UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


The China-India Border War
CSC 1984
SUBJECT AREA Warfighting
Author:      CALVIN, James Barnard, Lieutenant Commander,
             U. S. Navy
Title:       THE CHINA - INDIA BORDER WAR (1962)
Publisher:   Marine Corps Command and Staff College
Date:        April 1984
     The object of this paper is to present an overview of
the 1962 China-India Border War.  The paper chronologically
examines the 19th and 20th Century roots of disputed border
areas between China and Indian the increase in tensions and
conflicts in the late 1950s, the skirmishes along the China-
India border, the October-November 1962 hostilities, and the
     The roots of the Border War extend back into the 19th
Century, when both China and British India asserted claims
to desolate, remote mountain areas between China and India.
Military expeditions, intrigue and unproductive diplomatic
exchanges marked decades of relations between the two coun-
tries.  Rather than resolving the border issue, Chinese and
British Indian actions only set the stage for conflict.
     Major changes in the governments of both China and
India in the late 1940s had brought the two countries to
friendly relations in the early 1950s.  The paper examines
how "intrusions"--strategic military projections into each
others claimed territory--again created conflict over the
disputed border areas.  The key issue was the 1956-57
construction of a Chinese military highway in the disputed
territory of Aksai China just west of Tibet.  India protested
the Chinese "incursion"; diplomatic exchanges continued for
three years without progress or compromise.  Each side firmly
asserted its claim to the Aksai Chin area.  Large sections of
the North East Frontier Agency, east of Tibet, were also in
dispute.  In 1959, India initiated a forward policy of sending
Indian troops and border patrols into disputed areas.  This
program created both skirmishes and deteriorating relations
between India and China.  The 1961 Indian invasion of Portu-
gese Goa further alarmed Chinese officials in Peking.
     The paper examines the state of the Chinese and Indian
armies.  In 1962, China was strong and well-prepared for
alpine warfare; India was logistically weak and unprepared.
     The paper next examines the conduct of the Border War.
The war began with skirmishes in the summer of 1962.  The
significant fighting occurred in October and November, 1962,
along three widely separated fronts.  In virtually every
battled the Chinese forces either outmaneuvered or overpowered
the unprepared Indians.  In less than six weeks of bloody
fighting, the Chinese completely drove Indian forces back
behind Chinese claim lines.
     The paper outlines the November 21, 1962 ceasefire, which
the Chinese dramatically declared after achieving her limited
strategic objectives.  Following the ceasefire, China kept
most of her claim in Aksai Chin but gave India virtually all
of India's claim in the North East Frontier Agency--about 70%
of the disputed land!
     Finally, the paper evaluates the outcomes and lessons of
the China-India Border War.  Significant lessons included:
(Prime Minister Nehru's) rigid adherence to assumptions,
(Nehru's) unwise practice of ignoring advice of senior army
officers, India's poor state of readiness both logistically
and for alpine warfare, and India's underestimation of intel-
ligence.  Outcomes of the Border War included modernization
of the Indian army, the roots of the 1965 India-Pakistan Bor-
der War, and realization of China's limited strategic objec-
tives--the limited nature of which was again seen in the 1979
China-Viet Nam Border War.
     Because of the difficulty in obtaining primary source
documents, especially Chinese primary source documents, the
paper relies on secondary source accounts of both causation
and conduct of the Border War.  Accounts from both the Indian
and Chinese perspective are available.  Especially valuable
in the development of this paper's thesis are the historical
background of the border disputes by British historian
Alastair Lamb, and the detailed reporting of the Border War
by British newspaper correspondent Neville Maxwell.
