Ashdoc's account of the 1962 India-China war

Discussion in 'Military History' started by ashdoc, May 5, 2012.

  1. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    Originally written for echarcha.com in 2009 .
     
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  3. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    How the war started---

    it came about because the british and the chinese had left the frontier unmarked in the earlier stages of the colonial era.

    actually arunachal pradesh was under tibetian influence for centuries.

    at first the british accepted it.but in 1914 they unilaterally expanded into it by declaring the macmohan line as the frontier of india,bringing arunachal pradesh and the famous tibetian monastory of tawang into india.

    this was not acceptable to both the tibetians or the chinese emperor who claimed suzarainity over tibet. when tibet was occupied by communist china they naturally claimed arunachal -calling it southern tibet.giving it up would have been a massive human rights tragedy , however as the population of arunachal detested china and felt safe in secular india.surely giving it up would have been throwing it to the chinese wolves.

    matters became further complicated when china also claimed aksai chin a part of kashmir in the northeast tip of ladakh.the reason for this was that it wanted to build a highway through it linking tibet and sinkiang ,actually eastern turkestan ,another region perpetualy in revolt against china. this highway could not be built through the common border of the two provinces as the impassable kunlun mountains are on that border . so chinese built it through india!!!

    the indian govt had never sent an expedition to uninhabited aksai chin, and did not know that china had occupied it at all.k m pannikar nehrus friend , ambassador to china and sinophile was happily singing hindi chini bhai bhai when this was happening.

    india received a rude shock when a chinese magazine truimphantly proclaimed
    completion of the highway and posted photoes of it calling it a engineering marvel in the high himalayas.

    india now began to send expedition s in that region. this led to clashes with chinese troops. slowly the intensity of the clashes increased.

    diplomatically , the chinese offered a solution- you give up aksai chin, we will give up arunachal - thus trading indian territory for indian territory.india refused.

    the clashes on the border became more frequent. matters came to a head when indians started patrolling the macmohan line in arunachal which it had not earlier.the chinese govt decided to teach india a lesson it would never forget.

    it overran arunachal in the war.but returned back to its original position giving arunachal back to india- offering the same 'magnanimous' solution- you give up aksai , we will give up our claim on arunachal.
    secretly the indian govt was inclined to aceppt the solution as aksai was uninhabited and useless while the population of arunachal wanted desperately to remain in india.but the jana sangh promised to raised hell over it as it was national territory.

    so the problem remains.......

    according to colonel anil athlye the military supplies to chinese troops in tibet came through calcutta!!! tibet did not have any roads and was virtually impassable due to high mountains. the chinese govt had signed an agreement with india to route civilian supplies to tibet through calcutta which would come by sea from mainland china and then through calcutta to sikkim to tibet. once the agreement was signed nobody in india bothered to check if the supplies were military or civilian.the chiinese happily continued their military build up in tibet to attack india by passing supplies in carefully sealed boxes through calcatta and then through the nathu la pass in sikkim to tibet.
     
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  4. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    Actual fighting---

    these details i have taken from neville maxwells -INDIAS CHINA WAR.
    one word of caution though- dont read the book! neville is a british communist and and everything he writes is pro china. i almost got convinced of the chinese case myself!

    once the reports started coming out of the newspapers of china having built a highway through indian territory in aksai chin,the indian govt was awoken from its dreamworld of india china bhai bhai.

    jana sangh raised hell in parlament about the neglect of national security which had led to this lapse.

    the nehru govt was compelled to send patrols in to aksai chin.initially they met with some success.

    this was the pattern . some forty of our soldiers would establish a post inside chinese occupied territory.the chinese would confront it and an eyeball to eyeball confrontation would take place between the two forces. some time later the chinese would back down. the chinese had obviously not been given the order to attack our soildiers.this happened several times.

    the nehru govt-fresh from its success in kicking out the portugese form goa felt it could achieve a similar success in kicking out the chinese . nehru felling a false sense of bravado talked in parlament of ''throwing them out back where they came from.''

