, where the Chinese are training Indian guerrillas, but no similar action has been taken by the Indians.

    Desai is primarily concerned about the possibility that Menon may become the next Prime Minister, and he places the odds at 50-50. Menon is trying to create favorable cliques in the Army. After Nehru, he might try salami tactics against a divided opposition within the Congress Party, using the threat of Chinese intervention to aid him.

    Desai regards American diplomats in India as stupid ("unimaginative" to me) on the whole for failing to realize the Menon threat, and says that I am the first American other than A. M. Rosenthal to contact the Democratic Research Service.

    Desai was sufficiently convincing that I decided to pursue some of the questions he had raised with several prominent but pro-American Indians. My conclusions are as follows:

    Menon should be regarded as a potential quisling if given power.[2] There is little chance of this, however, unless there is a significant leftward movement in the next few years. Nevertheless there are at least two possible ways in which it might occur:

    (1) Through a military coup. There is a fellow-traveler approximately number five or six in the Army command (one B. Kaul), who could be elevated to Chief of Staff with Nehru's backing. But there is considerable opposition to Menon in the Army so that even then, large factions would probably disobey orders at the critical moment.

    (2) Constitutionally. This is somewhat more likely, but Menon's following in the Congress parliamentary delegation amounts to less than ten, and even they would desert him if he appeared to be losing. It could only occur if Menon had Nehru's firm backing and if the opposition had been previously softened by the removal of the stronger anti-Menon elements (centered around Finance Minister Desai) in the Cabinet and the installation of Kaul. Even then, Chinese pressure might also be needed.

    Thus it all depends on Nehru. Some intelligent, sensible men who know him personally feel that he favors a Communist regime as a successor, and dislikes only Communism's reliance on force and violence. Faced with an alternative between the increasingly polarized right (which he supposedly regards as reactionary) and left wings of the Party, he will choose the latter, these men argue. Others, basically pro-Nehru, stress that he has said that he will not name a successor, and that he will keep to his word.

    It is my judgment that Menon does not present an immediate danger; that some sensible men think so is to me an illustration of the basic distrust with which every Indian seems to regard every other Indian. It is obvious, however, that Menon's power is increasing and that the situation bears watching. Further, if one accepts the Desai thesis, the MIG deal can be regarded as a first step in the softening-up process.

    I have found no confirmation of Desai's statement that there has been any kind of open rebellion in the Indian Army: morale is apparently low, however, as a result of the political maneuvering. I understand that India has had some troops trained for mountain warfare since British times; there is supposed to be a mountain warfare school in Gulmarg, Kashmir.

    It would seem to me that effective Indian defense against the Chinese requires three military capabilities:

    (1) Sufficient lightly equipped and highly mobile mountain troops to check Chinese expansion in the Himalayas by taking advantage of the terrain and the natural advantages this has for the defense if properly exploited. Present orders apparently do not permit active resistance, but even if they did, India may not be able to furnish supplies for a sufficient number of troops because of the limited food resources of the Himalayas, the inadequate roads, and the limitations of her military air transport service. The troops now stationed in Ladakh, for example, appear to be supplied largely from the air. The vulnerability of such air-dependent troops to the potential Chinese air-superiority would seem to be considerable. Interestingly enough, the Chinese are reported to be building a military airfield in Western Tibet and to be laying an oil pipeline to it from Sinkiang which runs partially through formerly Indian held parts of Ladakh!

    (2) Sufficient heavily armored, motorized troops on the Indian plains to check any Chinese units which manage to break through the Himalayas. The Indian effort along these lines is of course limited by her shortage of foreign exchange since most of the equipment needed must be imported. The needs might not be too great, however, if (1) is adequate because of the extreme difficulty the Chinese would have in bringing in and supplying such equipment themselves, despite their apparent assiduous attention to the construction of roads and airfields.

