After two decades of independence,, in 1962 the then Indian government led by India's most popular and venerated political leader Jawharlal Nehru took an agressive border policy with China.
After the very friendly policy adopted in the early years of the fifties of the last century India began to follow a hard attitude towards China. Why? Obvious reasons are China's hostile policy after India gave asylum to the religious head of Tibet, Dalai Lama and the other Tibetan refugees from Tibet in the late fifties of the last century.Yet the government of China never thought of going to war with India.
In spite of the hostile atmosphere prevailed between India and China ,the Chinese offered peace talks with the head of both the states more than once. But India renained silent ,did not accept the Chinese offer. India wanted border talk with Chinba on the basis of the Chinese acceptence of the so called McMahon line. But the Chinese replied that they could not do that and no Chinese government had never accepted the McMahon line as the border demarcation between China and India. Yet both the countries lived peacefully without going to some major border conflict.
But why suddenly, in 1962, did India take this agressive role? India's Prime Minister Nehru ordered one of his military heads to 't hrow the Chinese border soldiers" from the disputed area 'and as a result the border war occured in October. The role of the press and mass communication medias are different in two countries. India is a democratic country and so it has free press whereas China's mass communicartion media is state controlled. Indian media blamed the Chinese to kindle the war. Indian newspapers fanned a war hysteria.
The Government of India thought that the Chinese Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward policy had caused havoc in China. Consequently, Chinese people suffered a lot. In some provinces famine condition prevailed. IndianPrime Minister Nehru was old and ill. Perhaps he thought it was the time to strike a weakend China to settle the border issue. But the border war revealed Nehru's forward policy implementation was wrong. It was the consequence of India's unexpected defeat.
In fact China played a friendly role. During the period of war China offered several peace proposals. But India did not respond to them. Not only that. China treated the captured Indian soldiers with utmost friendliness. When China became triumphant at the last vital place of the border called Bomdilla, Indian governmnent became jittery and in Tejpur, an important town in the plains not far from it, people burned Indian currancy notes. The day after, to everyone's surprise, China declared unilateral cease -fire. That their army will retreat from Bomdilla with immediate effect. But they adverted India that if India try to shoot them they would strike back. This peace initiative of China mcade Indians speechless. It is unique in history. At that time Gandhi's living disciple Vinoba Bhave praised China enormously.
So who was this aggressor?
In India at that time politicians blamed China as an agressor but the fact was that it was Indian military that attacked the Chinese border soldiers. 'We at the front knew that since Nehru had said he was going to attack,the Chinese were certainly are not going to wait to be attacked.', soldiers stated afterwards.
The border dispute between India and China is about the implementation of the McMahon line,a legacy of British imperialism. In the mid-thirties of the last century British seized the Tibetan territory and renamed NEFA and annexed it with India.Nevertheless, the Chinese governmnent was prepared to accept that border alignment if it is negotiated through diplomatic porocess in order to free it from its imperialistic origin. Nehru adamently refused to budge .Because he thought the Simla Conference had made it legitimate. The government of India at that time followed a provocative policy in regard to border dispute between the two countries. The implementation of that policy led to the defeat of Indian army. If we thoroughly study the whole history of the border war between India and China, we certainly will find the truth. It is India's Prime Minister Nehru who was respomsible for the border war between India and China.
- Dipok Sarma