    as indians inched closer to the highway the confrontations led to actual clashes.

    the govt took the decision to patrol the macmohan line in arunachal, what the chinese called the line of control.

    the problem arose when indians decided to patrol thagla ridge at the western tip of arunachal . here the macmohan line itself was disputed as the chinese felt that the line passed through the namka chu river to the south of it.

    the indians however decided to press their claim and deployed a brigade of troops under brigadier john dalvi onto the ridge.

    this finally angered the chinese to teach india a lesson.

    they attacked the indians on thagla ridge. the frontal assaults failed but the chinese had enormous numerical superiority.they captured the tsangle position on the flank which was less well defended and then attacked from the flank. soon the indians were forced to withdraw from the thagla ridge and retreat to the namka chu river.

    DRAGONNADE AT NAMKA CHU-

    the indians thought that the namka chu river position was safe as the chinese had accepted it as the line of control. the thagla ridge action had been a pure local action to remove them from disputed territory ,they thought.

    they were in for a shocker when the chinese made a full scale frontal assault on the position.. this time they used human wave tactics- that is wave after wave of chinese soildiers would attack the indians.when one wave was exhausted the second and then the third would attack - sometimes without weapons and picking up the weapons of their dead comrades on the way.

    the chinese obviously were carrying out a full scale invasion. certainly this was no impromptu decision and they had been preparing for war for years .
    dalvi watched the slaughter of his men helplessly.certainly they killed many more than they lost-human wave tactics are costly in terms of lives-but the chinese thuoght their soldiers expendable and had far more to lose.

    when all was lost dalvi tried to escape. he was caught and became among the first prisoners of war. he survived the war to write a highly emotional and personal account of the war-HIMALAYAN BLUNDER.

    the news stunned the nation.the immediate effect was to abandon the famous monastory of tawang as resistance in this part was thought to be hopeless.

    the experts advised to hold the position at bomdila-sound military advice as the position here was was far away from the chinese troops and by the time they came there the indians could have built massive supiriority. but that would mean abandoning a large part of arunachal to the invaders- politically inpossible to do.

    so it was decided to hold the se la pass nearer to the chinese, also bomdila far behind it and darang dzong in between them.

    the chinese decided not to carry out a frontal assault on se la. the instead found a route through the mountains called bailey trail- explored by britisher bailey a long time ago.

    they defeated the weak troops defending the trail and came up behind the sela pass and in between that position and bomdila.

    obviously sela had to be abandoned . but the senior officers began to pass the buck for taking this decision as it would mean the end of the carreer of the officer who ordered this retreat.

    at night it was decided to remove part of the force and keep the rest.this news led to collapse of morale at sela as the troops felt abandoned to their fate.
    the chinese quckly took advantage to capture it along with plenty prisoners.

    now the position at darang dzong came in danger, so a force was detached to defend it thereby weakening the position at bomdila.
    darang dzong was captured before the force could reach it and the force also was caught in the open on the road where they could shot at and was annihilated. the force at bomdila was too weak to defend its positon now and was defeated.

    at the eastern tip of arunachal the chinese attacked the strongly defended airstrip of walong . they were completely defeated and driven out sustaining heavy losses.the indians were stupid enough to take advantage of this to attack the heavily defended chinese positions and failed-taking heavy losses themselves.the chinese quicking attcked to capture walong- now there was not a singli indian soldier in NEFA- as arunachal was called then.

    in aksai chin the chinese drove out all the posts indians had established in the past few years.

    nehru became the laughing stock of the world in the very non aligned summits where he once strode like a collosus. he wasnt caring anyway- he used to spend his time slumbering in thse summits after the war.

    he was probably dreaming of the next world. his end was near........
     