	The China - India Border War (1969)
      Lieutenant Commander James B. Calvin, USN
	            2 April 1984
       Marine Corps Command and Staff College
   Marine Corps Development and Education Command
	     Quantico, Virginia 22134
                      Table of Contents
List  of Maps                                           iii
List  of Figures                                        iv
Introduction                                            1
I     Historic Roots - Early Border Claims              5
II    Movement to Conflict - Failure of Negotiations    30
III   The Combatants: The Chinese and Indian Armies
      in 1962                                           42
IV    Summer 1962 Skirmishes                            51
V     The Border War                                    57
VI    Ceasefire                                         78
VII   Conclusions                                       82
Appendix 1 - Chronology of Key Events                   89
Appendix 2 - List of key Personalities                  91
Endnotes                                                92
Bibliography                                            95
                           List of Maps
Map                                                    Page
1     China and India - General Area                     5
2     Border Claims - Ladakh and Aksai Chin              13
3     Aksai Chin - Claims Simplified and Chinese Road    14
4     North East Frontier Agency (NEFA)                  18
5     Border Claims in North East frontier Agency        19
6     Small Scale Map Used at Simla Conference           24
7     Lohit Valley, in Eastern NEFA                      27
8     India's Forward Policy                             51
9     Thag La Ridge Campaign                             59
10    October Tawang Campaign                            61
11    Aksai Chin Campaign                                63
12    End of Aksai Chin Campaign                         69
13    November NEFA Campaign                             71
14    China's "Traditional" Territorial Claims           88
                           List of Figures
Figure                                                  Page
1     Organization of the People's Liberation Army      42
2     Organization of a Chinese Army                    43
3     Chinese Mountain and Cold Weather Operations      45
4     Organization of the Indian Army                   47
     Why do nations go to war?
     How does each nation conduct herself in a battle or a
     What crucial lessons can be learned from the conduct of
a battle or a war?
     These are key issues for the student of military history,
strategy, and tactics.  The 1962 China-India Border War pro-
vides fertile ground for the study of the above questions.
     The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of
the China-India Border War: its causes, the movement to armed
conflict, the Chinese and Indian armies' preparedness for
war, the conduct of the border War, the ceasefire, and the
consequences of the Border War.  This paper follows a chrono-
logical analysis to accomplish this purpose.
     This paper examines how a nation's strategic interests
dictate its foreign policy and military power projection, and
how stubborn, inflexible attitudes toward diplomatic negoti-
ations can lead nations to conflict.  The roots of the Border
War extend back into the 19th Century, when India and China
first asserted claims to borders in the remote mountain areas
between the two countries.  Military expeditions, intrigue,
and uncompromising diplomatic exchanges did nothing to resolve
the border issue.  Major changes in both governments in the
late 1940s brought the two countries to friendly relations in
the 1950s.  But "intrusions"--military strategic projections.
including a Chinese military highway, into each other's
claimed territory--would produce skirmishes between them and
eventual war in October, 1962.
     Many factors would influence the conduct and outcome of
the 1962 Border War: military and logistic preparedness,
foreign military aid, readiness for alpine warfare, general-
ship and command, intelligence (or lack thereof), assumptions,
and international diplomatic intervention.
     The significant fighting occurred in October and Novem-
ber, 1962, along three widely separated fronts.  In virtually
every battle, the Chinese forces either overpowered or out-
maneuvered the unprepared Indian troops.  In less than six
weeks of bloody fighting, the Chinese completely drove the
Indian forces back behind Chinese claim lines.  On November
21, 1962, the Chinese dramatically declared a ceasefire after
having achieved her limited strategic objectives.  Following
the ceasefire, China kept the territory around her military
highway, but gave to India about 70% of the disputed border
     Because of the difficulty in obtaining primary source
documents, especially Chinese primary source documents, the
paper relies on secondary source accounts of both causation
and conduct of the Border War.  Accounts from both the Indian
and Chinese perspective are available.  Yet, an important
example of the limited Chinese information available has been
this author's inability to obtain Chinese casualty figures
for the Border War.  Especially valuable in the development
of this paper's thesis are the historical background of the
border disputes by British historian Alastair Lamb, and the
detailed reporting of the Border War by British newspaper
correspondent Neville Maxwell.
     The significance of studying the China-India Border War
lies in two areas: the military lessons to be learned, and
the impact of the Border War on subsequent world history.
The swift defeat of the Indian forces by the Chinese Peoples
Liberation Army emphasizes the following lessons: beware of
assumptions; good intelligence is important to success;
logistic/supply readiness is vital; one must be prepared for
special (e.g. alpine) warfare; politicians can't ignore the
advice of senior officers regarding military readiness; and,
generalship and command is important.  The Border War had
significant consequences in Asia in the years following the
Border War.  The Pakistanis saw how weak India was; thus, the
China-India Border War was important in the roots of the 1965
India-Pakistan Border War.  India saw how weak her Army was,
and began a massive buildup and modernization of her Army in
the mid-1960s.  Much of the World viewed China as the aggres-
sor in the China-India border War, making China's military
victory a political setback.  China had very limited strategic
goals in the China-India Border War; she would again demon-
strate limited objectives in the 1979 China-Viet Nam Border
War.  The military lessons are still relevant to military
leaders today.  And the insights from the Border War remain
strategically relevant today; for example, can we expect
limited (vs. global) strategic objectives from China, in
spite of her ballooning population and need for food, in
the 1980s and 1990s?
