From: Gurvinder Singh < >
Understanding the Chinese invasion of India
A lesson on how to dismember a nation by, arrogance, incompetence, idiocy dereliction and sycophancy.
In late 1940s two sleeping giants began to stir awake, India and china.
In 1947 India’ leadership lay in the hands of a wealthy, suave, sophisticated, anglophile called Jawaharlal Nehru. Raised in the lap of luxury, Nehru was India’s first Prime Minister. Eloquent and idealistic in thought and manner, Nehru an arrogant and vain man.
Leadership of Communist China (PRC) on the other hand was firmly in the hands of Mao Tse-tung. Rising from a humble background, Mao become the leader after many violent struggles and great cunning.
The two leaders with their different but overpowering personalities went about building their countries in their own image.
Mao was in comparison to Nehru a peasant, and a bumpkin. Nehru who fancied himself a global sophisticate and diplomat, aspired to guide and lead China in a new world order. He envisioned that China and India would join to create a third block different from the Capitalistic American-West block and the Soviet led Communist block.
In Nehru’s mind, he would be first amongst equals in this partnership. So he began to woo China with little or no understanding of China, Chinese or global realities and nature of Mao and his team.
Fawning over them, Nehru pandered to every wish and demand of the Chinese.
This approach did not go down well with the Americans nor the Russians, who wanted to retain their global pre-eminence. They both wanted to pull China into their respective orbits of influence.
Both superpowers considered China very important and India insignificant. They had little or no expectations of India surviving as an independent nation.
For their great game of global dominance, America decided that an unbridgeable divide had to be created between the two traditionally friendly Asian giants, in which China would be supported and India would be sacrificed.
The view of the American establishment can be summed up by words of former American president Nixon ‘US had no sympathy for the kind of neutralism which draws no moral distinction between the Communist world and the free world.’
In the world of realpolitik strong nations and leaders seek respect and strategic control, not charm and to be liked. Nehru in his naivety, obtained no reciprocity from China for sacrificing India’s vital political, military and strategic interests.
The CIA in an attempt to sow distrust and fuel a conflict between India and China focussed on two fault lines in Sino-Indian relationships. These were, India’s suspected support for Tibet and dispute over ownership of territory on the Indo -Sino border.
Declassified KGB and CIA documents reveal that many leaders, bureaucrats of the era were corrupt and bought out at ridiculously low sums, Oleg Kalugin the Russian master spy remarked, “It seems the whole of India was up for sale.” The CIA was successful in creating a misinformation program that India was assisting Tibetan freedom fighters.
Both the Soviets and America had purchased the loyalty of India’s Congress politicians, and bureaucrats.
Defence minister Krishna Menon was in the Soviet communist camp and Finance minister Morarji Desai and YB Chawan in the American capitalists camp.
Cronyism, was a major weakness in Nehru’s character. Loyalty and friendship to him as an individual were more important than merit. So like him, Nehru’s team consisted of egoistical men, owing allegiance only to Nehru and themselves to the exclusion of all else.
Everyone in Nehru’s team hated and opposed everyone else on the team. It emerges that everyone in Nehru’s team did pretty much what they wanted. Naturally their focus was Nehru, not the country, and therefore there existed a total lack of unity and a shared philosophy and an absence of a coherent strategy.
The military leadership too was thoroughly compromised.
Al the shots were actually being called by Lt. Gen. Brij Mohan Kaul.. Flamboyant and though incompetent BM Kaul, a close relative and trusted friend of Nehru was repeatedly and rapidly promoted out of turn and given the real power of the army.
As hostilities broke out, Kaul as the Corp Commander, reported sick and fled to his residence in Delhi, from where he continued to incompetently direct the war.
Gen. Kaul, “met the US under Secretary of State Chester Bowles the summer of 1962 without the knowledge of the Prime Minister and Defence Minister. He learnt from Bowles that the Chinese were quite advanced in their preparation for war, and the possibility of war was high before year end.
Another villain in the piece was BN Mullik (Head of Intelligence). He incompetently or deliberately fed Nehru false information and met with CIA staff and carried out their bidding.
Nehru based on the advice of these men, adopted the ‘Forward Policy’, which was the provocative building of many Indians army outposts further north of the McMahon Line in disputed territory claimed by China and even behind Chinese border posts with a view to preventing supplies to the Chinese and forcing their withdrawal from disputed territory. Mullik repeatedly assured Nehru, Menon and others that China would not react. Kaul assured Nehru that he would throw the Chinese out even if they reacted. This action was in retaliation to China’s unilateral action of building a road across Aksai Chin.