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  5. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    postscript---

    postscript-

    after their victory the chinese gave the whole of arunachal back to india.the reason is not clearly established.

    maybe they just wanted to teach india a lesson and went back after proving their point.they had proved to the whole world who the power of asia was.

    in any case they didnt want arunachal . the strategically important territory was aksai chin which contains their all important highway for ferrying troops to and fro from xingjiang to tibet - both in revolt against china.

    maybe they really had a soft corner for nehru who had supported them to the hilt in every international forum and didnt want to see him humiliated any further.

    having gobbled up most of tibet they were not particularly keen on aggravating the international dispute with india and stretching relations beyond breaking point and bringing on a kashmir like situation by taking in population keen on remaining in india- thus closing all doors of compromise with india.

    having said that - the present chinese leadership certainly feels that the (actually) wise decision of the leadership at that time was a mistake.

    it is pressing the claim on arunachal in right earnest promising sops to the population of arunachal. it is to the credit of the arunachalis that inspite of this they want to further integrate with india- they are the only nonhindi state to have accepted hindi as the state language by their own free will.

    Jawaharlal motilal nehru died in 1964 with all his shattered dreams. many say he didnt die due to the war but due to his lifelong passion for women.
    the immediate cause of his death is said to be aortic aneurysm- that is ballooning of the aorta, the main blood vessel coming out from the heart because the walls of it have become weak and cant resist the pressure of the beats of the heart which cause the blood to flow in tremendous force.the walls become weak in a disease called syphlis - a sexually transmitted disease.eventually the walls burst and the blood explodes out. dont ask me if this is true .many people have told me so.

    the indian army reoccupied tawang in 1986. the chinese retaliated by occupying somdurong chu in arunachal.this time india prepared for full scale war buliding up its troops in full view of the chinese. the chinese chickened out and went back.

    today you can visit the beautiful monastory town of tawang situated in the high himalayas as a tourist.

    the chinese are building a railway to the border so that they can push troops rapidly to the border.

    so the tide of history goes on to which we are mere spectators......
     
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  6. ashdoc

    ashdoc Senior Member Senior Member

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    From the 1962 war archives---a tale of bravery and romance....


    where there is war there is legend

    and where there are the misty mountains there is romance.

    time to take off from the real issues of life to tell a story of bravery and romance......

    there was a handsome soldier of the indian army(they are always handsome in these stories) belonging to the rajputana rifles.his name was jaswant singh. he was posted in arunachal along with his battalion.

    two beautiful damsels with cheeks like roses (they are always beautiful in these stories), and who were sisters, set their lovely eyes on him one fine morning.they were arunachali girls and their names were sheila and noorie. they fell in love with him instantly!

    next day they proposed to him.''but young ladies'', he said in all modesty,'' i am a married man.''

    '' dont worry '' said the beauties '' we are ready to become your second and third wives.we will serve your wife like a elder sister.''

    the jawan however was not convinced.

    but the two decided to wean their way into his heart. every day they used to bring roti and sabzi, the jawans favourite food, for they had heard that the best way to a mans heart is through his stomach.

    and slowly but surely the jawan fell in love with both of them.every evening he used to spend time with them along the bank of the stream that flowed through the village.

    one day while he was doing this he saw all the men in his battalion running away for their lives. he and the sisters could not know why. all his comrades ran away.

    and then he saw hundreds of chinese soldiers coming. he immediately readied his rifle and took cover. the sisters followed him with the ammunition.

    with the sisters filling his magazine again and again he kept on firing from a concealed position. he killed 56 chinese this way.

    the chinese commander sent 12 men on a detour behind him and they succeeded capturing him alive. he was hanged by telephone wires and the two sisters tortured to death.his head was cut off after he died.

    after the war he was found missing and the army decided to intiate a court martial against him.the general who was incharge of the trail however saw jaswant in a dream at night. he was in full military regalia. he directed him to ask the truth to the chinese.

    the general enquired to the chinese side and sure enough- the true story came out.

    ever since then he is known as baba jaswant singh.a temple has been built in his honour.he is given posthumous promotions every few years. last heard this simple rifleman was a leutenant general of the indian army.