			     Chapter I
		Historic Roots - Early Border Claims
	India and China, both amongst the largest and most popu-
lous nations of the world, share over two thousand miles of
common border; the exact figure is difficult to ascertain
because of border disputes.  India, the seventh largest and
Click here to view image
second most populous* nation in the world, lays at the
southern extension of Asia.  China, the third largest and
most populous* nation of the world, occupies central and
western Asia.  The length of the China-India border increased
dramatically following the 1950-51 annexation of Tibet into
the People's Republic of China.
     The roots of the disputed border between the two nations
extend back into the 19th Century.  Two general areas were in
contention:  the northeast border areas of Kashmir (including
Aksai Chin), the northern section of India on China's south-
western border; and the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA), the
northeastern portion of India, on China's southern border.
     At the western extremity of the Himalayan Range lies
Kashmir, composed of mountains, watersheds and valleys; large
sections of this area are uninhabited.  Yet in this region,
three international disputes have raged in recent decades:
the China-India conflict we now examine, the India-Pakistan
conflict which resulted in a brief but bloody war in 1965,
and the China-Soviet conflict which has smothered since the
1960s.  The history of the border claims in Kashmir is com-
plex, and has been thoroughly examined by British historian
Alastair Lamb1.  However, a brief review of Kashmir's history
and of various border claims in Kashmir is relevant in estab-
lishing the roots of the 1962 China-India border War.
* Propulation and area figures are 1965 figures: India -
1,227,180 square miles and 479,000,000 population; China -
3,691,500 square miles and 700,000,000 population.
     Because of its strategic location between India, China,
Russia and Afghanistan, Kashmir and neighboring Tibet have
been the focus of international events in Asia for centuries.
In 1720, the Chinese Emperor K'ang Hsi invaded Lhasa, Tibet.
Later Mongol invasions into Tibet made China aware of the
vulnerability of its border lands.  In the late 18th Century,
the British East India Company began to explore Tibet as a
commercial market; the Chinese reaction thwarted British
interests.  In the 19th Century, the expansion of Imperial
Russia eastward collided with Manchu expansion westward; this
started the Sino-Soviet disputes which continue into the cur-
rent time.  While Imperial Russia tended to prevail in the
early disputes, the Chinese people continued to strive for
Chinese occupation of all lands which they consider "tradi-
tionally Chinese."  As Kashmir gained in geographic impor-
tance, numerous surveys and border claims arose in the late
19th and early 20th Centuries.  In 1904, the British invaded
Tibet to thwart what Lord Curzon described as the "Russian
Domination of Asia."2  In 1907, Britain and Russia agreed
to a neutral buffer zone, extending from Persia to Tibet, to
separate the two empires.  Chinese suzerainty over Tibet
suited both Russia and England.  Soon, Britain pressed for a
secondary buffer zone between Tibet and China--"Inner Tibet"--
but China would continue to insist for sovereignty over Tibet.
Even as a weakened China approached the Japanese occupation
and World War II, she maintained her legal claim to terri-
tories she considered art of China.
     The post-World War II era saw dramatic change in the
area.  India acquired independence from Britain and became
a sovereign state.  However, this process of decolonization
saw two new states emerge on the subcontinent: India and
Pakistan, and both clashed over Kashmir.  At the same time,
the Chinese Communists came to power in China.  Both India
and China were conscious of their new status and of past
history.  The stage was thus set for India and China to come
to conflict over the Aksai Chin area in the Karakoram Moun-
tains of Kashmir.
     As noted above, the various border claims within the
Aksai Chin area are complex.  And while China and India dis-
puted the border on two fronts (east in NEFA and west in Aksai
Chin, this western border was especially significant, for
China had built a military highway--to link Sinkiang and
Tibet--here in 1956-57; Peking was adamant in retaining her
right to this land.  However, China would eventually readily
surrender her claims in North East Frontier Agency.
     Until the 19th Certury, the desolate highlands of Aksai
Chin were rarely visited or explored; no major migrations or
invasions crossed the Karakoram Range.  Until the middle of
that century, there was a general understanding that the Kara-
koram Range separated areas traditionally Indian and Chinese,
although no specific attempt was made to demark a boundary.