    (3) Enough trained guerrilla units to harass China's vulnerable lines of communication through Sinkiang and Tibet, and to tie down large numbers of Chinese troops in these areas and in Chinese occupied portions of India. Tibetan refugees and others who have suffered at the hands of the Chinese should be quite willing. The principal problem seems to be lack of interest on the part of the present Indian Government. Anti-guerrilla forces may also be needed in Indian-held border areas in the future.

    A former Chief of the Indian Army Staff has recently written that in his opinion India is deficient in all three of these capabilities in relation to the Chinese threat. There are also reports that shortages of even the most basic weapons, equipment, and supplies were revealed during the recent Goon episode.

    If this is a correct assessment of the military needs of Pakistan for fighting the Russians and Chinese as well, I wonder to what extent U.S. aid to Pakistan has reflected these needs, and to what extent it has reflected Pakistan's interests in preventing internal revolutions and in fighting India? How quickly and how well could the U.S. supply India's deficiencies in case the Chinese launch a major offensive and the U.S. decided to bail her out?

    I have recently come across a most unusual little paperback published here in Delhi called The Chinese Aggression by a Dr. Satyanarayan Sinha. It makes the following major points:

    (1) The first is of the first importance if true; I shall quote from the book:

    "In the spring of 1960 Indian and Nepalese nationals returning home from Chinese-occupied areas reported heavy concentrations [sic] of troops right across some of the most strategic parts of the Indian border....Roughly assessed, there were more than a hundred thousand Chinese troops, suitably armed for Alpine warfare, in southern Tibet alone, having Yatung (in the Chumbi Valley east of Sikkim) as their most important divisional headquarters. Close observations disclosed that the Chinese were getting ready for a large-scale offensive towards Indian territory....At this stage, in March 1960, a large number of revolts against the Chinese occupying forces flared up in several parts of Sinkiang. The long vulnerable line of communications of the Chinese forces stretching from northwest China to the northern borders of India snapped in a number of places. These breaches created by the Sinkiangese guerrilla nationalist forces, instigated and supported by Russian men and weapons, upset the whole plan of the Chinese attack on India." (pp. 42 and 43)
    Sinha quotes a Russian Kazakh as follows:

    "'In the spring of 1960, all was set for a large-scale Chinese offensive on Indian borders. We have reliable information that such a Chinese attack would have fallen on India unexpected [sic] and as a complete surprise to you. Our Central Asian Soviet Intelligence was the only outside agency which understood the international gravity and the consequent results of the war moves of the Chinese.... Three years ago practically all our military supplies to China were carried by our Trans-Siberian Railways. After the establishment of the eastern Cominform in Peking in 1957, the Chinese began to take delivery of their military supplies at the Turk-Sib railway bordering Sinkiang. It made their intentions quite clear....(p. 48.'"
    "'The equipment for ten divisions, to be delivered to China on Soviet-Sinkiang border, would have strengthened the Chinese position there, thus proving detrimental to Soviet interests. For this reason, our leaders in the Kremlin abruptly decided in March 1960 to stop all deliveries of military equipment to the Chinese in Sinkiang immediately. This came as a bombshell for Russo-Soviet relations. No amount of summit talks between the two countries can restore the old ties....(p. 49).'"
    "'India too will have to remain awake to such threats to her borders from the Chinese side. It was just by coincidence that the Soviet Union in its own interests realised the urgency and took measures to stop the Chinese advance, planned to cut deep into the Indian borders....(p. 50).'"
    "'Provoking successful revolts in Sinkiang may not prove enough to stop their onward march. Ultimately we shall have to think of stumping their spearhead....(pp. 50-51).'"
    "'It would have been much simpler had India helped us in our efforts to smash the war-craze of the Chinese. But we shall not wait for that help. Our Soviet experts have explored the trans-Himalayan regions as advisers to the Chinese. The chances are that we shall be able to coordinate the Tibetan revolt with that of Sinkiang. Without achieving this aim we do not consider our Soviet eastern border to be safe from the Chinese threats (p. 51).'"