    every army man going to duty in the high mountains pays homage to the baba before going into the high mountains, by praying in his temple. even muslim soldiers of the indian army dont dare go forward without offering namaaz in the temple.

    few years ago a major general scoffed at this as superstitions and went ahead without praying at the babas temple. his helicopter crashed to death in the high himalayas....

    people belive that the baba goes every night on patrol in the mountains.
    every night new clothes are ironed and kept in the babas temple bfore the doors are closed. next day they are crumpled! the baba has worn them on his patrol in the mountains.soldiers of the army who are sleeping are liable to be whacked into alertness by the big stick the baba reportedly carries.

    the temple has become a major center for piligrimage for the common people of arunachal. as well as a major tourisr attraction.

    the common people belive that the next time the chinese army attacks them, the baba will swoop down the mountains to to mow down the enemy.

    that if the indian army ever abandons them , the baba never will.
    he is their ultimate defence against the almighty power of china, the hordes of the middle kingdom and the firepower of the dragon.

    hopeful stories maybe...

    but where there is hope there is life .

    nice to know that the arunachalis still have hope in an indian!
     
  7. sayareakd

    sayareakd Moderator Moderator

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    it looks like one side war and we are fighting local fire fight, so we are bound to loose, with such a political blunder. War is fought at our time and place of choice, when we are ready.
     
  8. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

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    1962 India-China war: Why India needed that jolt?

    The Sino-Indian War of 1962 is not a happy memory. It is remembered for the humiliation of India's total defeat, the betrayal of Hindi-Chini-Bhai-Bhai and the devastating personal blow it dealt Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. It left us minus large chunks of territory and an inability to admit this that has resulted in the ridiculous policy of having to stamp every book and magazine that does admit this with the assertion that they are incorrect.

    Also Read:
    A guide to politics, business, trade and trivia that define Indo-China relations

    From October 20 when the Chinese launched attacks in the west (Aksai Chin) and east (Northeast Frontier Agency, or Nefa, today's Arunachal Pradesh) till November 19 when Premier Zhou En-lai announced a unilateral ceasefire, the war lasted less than a month, yet ended an era.

    The taint of 1962 has coloured all its retellings, which have tended to be dominated by vested interests: army generals seeking to exculpate themselves, anti-Nehruvians revelling in his discomfiture, leftists trying to square their dilemma by justifying the Chinese action. Yet 50 years later it is time to look at it again and see if, in fact, its effects were as calamitous as they seemed at that time.

    Fractured Country

    Early 1962 saw India's third general election, which the Congress won easily. Yet the election was unsettlingly divisive, with old Congress stalwarts like JB Kripalani and C Rajagopalachari turning against the party. Kripalani's battle, in North Bombay, was particularly bruising, since it pitted him against VK Krishna Menon, the defence minister, whose arrogance, apparently impregnable closeness to Nehru and violent anti-Americanism had made him much disliked and distrusted both abroad and in India, including by many Congress colleagues. But Nehru threw his weight behind Menon's campaign and he won a sweeping victory.

    The election also brought to parliament the Akali Dal and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), new parties with troubling agendas. The Akalis wanted a Sikh majority state while the DMK wanted an even more ambitious Dravida Nadu to unite the southern states in some semblance of independence. Coming soon after the agitations that lead to linguistic states in 1956, and the division of Bombay into Gujarat and Maharashtra in 1960, and along with deep unrest in Nagaland, this raised the spectre of regional disintegration of India. The Congress response was to push the 16th Amendment which made it obligatory for public officials to swear allegiance to the Republic of India.

    The Communist Party of India (CPI) came second in the elections, with 29 seats to the Congress' 361. This made them the lead Opposition party, but also bought their internal divisions to the fore. Under the moderate and nationalist SA Dange the CPI had occasionally supported Nehru, but this policy was now strongly challenged by a hard-left faction lead by younger leaders like Jyoti Basu and Harkishan Singh Surjeet (ironically, both advocates of left moderation in later life). According to declassified CIA files on the CPI, another divisive issue was, prophetically, the Indo-China border, where the hard left voted to support the Chinese position.