But in 1864, the Kashmir Survey set out to define the boun-
dary; this Survey included both surveying and inquiries to
local mountain residents as to the location of the "traditional"
boundary.  A surveyor, W. H. Johnson, was responsible for the
Ladakh-Tibet border in the entire Aksai Chin area.  Johnson's
work has been severely criticized for gross inaccuracies,
with description of his boundary as "patently absurd"; he
even extended it eighty miles further north than the Indian
claim when she and China came to conflict over the border.
Johnson was reprimanded by the British Government for crossing
into Khotan without permission, and resigned from the Survey.
Despite the criticisms of Johnson, his boundary still appeared
on some maps in the late 1860'3.
     In 1874, a Kashmir map "based on good surveys and accom-
panied by explanatory notes" appeared; this map was based on
surveys by F. Drew, Governor of Ladakh in 1871.  Drew, even
in improving upon the Johnson survey, noted that his maps
have "not the same degree of detail as the maps (of India),
. . . tracts which have been regularly surveyed, for it was
made on a hurried journey over ground where to halt was to
starve."  Drew, in describing the Aksai Chin boundary, ad-
dressed the area which would later become the center of
controversy between China and India:
             A great watershed range divides the two
          territories (Turkestan and hashmir).  But
          it will be observed that from the Karakoram
          Pass eastward to past the meridian of 80o,
          the line is more finely dotted.  This has
          been done to denote that the boundary is
          not defined.  There has been no authori-
          tative demarcation of it at all; and as the
          country is quite uninhabited for more than
          a hundred miles east and west and north and
          south I cannot apply the principles of
          representing the state of actual occupa-
          tion.  I have by the dotted boundary only
          represented my own opinion of what would be
          defined were the powers interested to at-
          tempt to agree to a boundary. . . . I can
          vouch that the boundary marked accurately
          represents the present state.  For this
          part my information dates from 1871, when
          I was the Governor of Ladakh.  This applies
          also to the rest of the boundary between   
          the Maharaja's and the Chinese territories.4
     Drew's map, while based on good surveys, was not an
official map.  Official maps, generally published by govern-
ments, usually represent official demarcations of boundaries.
Drew's lines were simply his best estimate of an unofficial
boundary in this remote mountainous area of Aksai Chin.
     Thus, by the late 1870s, there were two Aksai Chin boun-
daries.  One, the Johnson line, was published in Atlases but
was clearly inaccurate and may have had some British political
pretenses.  The other--essentially the Drew boundary--was
better documented, an alignment based on history, tradition,
and surveys in Ladakh.  For London, the exact border did not
matter, for British interests in Aksai Chin were simply
strategic: a buffer between India and Tibet, China, and
Russia to the north.  Under these circumstances, the specific
boundary line was flexible, the key intent only to maintain
Britain's buffer zone.
     By 1890, the Chinese began to assert their claim to the
Karakoram Range as their southern boundary in Sinkiang.  In
1892, they placed a pillar of stone and wooden boundary
notice on the summit of the harakoram Pass.  The Indian
Government, in 1907, learned of the Chinese border marker and
		expressed themselves in favour of the
		Chinese filling up the "no-man's-land"
		beyond the Karakoram. . . . and as seeing
		no reason to remonstrate with the Chinese
		over the erection of these boundary marks,
		though they could not regard them as having
		any international value, the demarcation
		not having been undertaken by (Britain and
		China) jointly.5
The British then asked the Chinese to clarify their intentions
and ambitions in the Karakoram area, showing the Chinese a
Russian map which showed the boundary considerably north of
the Karakoram Range--probably the Johnson line--and placing
Aksai Chin in Kashmir territory.  The Chinese responded with
a survey team sent to Aksai Chin; this survey team produced a
map showing the karakoram Range as the Sino-Indian boundary,
with Aksai Chin as part of China.  But the Chinese survey, too,
was of poor quality, and did nothing to clarify or to make
official the boundary in the Aksai Chin area.
     Perhaps the best attempt to resolve the Aksai Chin boun-
dary occurred in 1896; George Macartney, the British represen-
tative in Kashgar, brought the issue of the disputed border to
the leading Chinese official in Kashgar.  Macartney was half-
Chinese and spoke fluent Chinese; his father had been advisor
to the Chinese Legation in London.  Macartney was loyal to
Britain, yet he had a deep understanding of the Chinese.