    (2) The primary reasons why the Chinese did not launch a major offensive against India in 1961 were the famine at home and the immense physical difficulties of maintaining their supply lines through the desserts of the Tarim Basin of Sinkiang and the cold of the Himalayas, according to Sinha. This is probably largely speculation on his part.
    (3) Sinha believes that India is most vulnerable to a Chinese advance from the Chumbi Valley over Natula Pass into Sikkim, as you suspected. He says that the Indians have partially handed over the absolute control which the British maintained over this and several other strategic passes to the Chinese. He also regards Shipki Pass on the border of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and the route provided by the Arun River near Mt. Everest as strategically important.

    (4) China is vulnerable to an attack on her Sinkiang bases, especially at Kashgar. Unfortunately for India this is best approached through Pakistan-held Kashmir.

    (5) The Ladakh border, according to Sinha, was virtually unguarded until 1960 because the Indians were concentrating their attention on the more likely trouble spots further south -- hence the Chinese were able to build a road and in 1959 take considerable territory without interference.

    Freedom First ( per year in India; The Democratic Research Service, 127 Mahatma Gandhi Road, Bombay 1) is a monthly bulletin of some interest. For keeping up on Asian politics and economics I recommend the Far Eastern Economic Review ($25 per year by air; 209 Windsor House, Hong Kong), published weekly. For Indian affairs, The Economic Weekly ($6 per year by sea; 65 Apollo Street, Fort, Bombay) is a must. I have recently been reading a book by Emil Lengyel called The Changing Middle East, (John Day, New York, 1960) which gives an excellent but brief summary of the political situation in each Middle Eastern country during the 1950's, although I cannot say as much of his more general conclusions. As I recall, the RAND Library did not have The Economic Weekly when I was last there.

    I will try to check out Sinha's thesis and to gather further information during the next few weeks. I am sending two copies of "India, Tibet, and China" under separate cover.

    It looks as if I am becoming more interested in military affairs in this part of the world.

    [1] G. K. Desai, "Dilemma of Mr. Nehru," Freedom First, October, 1959, No. 89.
    [2] "Case of Comrade Krishna Menon," by "Democrat," Freedom First, October, 1959.
    Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon
    Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye....!!!!
    मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं,
    तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ....!!!!
    'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں
    تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے
    "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me."

  8. #53
    CHINI EXPERT Armand2REP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badguy2000 View Post
    India had no chance to win a war against China in 1962 at all.

    With the soviet helt, CHina set up a consolidated industry base with full indutry chains during 1953-1958. In 1959, CHina already had most of its weapons indeginized completely ,from cannon,gun,tank,trucks to jet plane..

    If india-sino war took place in mid 1950 before CHinese industry base was completed,India should have more chance to win.
    India could have held off the invasion if they had taken the Chinese threat seriously. There was no air-power used in the war neither were tanks a big part of it. It was infantry slugging it out with guns and artillery. India was not prepared, wholly outnumbered and didn't bother sending reinforcements. China in 1962 was in no position to wage a war across the sub-continent. Its military production was cottage industry, a serious joke of mass production. It had no border infrastructure yet built and it had just come out of the 3 years disasters of Mao's Great Leap Backwards. China waited until the USSR was embroiled with conflict with the West to strike. If the Soviet had taken action against China, CCP would have collapsed in a matter of months. Mao attacked to reinstall confidence to the people after he made them suffer so much. A perfect little limited war was exactly what he needed.

  9. #54
    Elite Member Iamanidiot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armand2REP View Post
    India could have held off the invasion if they had taken the Chinese threat seriously. There was no air-power used in the war neither were tanks a big part of it. It was infantry slugging it out with guns and artillery. India was not prepared, wholly outnumbered and didn't bother sending reinforcements. China in 1962 was in no position to wage a war across the sub-continent. Its military production was cottage industry, a serious joke of mass production. It had no border infrastructure yet built and it had just come out of the 3 years disasters of Mao's Great Leap Backwards. China waited until the USSR was embroiled with conflict with the West to strike. If the Soviet had taken action against China, CCP would have collapsed in a matter of months. Mao attacked to reinstall confidence to the people after he made them suffer so much. A perfect little limited war was exactly what he needed.
    Armand the chinese are using this premise to define the War Zone Campaign which is based on built up stocks in a theatre isolate and annihilate the enemy in the area of its choosing . will it be useful again in the indian scenario .How do you rate the PLA when compared to the InA(discipline and army efficiency)
    Last edited by Iamanidiot; 22-05-10 at 10:13 AM.