    Debates, and More Debates

    This was at a meeting in 1961, which shows how one part of the mythology that has grown around the 1962 war, which is that it was a total surprise, is incorrect. In fact, the border dispute and the ongoing skirmishes linked to it had been the subject of much debate in the Indian parliament and media. Parties like the Jana Sangh, still in disrepute due to alleged links with the Hindu extremists who killed Gandhi, seized the nationalist card as a way to raise their profile — one ardent anti-China advocate was a young Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The media too, already charged by the Indian takeover of Goa in late 1961, was also inclined to be unyielding on the border.

    Ramachandra Guha, in his history of independent India, quotes Steve Hoffman's work which suggests that the Indian government's policy of dealing with an issue by producing white papers for debate was a constraint: "Had the border dispute remained private the prime minister could have used the quieter back-channels of diplomatic compromise." With parliament and media in full cry Nehru would have found it hard to do this, though this wasn't something the Chinese were inclined to appreciate. But even when private talks between Nehru and Chou took place in 1960 there was a basic difference in attitude which may have prevented a solution.

    The Chinese position all along was pragmatic: they wanted a route to Tibet through Aksai Chin and were not interested in whether the facts of history, in a region where this had always been unclear, supported them. Guha refers to secret records of the talks which show Chou stating, fairly clearly, that China would give up claims to Nefa in exchange for Aksai Chin. But Nehru insisted on defending the details of history, like the McMahon Line and historical texts that referred to the area. This may have been from consideration for public sentiment, or for the Dalai Lama who had taken refuge in India (another flashpoint for the Chinese), but it also possibly stemmed from his image of being a principled international statesman.

    Verbal Volleys

    Almost every account of modern international diplomacy admits to one feeling about Indian leaders: exasperation at how much they lectured the rest of the world. Nehru's high reputation meant that he was always listened to with real respect, but this was wearing thin, and his peremptory action in Goa raised charges of hypocrisy that were hard to duck. Even more, Menon's diatribes had annoyed people like the Americans beyond endurance.

    JK Galbraith, the American economist and ambassador to India during the crisis, put the matter neatly in his entertaining Ambassador's Journal: "Indians are the world's safest object of animosity." This was the downside of non-alignment: you had no effective supporters, since other non-aligned nations could or would only wring their hands and look away.

    And while its true that Nehru's non-alignment may have allowed for hopes of help from those friendly Russians, this is where the 1962 war falls into a historical coincidence often overlooked in India: it took place at exactly the same time as the Cuban missile crisis. Galbraith describes his confusion at having to deal with "a considerable war on my hands without a single telegram, letter, telephone call or other communication of guidance".

    At the Crossroads

    The Russians, who were at the losing end in Cuba, must have been even more at a loss, and were also constrained by the demands of international communist co-operation. It must have been a terrible shock to Menon when the Russian response finally came as just a general appeal to both sides to make piece, and no firm support of India. The Times of India headline "India Dismayed at Soviet Backing to Chinese" came on October 26, the day after one of the worst days of the war, when Tawang was captured.

    This was Galbraith's opportunity. He saw it as a way to subtly shift opinion in favour of the Americans, by providing aid in discreet, face-saving ways for Nehru. If there was one big gain from 1962 it was this — the acknowledgement of our common interests with the Americans. It helped that it went hand in hand with the discomfiture of the CPI. Caught between the Chinese sympathies of the hard left, and the fear of being labelled as Chinese agents, the CPI politburo simply came to a standstill, issuing no statement for days after the attack.

    But as Dange's side had foreseen, this was still disastrous. Because once the attacks began, public opinion burst out in support of the state. State-level CPI units, closer to ground realities, realised the danger and started condemning the invasion, not waiting for directions. This still didn't stop many communists from being arrested after a state of emergency was declared on October 26 — the first time the Indian government ever used this power, and the only time other than Indira Gandhi's emergency in 1975.