Macartney agreed that the British claims (the Johnson line)
were inappropriate, and that if this deserted area were to be
divided, then it should be half British and half Chinese.  He
felt that Aksai Chin proper, north of the Lokzhung Range, was
Chinese; south of the Range, British.  In the summer of 1898,
Lord Elgin's Indian Government incorporated Macartney's ideas
into a definite proposal.  The proposal asked the Chinese to
accept a verbal description of the Kashmir boundary, and that
physical demarcation on the ground did not seem necessary in
this remote area.  The relevant portion of the proposal was
as follows:
             From the Karakoram Pass the crests of
          the range run nearly east for about half a
          degree, and then turn south to a little below
          the 35th parallel. . . .  Rounding . . . the
          source of the Karakash, the line of hills to
          be followed runs north-east to a point east
          of Kizil Jilga and from there, in a south-
          easterly direction, follows the Lak Tsung
          (Lokzhung) Range until that meets a spur . .
          . which has hitherto been shown on our maps
          as the eastern boundary of Ladakh.6
     Lord Elgin's proposal was fortunate not only as an
attempt to resolve the boundary, but also to stem the growing
number of lines demarking the Kashmir border in Aksai Chin.
Map Two (page 13) shows the variety of claims which had evol-
ved by the turn of the century.
     On March 14, 1899, Sir Claude MacDonald, the British
minister to China, submitted the description of this align-
ment of the proposed border (in writing, but regretably
without any maps) to the Chinese Department of External
Affairs in Peking.  The MacDonald proposal included the boun-
dary suggested by Macartney, and further added:
             It will not be necessary to mark out
          the frontier.  The natural frontier is the
          crest of a range of mighty mountains, a
          great part of which is inaccessible.  It
          will be sufficient if the two Governments
          (of Great Britain and China) . . . enter
		into an agreement to recognize the frontier
		as laid down by its clearly marked geo-
		graphical features.7
Click here to view image
	The Department of External Affairs in Peking communi-
cated the proposal to the Sinkiang Provincial Government.
The Sinkiang Government had no objections to the boundary
alignment, and the British Legation was informally notified
that there were no objections; however, no formal acceptance
was forwarded from Peking.  By the time the Chinese had
responded, the British were beginning to reconsider the pro-
posed boundary; hence, the British made no efforts to secure
a formal response to MacDonald's proposal.  The Chinese Com-
munist government of the mid-20th Century would regret that
the 1899 Chinese government did not convey a formal acceptance
of the MacDonald boundary proposal; as Map Three shows, the
controversial Chinese military road--the key issue which
eventually led the two nations to war--lies to the north (the
Chinese side) of the 1899 MacDonald line.
Click here to view image
	The rising British interests which called for a more
northern (Johnson line)  boundary in Kashmir were clearly not
the issue of whether India or China would lay claim to the
barren Aksai Chin area; rather, Great Britain simply wanted
her border as far north as possible to maximize the buffer
zone  between British India and Imperial Russia. The Elgin
Government, which had rejected the Johnson line and had sub-
mitted the 1899 MacDonald proposal, was replaced by Lord
Curzon's ministry that year.  Lord Curzon, and Lords Minto
and Hardinge who followed him, advocated the northern (John-
son) boundary.  For the next decade, the British made no
attempt to secure either a Chinese definition of the Kashmir
boundary or an official boundary agreement with China.  From
the turn of the century, the Johnson* boundary became accepted
British policy.
	The Chinese Revolution erupted in 1911, toppling the
imperial dynasty.  In the disorder which followed , the central
government's power collapsed in Central Asia.  Great Britain
and Russia began negotiations regarding the status and boun-
daries of Kashmir; however, the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917
ended attempts to resolve boundaries in Central Asis.  At the
end of World War I, British India emerged with the Johnson-
Ardagh boundary as its more-or-less official border in Aksai
	In 1927, the Indian Government appears to have decided
to adjust their version of the Kashmir frontier border.  From
*Also known as the Ardagh or Johnson-Ardagh boundary
Afghanistan to Karakoram Pass, the Indian Government abandoned
the northern Johnson-Ardagh line in favor of a boundary along
the Karakoram Range (up to Karakoram Pass); while this would
indicate an abandonment of the Ardagh line, the old (Ardagh)
line remained on British and Indian maps until about 1950!
These maps also continued to show the Johnson-Ardagh line as
the Indian boundary around the north of Aksai Chin, even
though the border was still never openly discussed with China
or Tibet.