  10. #55
    CHINI EXPERT Armand2REP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPraveen View Post
    Armand the chinese are using this premise to define the War Zone Campaign which is based on built up stocks in a theatre will it be useful again in a scenario again.How do you rate the PLA when compared to the InA
    A 2nd Border War, China has a vast infrastructure in place now. Far greater than India. They have been preparing for a conflict for the last twenty years while GoI argues over environmental impacts of roads. PLA can move vast amounts of men and materiel as well as a quick set up of a large portion of PLAAF. Indian forces in the area would be quickly overwhelmed just as it was in 1962 if steps are not taken to counter that build up. Road, rail, and airbases need to be built at an astounding rate.

  11. #56
    Senior Member amoy's Avatar
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    China in 1962 was in no position to wage a war across the sub-continent. Its military production was cottage industry, a serious joke of mass production. It had no border infrastructure yet built and it had just come out of the 3 years disasters of Mao's Great Leap Backwards. China waited until the USSR was embroiled with conflict with the West to strike. If the Soviet had taken action against China, CCP would have collapsed in a matter of months. Mao attacked to reinstall confidence to the people after he made them suffer so much. A perfect little limited war was exactly what he needed.

    ============ unquote ============================

    1) by 1962 China hadn't broken away from Soviet Bloc yet. In fact Khrushchev's pro-Ind stance on Sino-Ind conflict was one of factors for which Mao was determined to quit the Bloc completely afterwards.

    2) Is it true China was bullying (or betraying) India and won the war by attacking India by surprise ? Or the true story shall be told that Ind (Nehru) was pushing forward so hard on China to squeeze as much territory as possible that China had to fight back despite Ind had both Soviet and West 's support at that time. But u are absolutely right - a little LIMITED war to stop Ind from 'going forward'.

    3) just compare military 'guts' and 'experience' - Chinese veterans had weathered anti-Japanese war, domestic war, and Korean War, while Indian force was simply inherited from British colonial rule...

    4) your conspiracy theory that Chairmao Mao as a tyrant needed a war to divert internal attention is nothing but cliche. by the way as u admit China has evolved from 'no infrastures' or 'cottage industry' in 1962 to ' a vast infratructure in place... far greater than India' this is evidence of Mao and his comrades (CCP)'s feats in transforming the country.
    Last edited by amoy; 22-05-10 at 02:04 PM.

  12. #57
    CHINI EXPERT Armand2REP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohimalaya View Post

    1) by 1962 China hadn't broken away from Soviet Bloc yet. In fact Khrushchev's pro-Ind stance on Sino-Ind conflict was one of factors for which Mao was determined to quit the Bloc completely afterwards.
    The Sino-Soviet split had begun well before the 1962 border war. It started in 1959 and Khrushchev did not support the Sino invasion. If the war had escalated you would have been overrun by the Red Army.

    2) Is it true China was bullying (or betraying) India and won the war by attacking India by surprise ? Or the true story shall be told that Ind (Nehru) was pushing forward so hard on China to squeeze as much territory as possible that China had to fight back despite Ind had both Soviet and West 's support at that time. But u are absolutely right - a little LIMITED war to stop Ind from 'going forward'.
    Nehru was pushing hard with two divisions while you had a couple Field Armies? Who was pushing who?

    3) just compare military 'guts' and 'experience' - Chinese veterans had weathered anti-Japanese war, domestic war, and Korean War, while Indian force was simply inherited from British colonial rule...
    Chinese didn't acquit themselves well in those prior wars. It was sheer numbers of cannon fodder charging the lines. Inheriting a military from British rule... you mean the same Brittons that had embarrassed you for the previous century and supplied you to expel Japan?