    The DMK was less equivocal. "When the country is in danger, for us to advocate separatism would be to give way to the foreigner," said its head CN Annadurai at a speech on Madras' Marina Beach, and the Dravida Nadu demand was permanently dropped, with the party focussing instead on resisting the imposition of Hindi. MG Ramachandran, the film star who was also the party's rising star, donated `75,000 to the National Defence Fund (NDF).

    The public feeling was overwhelming. Army recruitment centres were flooded with volunteers, and women took lessons in rifle practice. Bollywood was not far behind MGR: Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Meena Kumari gave `50,000 each. Women donated jewellery — led by Indira Gandhi, whose contribution, the Economic Times reported on November 2 weighed 336 grams. The All India Hotel and Halwai Federation announced donations of packets of sweets for the jawans, and race courses chipped in as well, with the Times reporting that a percentage of the tote would go to the NDF.

    Markets React

    ET was barely a year old then, but already firmly committed to opening up the economy. An edit on October 21 noted that the war was showing up the "grave deficiencies" of the Plan which had lead to a plateauing of industrial production just when the war was increasing demand all around, but, "there have already been indications that the private sector would be only too willing to play an effective role in the defence of the country".

    The stock market crashed, with the ET Ordinary Share Index falling from 121.6 points at the beginning of September to 108.1 on November 6, a day when stock exchanges suspended trading. But the ET Commodity Index stayed strong at around 116 points through that period, proving the dismal truth that, occasionally, wars can be good for the economy.

    Once it got over its humiliation, the army also benefited from the 1962 war. It was never entirely true that it was unprepared, but its resources were wrongly deployed, nearly all focussed on the Pakistani borders. Guha points out, in fact, that the Chinese border was technically not the army's responsibility, but that of the Intelligence Bureau, with armed support from paramilitary detachments like the Assam Rifles in the east and Central Reserve Police Force in the west.

    Chinese Chequers

    BK Nehru, India's ambassador in Washington, DC, discovered one consequence of this when the conflict broke out and he needed maps to help him figure out where the fighting was happening. But his military attaches told him Intelligence had classified the maps as confidential and they did not have clearance to see them: "I told them to go to National Geographic to buy the maps they wanted — which they did!"

    It was this sort of absurdity that 1962 ended. The Indian Army redeployed, reinvested in learning how to fight at high altitudes, and how to make best advantage of terrain.

    The army was perhaps driven by the knowledge that, bad as 1962 had been, it could have been far worse. For one, China-Pakistan relationships were still very nascent, and Ayub Khan, Pakistan's president, influenced by the British and Americans, resisted the temptation to join the attack, which would have meant war on all our borders.

    The second was the simple fact that, having got Aksai Chin, which was always their main interest, the Chinese almost scornfully handed Nefa back, retreating behind the McMahon Line (which they continued to describe as illegal). Brigadier JP Dalvi, the most senior officer taken prisoner, who would write the one blisteringly honest account in his Himalayan Blunder, recalled "the most humiliating moment of my 7-month captivity" when the Chinese major in charge of him informed him: "Now we have decided to go back as we do not want to settle the border problem by force. We have proved you are no match for mighty China."

    Whether we are or are not a match for China, we are certainly better prepared — and with less illusions — than we were then. Defeats can never be pleasant, but in 1962 at least, India suffered one from which, just possibly, the country might have become the long-term winner.

    (With inputs from Times Archives)

    1962 India-China war: Why India needed that jolt? - The Economic Times
     
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  9. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    Just think about how India would have been if not for 1962. Humiliating as it was, still, India is much better off thanks to that humiliation.

    Take it as a bitter medicine that got rid of many of the ills plaguing the nation. Nehru's penchant to be a statesman, regionalism/separatism, stopped Communists from being a serious party and not the least, the nonsense of the type of "Hindi Chini bhia bhai" was stopped for ever!