     By 1940, Britain still had never attempted to establish
outposts or exert authority in Aksai Chin; China still con-
sidered the territory theirs, as was reflected on Chinese
maps.  World War II distracted the governments from minor
border claims.  The bleak and empty reaches of Aksai Chin
thus remained without an official boundary between India and
     In 1947, the new Indian government took as its boundaries
those claimed by Britain for decades; thus, India considered
Aksai Chin as part of her state of Kashmir.  But the rulers
in Peking had other ideas about this.  The new regimes, in
India and in China, thus would soon find disagreement and
conflict over the Ladakh frontier.
     Between Aksai Chin and the North East Frontier Agency,
there were minor border disputes.  In the Spiti, Niti Pass,
and Nilang regions--about 200 miles south of Aksai Chin and
100 miles northwest of Nepal--laid several disputed borders.
But the total contested area here was small, about 200 square
miles (compared to over 15,000 square miles contested in Aksai
Chin).  These small areas had practicied dual allegiance to
British India and to Tibet for decades.  So long as Britain
felt that she had enough influence to exclude rival powers in
these regions, she was content with an informal boundary on
the plains beneath the foothills in the Nilang region.8  When
the Chinese and Indian border disputes arose, the aggression
in this middle section was minimal.  The western (Aksai Chin)
and eastern (NEFA) disputes were far more grave; thus, this
disputed middle section came to have only minimal importance
in the Border War.
     The eastern element of dispute centers around the North
East Frontier Agency (NEFA), with a 700 mile border and about
32,000 square miles disputed between India and China.  The
North East Frontier Agency is a sparsely populated mountainous
area in the extreme northeast of India.  Britain acquired the
territory in 1826 as a result of victory in the First Burmese
War; the Treaty of Yandaboo gave all of Assam to the British.
The northern section of Assam was to become the North East
Frontier Agency (see Map Four, page 18).
     The Tawang Tract, in the western end of NEFA and ad-
joining east Bhutan, had been heavily influenced by Tibetan
culture, religion and government for centuries.  Through the
19th Century, the Tawang Tract was an important trade route
between India and Tibet; it was this trade route that first
attracted British attention here.  In the middle of the 19th
Century, however, Britain was surprised to learn that Tawang
was part of Tibet.
Click here to view image
	Major J. Jenkins, Agent for the North East Frontier,
filed a report in 1847 noting that the Tawang Raja "is a
fuedatory of the Raja or Governor of Lassa."*  The Tawang
Tract boundary was the only one in NEFA to be demarked in
the 19th Century.  In 1872, four monastic officials from
Tibet arrived in Tawang and supervised a boundary settlement
*Lhasa, Tibet
with Major R. Graham, NEFA official, which included the Tawang
Tract as part of Tibet. Thus, in the last half of the 19th
Century, it was clear that the British treated the Tawang
Tract as part of Tibet.  This boundary was confirmed in a
June 1, 1912 note from the British General Staff in India,
stating that the "present boundary (demarcated) is south of
Tawang, running westwards along the foothills from near
Ugalguri to the southern Bhutanese border."9
	The Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873 created
the "Inner Line" and the "Outer Line."  The Inner Line was an
administrative line, in the Assam triba areas, to keep hun-
ters and traders out of the Assam tribal areas; no taxes were
collected beyond the Inner Line.  The Outer Line (see Map Five)
Click here to view image
was the international boundary of British India.  Part of the
Outer Line was demarcated, from the Bhutanese border to the
Baroi River at latitude 27o, longitude 93o 20'.  East of the
Baroi, no demarked Outer Line existed; the line was verbally
defined as a readily recognizable line along the foot of the
hills as far as Nizamghat.  However, little publicity was
given to the demarcation of the Outer Line.  In the 20th Cen-
tury, the British would attempt to deny that the international
border ever followed the foothill alignment.  However, a 1908
map of The Province of Eastern Bengal and Assam (32 miles to
the inch), prepared for the Foreign Department of the Govern-
ment of India, showed the international boundary from Bhutan
continuing to the Baroi River.
