50th Anniversary of China's 1962 invasion : Lasting Lessons

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by Singh, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    The lasting lesson of 1962



    As the 50th anniversary year of China’s 1962 invasion, 2012 should serve as a time of reflection on what lessons that attack still holds for India. Deception and surprise are enduring elements in Chinese strategy, and 1962 was a classic example.

    Integral to deception is taking an opponent by surprise, as emphasized in Sun Tzu’s Art of War some 2,500 years ago. Since the Communists came to power, China has been involved in the largest number of military conflicts in Asia. In all these conflicts, Chinese forces struck with no forewarning.

    Indeed, a 2010 Pentagon report points out that China has repeatedly carried out military pre-emption in the name of defense: in 1950 (Tibet invasion, followed immediately by entry into Korean War), 1962, the 1969 border conflict with the Soviet Union, and the 1979 attack on Vietnam. According to the report, “The history of modern Chinese warfare provides numerous case studies in which China’s leaders have claimed military pre-emption as a strategically defensive act.” China’s seizure of the Paracel Islands from Vietnam in 1974 was another example of offense as defense.

    The 1962 attack — justified as a defensive act by Beijing, which used Nehru’s unguarded remarks (“our instructions are to free our territory”) to brand India the aggressor — stands out for China’s masterly blending of deception and surprise. The invasion, mounted from two separate fronts, caught India off guard. The “stab-in-the-back” was best summed up by Nehru, who told the nation that “a powerful and unscrupulous opponent, not caring for peace or peaceful methods” had returned “evil for good.”

    The aggression was cleverly planned and timed. It coincided with the start of the Cuban missile crisis, which put the Soviet Union and the U.S. on the edge of a nuclear Armageddon. And the very day the U.S. quarantine of Cuba was lifted, easing the Cuban missile crisis, China ceased its 32-day aggression against India. The cunning timing — just when global attention was focused on averting a nuclear catastrophe — ensured that India received no outside help.

    The deception began much earlier. One example was Premier Zhou En-lai’s 1960 New Delhi visit, during which he dangled the carrot of a border settlement without putting his money where his mouth was. Of course, it didn’t take much effort to trick the Indians, who had convinced themselves that by merely signing the 1954 Panchsheel Agreement, they had bought peace with China. It took a war humiliation for India to wake up to the reality that a nation can get peace only if it is able to defend peace.

    Today, as part of its larger game of deception, China identifies Taiwan as the primary focus of its defence strategy. That is to divert international attention from its single-mindedness on achieving broader military goals. Taiwan serves metaphorically as a red carpet on which to invite all the bulls while Beijing busily seeks to accomplish bigger tasks.

    If the countries around India have become battlegrounds for China’s moves to encircle India, it is because Beijing heeds Sun Tzu’s counsel: “Contain an adversary through the leverage of having made its neighbourhood hostile.”

    China employs deception to also camouflage its refusal to accept the territorial status quo with several of its neighbours. It is disturbing the status quo even on cross-border river flows. The insistence on changing the status quo, coupled with its strategic opacity and penchant to take an adversary by surprise, only increases the unease in Asia over its rise.

    As long as the territorial status quo is not accepted, the possibility that the Chinese military will strike again cannot be ruled out. Manmohan Singh’s emphatic statement in the Lok Sabha last month that “China will not attack India” thus seems more than gratuitous. Disturbingly, the more timorous Singh has been, the more belligerent China has become.

    India needs to counter the asymmetrical capabilities China is fashioning to take an adversary by surprise. Its anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, for example, are being designed to “shock and awe” in space. China is already waging a quiet cyber-war, as if to underscore its ability to sabotage vital infrastructure in wartime. Moreover, its military is developing a blitzkrieg approach to warfare: a surprise blitz will seek to stun, confound and overwhelm an opponent.

    The lasting lesson of 1962 is that India must be ready to repulse any kind of attack, including by undercutting the aggressor where it is the weakest. Otherwise, China’s Achilles’ heel — Tibet — will become a stronger launch-pad for aggressive acts.


    The lasting lesson of 1962 | Stagecraft and Statecraft
     
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  3. Virendra

    Virendra Moderator Moderator

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    Expect this to be a year long action thread. Subscribed :)
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    What were the lessons?

    What has the political learnt?
     
  5. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Sir, the biggest lesson they have lear'nt is that Krishna Menon was wrong when he and Nehru said that no Armed Forces were required and that the nation could be defended by the Police.

    However, the above article has some basic flaws in the concept.
    Words used to the effect - "Deception" and "surprise" the only decception was in identifying the road construction in 1955 in Aksai Chin. There after what did we do. Hide it from the nation. So it was the nation that was decieved by Nehru and Krishna Menon, not the Chinese.

    Nehru, went about appeasing the Chinese, instead of addressing the issue in an assertive manner.

    If our intelligence was weak, then how would we get forewarning?

    If Nehru and Krishna Menon decide the location of troop deployment and ASC officers are made formation commanders because they are Nehru's boot lickers, then it is the nation who is decieved by the political heads.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Lemontree,

    I could not agree more with you!

    But have the politicians learnt a sausage from 1962?
     
  7. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Importance of Aksai Chin road to the Chinese.

    Aksai Chin road links Tibet to another troubled province - Xingjiang. Xingjiang is troubles by a restive muslim population and its demands for an independent East Turkmenistan.

    Strategic importance of Xingjiang: Borders 8 foreign countries, thereby giving China land routes for trade towards eastern europe.

    China is obviously nervous about our capabilities and what we can do in the Aksai Chin region as the road is a major communication asset for the PLA.
     
  8. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    The lessons learnt;



    Deception and surprise are enduring elements in Chinese strategy, and 1962 was a classic example.

    Since the Communists came to power, China has been involved in the largest number of military conflicts in Asia. In all these conflicts, Chinese forces struck with no forewarning.

    The invasion, mounted from two separate fronts, caught India off guard. The “stab-in-the-back” was best summed up by Nehru,

    It coincided with the start of the Cuban missile crisis, which put the Soviet Union and the U.S. on the edge of a nuclear Armageddon. And the very day the U.S. quarantine of Cuba was lifted, easing the Cuban missile crisis, China ceased its 32-day aggression against India.

    Premier Zhou En-lai’s 1960 New Delhi visit, during which he dangled the carrot of a border settlement without putting his money where his mouth was (treachery).

    “Contain an adversary through the leverage of having made its neighbourhood hostile.”

    USE shock and awe

    The lasting lesson of 1962 is that India must be ready to repulse any kind of attack, including by undercutting the aggressor where it is the weakest. Otherwise, China’s Achilles’ heel — Tibet — will become a stronger launch-pad for aggressive acts.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2012
  9. lemontree

    lemontree Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Yes sir, they have - keep strong Army / Corps commanders but keep weak a COAS.
    They are following this to the T.
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    :rofl:

    I had a chat yesterday with your Regt chap! ;)

    The politicians are really ruining the Army.
     

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