The Chinese claimed that 120,000 sq. kms of land in India’s control actually belonged to China. What China really wanted most was access between their two main western provinces – Xinjiang and Tibet. China proposed a settlement, it was willing to take an uninhabited but strategically important Aksai Chin from India and give up its claim on NEFA (Arunachal Pradesh). Nehru refused to even discuss the matter. This became a major point of contention.
Mullik thought it best to show an aggressive stand. When Nehru and Menon denied permission to deploy , troops along the non militarised and quiet border, lest it may be seen as unnecessary provocation, Mullik exceed his brief.
Several questions arise. Why did Mullick exceed his brief? Why did Kaul, a serving army officer meet Bowles? If Kaul knew about the imminence of the attack, then why did he not mobilise the army and further more, why did he proceed on holiday?
It is difficult to imagine that Nehru was unaware of what was happening. The CIA with help from Mullik, helped supply arms, gave training, and support to the 40,000 strong Tibetan National Volunteer Defence Army (NVDA), led by the Dalai Lama’s brothers Gyalo Thondup and Thubten Jigme Norbu. The CIA gave the Tibetan fighters outdated weapons, insufficient supplies and ammunition, no radio or communications equipment, trained them in jungle guerrilla warfare which was unsuitable for Tibetan terrain etc.
In view of Nehru’s disinterest in saving Tibet, The American objective shifted from not saving Tibet to triggering the destruction of the Tibetan freedom movement and anger China at India’s expense. Chinese reports mention that 87,000 Tibetans being eliminated during the March 1959 Lhasa uprising. As a consequence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama fled to and sought refuge in India.
All these actions convinced a livid China that India was playing a double game. China decided that negotiations with India were leading nowhere. India had to be taught a lesson once and for all. They thought rather than partner with, it was better to subordinate India to China.
China was however worried about the support of America to Formosa (Taiwan) for an impending attack on China. This would mean fighting a war simultaneously on a second front, something China could not afford.
However in June 1962 the Americans gave China a categorical assurance that there would be no attack from Taiwan and that America would remain neutral in the case of a Indo -Sino conflict. Thus China was able to redeploy all its best troops, artillery and equipment from its Eastern front to Tibet for the invasion of India.
The Soviet support to India remained a serious concern. Then in early October 1962 the Soviets assured China that it would drop its India tilt in case of a Chinese attack on India.
The die was cast, the trap was set.
From August 1962 onwards skirmishes at the border were now increasing both in frequency and intensity. While the clouds of war loomed on the horizon, Nehru was busy travelling to Paris, Lagos and Accra and Colombo, returning only on 16 October 1962. Krishna Menon left for New York on 17 September 1962 to attend the UN General Assembly and returned to India only on 30 September 1962. Kaul went on holiday to Kashmir.
To India’s shock and dismay on 20th October 1962 China invaded India occupied an area of 90,000 square kms including numerous key towns, and strategic locations, before announcing a unilateral ceasefire on 20th November.
India suffered a humiliating defeat, and we lost 3,250 soldiers, nearly 2,000 of them died due to improper clothing, many bodies of brave Indian soldiers frozen to death, were recovered with guns in hand but empty bullet pouches.
The shocking Indian performance was a disaster waiting to happen, the result of a politically and militarily, stupid, incompetent and corrupt leadership. So dysfunctional was the leadership that the relatively powerful Indian Air Force was not even asked to intervene, which would have turned the tide in India’s favour.
The main driving force of Nehru and his successors for
Ignoring proof that both Pakistan and China were heavily arming themselves. Nehru, proclaimed that since India was a peace loving nation, an army was superfluous.
Nehru was assisted in his absurd geo political and incompetent military leadership by his brilliant but equally misguided egoistic friend, Krishna Menon the defence minister.
All my life I grew up detesting the Chinese, and never trusting them. Only after the Doklam incident when I researched did I discover the truth. How we Indians have been mostly uninformed and greatly misled and misinformed.
Because the Indian government, has mostly been led by the Nehru family since independence, the truth has been concealed, lest it reduces the halo of Nehru. Nehru may have possibly had some good personal qualities, but his qualities as a leader were very seriously wanting and this resulted in the Himalayan debacle of India.
Our text books omit the truth. I believe this can be attributed to the fact that most of our historians, and educationists along with the media are leftists, with considerable sympathy for communists.
Sadly most Indians remain unaware, about the sacrifice of our valiant and noble soldiers, and therefore unable to appreciate their contribution, then and always. Therefore we fail to honour and mourn them.
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat the blunders with even greater costs.
People and nations respect only strength.