     In 1905, Noel Williamson, Assistant Political Officer in
Sadiya, argued that British officers should venture further
into tribal areas, establish posts, and make the tribes aware
of the benefits of British rule in India.  Lord Morley, Secre-
tary of State for India, rebuffed this notion because estab-
lishment of British posts would be
           . . . followed by further progressive annex-
          ation to which it would be difficult to set
          a limit. . . . At the back of the Abor hills
          lies foreign territory, Tibet, and between
          the Abors and Tibet proper there may be
          tribes which are more or less under Tibetan
Williamson was formally warned not to cross the Outer Line
without expressed permission.  In 1908, 1909, 1910, and 1911,
Williamson made four trips into the Tawang Tract, well north
of the Outer Line, against Government prohibitions. Then on
March 30, 1911, Williamson and a tea estate doctor were
attacked and killed by Abor tribesmen in Kebang, well north
of the Outer Line.  Williamson's death provided for the re-
vision of the tribal policy for which Williamson himself had
argued for years.
     In 1904, the British had sent an army to Lhasa, osten-
sibly because of Tibetan refusal to communicate with the
Government of India; the real reason for the expedition was
Lord Curzon's fear of Russian influence in Tibet.  As a result
of the British occupation of Lhasa, Chinese influence in Tibet
grew; the British refused to deal with Tibet except through
China.  Tibet was soon incorporated into the Chinese provin-
cial structure.  Between 1905 and 1910, the Chinese attempted
to assert their influence in Nepal and Bhutan, regions adjoin-
ing British Assam.  The British became alarmed as Chinese
activity and influence penetrated into the Tawang Tract.  In
1910, Chinese troops planted boundary flags just below Walong;
the British could not protest, as they regarded Walong as
marking the Tibetan border.  Yet, they felt that they could
not stand by and let China assert influence into the Tawang
     The British had to do something.  Sir Lancelot Hare, the
Lieutenant Governor of Eastern Bengal and Assam stated that
"in view of the Chinese pushing forward, that it would be a
mistake not to put ourselves in a position to take up stra-
tegic points of defense."11  The British Government in both
India and London rejected moving the Outer Line northward to
meet the present limits of Chinese influence; they feared
Russian reaction to any advance.  The 1911 murder of William-
son appears to have provided the solution.
     A British expedition, headed by Major General Hamilton
Bower, was mounted in late 1911; the mission continued until
1913.  The alleged purpose of the expedition was punitive;
indeed, the Abors were punished for slaying Williamson.  How-
ever, much of the expedition's time and manpower was spent in
determining the extent of Chinese penetration, and in estab-
lishing a new boundary which would keep the Chinese as far as
possible from the Assam tea plantations.  The ultimate objec-
tive of the expedition was to define a new border along the
mountain crests and watersheds, to exercise British control
up to that boundary, and to inform the Chinese of the new
limits of British sovereignty.  By the end of 1913, the British
had explored much of the Assam Himalayas.  The British had
inspected the Chinese boundary markers near Walong and put up
British markers beside them.  The British surveys were to pro-
vide a good map of the Himalayas in Assam and in the Tawang
Tract--all as an indirect result of Williamson's murder.
These surveys and maps would soon form the basis for the
McMahon Line.
     While the British were exploring Assam, the 1911 Chinese
Revolution erupted.  By 1912, Chinese influence in Tibet had
fallen drastically.  As Chinese power in Tibet waned, Chinese
pressure on the Assam border ceased to exist.  The British
now endeavored to secure the Assam Himalayas from any future
Chinese intervention.
     The fall of Chinese power in Tibet led to negotiations
between British Indian, Chinese, and Tibetan delegates to the
Simla Conference of 1913-14.  The British had decided to make
Tibet a genuine buffer state.  The British chief delegate,
Sir Henry McMahon, introduced the idea of a second buffer into
the long Sino-Tibetan debates over the boundary between Chi-
nese control and the Tibetan buffer.  McMahon wanted to divide
Tibet, just as Mongolia had been divided.  Outer Tibet would
be the buffer between China and the British Indian frontier.
Inner Tibet would be part of China.  However, the complexity
of this concept provided severe problems for the Conference.
The Chinese could not accept the definition of the Outer Ti-
bet-Inner Tibet boundary which was agreeable to the Tibetans.