    4) your conspiracy theory that Chairmao Mao as a tyrant needed a war to divert internal attention is nothing but cliche. by the way as u admit China has evolved from 'no infrastures' or 'cottage industry' in 1962 to ' a vast infratructure in place... far greater than India' this is evidence of Mao and his comrades (CCP)'s feats in transforming the country.
    It is a well known fact Chairman Mao was a tyrant who was responsible for the death of 30 million people and the inflicted suffering of the entire population. He needed a moral boost and got it with the war. BTW, I admit infrastructure as in roads, rail, bridges, airstrips. The cottage industry was in reference to the MIC which still has remnants today. Mao didn't transform anything, he set you back 30 years.... it was Deng.

  13. #58
    Senior Member amoy's Avatar
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    I don't see your logic

    1) by 1962 the rift hadn't escalated to a total breakaway. Red Army would have fought for Ind? Or your wishful thinking?

    2) two divisions ? that might support your point that Ind was well prepared then. but Nehru may still have overestimated Ind while underestimated China's determination to fight back.

    Besides on one hand u mentioned 'the cottage industry' of China (feeble). On the other hand u acknowledged the power of 'a couple Field Armies' (aggressor?)?? ah ha, thanks for a good contrast.

    3) what do u mean? - my point is - a war-steeled force ( China) vs. Ind force of a colonial tradition
    again u tried to belittle those soliders as 'sheer numbers ... charging the lines' in Himalyan mountains

    3) Mao laid down the ground work. Then Deng on that basis advanced. Rome wasn't built overnight. Your tyrant theory is a consequence of superfacial study or propaganda

    All in all your French flag didn't help u stand on top of the past war neutrally and objectively
    Last edited by amoy; 22-05-10 at 04:04 PM.

  14. #59
    CHINI EXPERT Armand2REP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ohimalaya View Post
    I don't see your logic

    1) by 1962 the rift hadn't escalated to a total breakaway
    Which would mean USSR would have had no problem invading China.

    2) two divisions ? that might support your point that Ind was well prepared then. but Nehru may still have overestimated Ind while underestimated China's determination to fight back.
    India was outnumbered 10:1. China's determination to take it was far greater.

    Besides on one hand u mentioned 'the cottage industry' of China (feeble). On the other hand u acknowledged the power of 'a couple Field Armies' (aggressor?)?? ah ha, thanks for a good contrast.
    In regards to the MIC, a Chinese field army in 1962 was a bunch of starving peasants.

    3) what do u mean? - my point is - a war-steeled force ( China) vs. Ind force of a colonial tradition
    again u tried to belittle those soliders as 'sheer numbers ... charging the lines' in Himalyan mountains
    I mean PLA tactics well into the 1980s was nothing but mass suicide charges. Chinese casualty figures in WWII, Korea, Vietnam were horrendous. They overwhelmed a much smaller Indian force with sheer numbers as they always try.

    3) Mao laid down the ground work. Then Deng on that basis advanced. Rome wasn't built overnight. Your tyrant theory is a consequence of superfacial study or propaganda
    Mao laid down the disaster, Deng fixed his mistake.

    All in all your French flag didn't help u stand on top of the past war neutrally and objectively
    You think your lack of a flag hides who you are? We know you are a Maoist.

  15. #60
    Senior Member amoy's Avatar
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    Maoist is a good label for me since I hold Mao in great reverence and recognize his contributions.

    All I ask of is NEUTRALITY

    Lack of neutrality has driven u to a WISHFUL thinking such as
    - Soviet Red Army would have fought for Ind
    - a China of cottage industry could have initiated aggression while Nehru was innocently deceived
    - and Chinese soliders were a bunch of starving peasants but won the battle by 'mass suicide charges' (have u seriously studied the death/casualty number of that Sino-Ind conflict?)
    - Mao laid down disaster?? then China rebounded all of a sudden?

    Do I have to paste all your self contradictions here. As a '3rd party' (neither Ind nor Chinois) would u at least show some impartiality??!!

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