    1962 made India pragmatic. Or atleast, it got India on its way to pragmatism! :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2012
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  10. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    So, the pragmatism is still based on fictions such as Aksai Chin etc. was part of India, Nehru's "Forward Policy", or China backstabbing India?
     
  11. Tolaha

    Tolaha Senior Member Senior Member

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    For one, you don't see India calling another country as its "brother" like it referred to China. A good lesson to our leaders for the blind belief they had on another country!

    Whatever you refer to as the "Forward policy" was done long after the promises given by Chinese leaders and after a road constructed right through that territory. Aksai Chin being part of India would be far less of a fiction than a Tibet being part of China. If Tibet itself doesnt belong to China, then the question about Aksai Chin being a part of China does not arise.
     
  12. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    @amoy

    I heard lots about 'most of Aksai Chin', Post some map which shows China`s most of the Aksai chin..
     
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  13. roma

    roma NRI in Europe Senior Member

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    debating what happened way back in '62 is well and good - but while we look backwards ( some of you , i guess ) what about today's situation - are we failing to see that dragon is tempted to do it again ? - so instead of looking backwards , shouldnt we rather spend our efforts looking at the present and future - i.e our procurements are painfully slow, our indigenous manufacture is severely lacking if at all in progress ... pakfa project etc coming online only in in years ? we are under threat even now, so why look at the past ?
     
  14. arnabmit

    arnabmit Homo Communis Indus Senior Member

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    Hey! this is very similar to Baba Harbhajan Singh lore...

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    Captain "Baba" Harbhajan Singh (August 3, 1941 – October 4, 1968) (Punjabi: ਹਰਭਜਨ ਸਿੰਘ) was an Indian army soldier who died near the Nathula Pass in eastern Sikkim, India. He is revered by the soldiers of the Indian army, who have built a shrine in his honour. Baba is to have granted favours to the soldiers, and guard each one in the inhospitable terrain.

    Harbhajan Singh born into a Sikh family on August 3, 1941 in the village of Batthe Bhaini in Punjab (India). He completed his preliminary schooling at village school, and then did his matriculation from DAV High School in Patti in March 1955. In June 1956 he enrolled himself as a soldier in Amritsar and joined the Corps of Signals. On June 30, 1965 was granted a commission and posted to the 14 Rajput regiment. During the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war he served as an Adjutant of his unit. Later he was transferred to 18 Rajput. It was with this regiment that he met his end on October 4, 1965 in Sikkim.

    A shrine was built at his samādhi, at an elevation of around 4,000 metres (13,123 ft). According to army folklore, Baba is a stickler for discipline and is known to admonish those who do not toe this line. A camp bed is kept for him and his boots are polished and uniform kept ready every night. The sheets are reportedly crumpled every morning and boots muddy by evening. The Major continues to draw a salary and takes his annual leave.

    According to legend, Major Harbhajan Singh drowned in a glacier following the 1962 Sino-Indian War in 1968 while escorting a column of mules to a remote outpost. He was the first casualty of the 23rd Punjab Regiment, and a manhunt was launched to find him. He was found after three days and cremated with full military honours. According to legend, it was Major Harbhajan Singh who led the search party to his body, and later, through a dream, instructed one of his colleagues to build and maintain a shrine after him.

    Legend also has it that in the event of a war between India and China, Baba would warn the Indian soldiers three days in advance. During the flag meetings between the two nations at Nathula, the Chinese set a chair aside for the saint. Every year on September 14, a jeep departs with his personal belongings to the nearest railway station, New Jalpaiguri, where it is then sent by train to the village of Kuka, in Kapurthala district in Punjab. As per train rule the train reserved seat never left blank, but for Baba reservation is done to travel him at his home town every year with soldiers to drop Baba at his home town. A small sum is also sent to his mother each month.

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  15. amoy

    amoy Senior Member Senior Member

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    Tsangyang Gyatso
    One of greatest Chinese poets. Every educated can recite at least one of two lines of his poems.

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    Birthplace of 6th Dalai Lama, Urgelling Monastery, Tawang


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monpa_people

     

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