In April, 1914, McMahon pressured the Chinese delegate into
initialing a text based on the Tibetan-approved line.  The
Chinese government immediately repudiated the agreement.  The
Chinese rejection was a blow to McMahon's buffer scheme.  How-
ever, McMahon had meanwhile negotiated another buffer and zone
of defense for the Himalayas.  He had made a separate agree-
ment with the chief Tibetan delegate; this agreement defined
the frontier line along the crest of the Assam Himalayas,
based on the 1911-13 Abor Expedition.  The line was marked on
a large-scale (eight miles to the inch) map; however, this
map and the details of the McMahon-Tibetan agreement were not
communicated to the Chinese.  On a much smaller-scale map,
which was used in the discussions of the Inner Tibet-Outer
Tibet boundary, the McMahon-Tibetan boundary (which would be-
come the McMahon Line) was shown as a sort of appendix to the
boundary between Inner Tibet and China proper (see Map Six,
below).  The McMahon Line was never discussed with the Chinese
Click here to view image
at the Conference.  The Chinese (both Koumintang and Communist)
have maintained that the negotiating of the McMahon Line was a
British trick, and have prefixed the word "illegal" to any
mention of the McMahon Line or the boundary it represents.
Lamb asserts that, in a sense, it was a British trick, since
McMahon realized that the Chinese were capable of arguing the
border for years without resolution, and McMahon wanted to
get the Assam border settled with a minimum of fuss.12  It is
likely, though, that the Chinese were somewhat aware of what
McMahon was doing; in any case, the Chinese Government had
rejected the April 1914 text.
     In July, 1914, after McMahon had failed to acquire
Chinese agreement to the April text, he again negotiated
directly with the Tibetan delegate.  McMahon and the Tibetans
initialed a new Convention with a text only slightly modified
from the April text.  At the same time they signed a decla-
ration pronouncing the Convention binding, and denied to the
Chinese any rights under it until they too agreed.  Thus, the
Simla Convention would become the basis for much controversy,
and the question of a boundary along the Himalayas was essen-
tially left unresolved.
     The old Outer Line had protruded east from Bhutan just
south of the 27th line of latitude.  The new McMahon Line
extended from Bhutan at latitude 27o 45', to 92o of east lon-
gitude, and thence northeasterly.  All of Tawang was now
within the British Indian Empire.  In the eastern Lohit Val-
ley, the boundary retreated northwards from Walong (where both
Chinese and british markers had been placed) to Kahao, 20
miles north.  It simply appeared that the British wanted the
boundary alignment northward to permit good defensive points
in ranges far enough north to eliminate any Chinese influence
into Assam.  It is possible that the British simply wanted to
take over Tawang, for a better strategic border alignment.
     The Tibetans apparently had no qualms with the McMahon
Line, and continued to conduct traditional Tibetan adminis-
tration in those areas where it extended across the new boun-
dary.  The Chinese, on the other hand, denied that the Con-
ference had any validity.  Not only had the Chinese failed to
validate the McMahon Line, but the Chinese also repudiated
Tibet's authority to negotiate any treaty or boundary inde-
pendent of Chinese influence or sovereignty.  Chinese maps of
the 1930s showed the border with Assam to follow the old
Outer Line, with the Himalayas shown as part of Tibet and
hence as part of China.  It is interesting that the 1929
Encyclopaedia Britannica showed the disputed area as part of
China, with the boundary following the alignment shown on
Chinese maps!
     In January, 1914, T. O'Callaghan, assistant administrator
of the Eastern Sector of the North East Frontier, was sent up
the Lohit Valley.  Just below Walong, he found both old Chi-
nese boundary markers and a new marker placed in 1912 by the
Chinese Republic.  O'Callaghan removed all the markers, took
them upstream, and simply replaced them near Kahao (see Map
Seven, next page), just below the McMahon boundary!  He then
went to Rima, conferred with Tibetan officials, and found no
Chinese influence in the area.  O'Callaghan proposed a road
to, and a post in, Walong; but his superiors showed no in-
terest in his proposal.
     As late as 1936, the Tibetans were still administering
and taxing the Tawang Tract.  The Governor of Assam noted
that Tawang was " undoubtedly British, (but) . . . controlled
Click here to view image
by Tibet, and none of its inhabitants have any idea that they
are not Tibetan."13  The Governor instructed Captain G. S.
Lightfoot of the Western Sector to go up to Tawang in 1938
and demonstrate British sovereignty.  The Tibetan Government
protested Lightfoot's arrival, and demanded that he withdraw.
Upon his return, Lightfoot proposed that the Tibetans be
forced to withdraw all their officials in Tawang to the north
of the McMahon Line.  The Government of India rejected this
proposal, not wanting any permanent occupation and further
	When World War II erupted, there was still no decision
about Tawang, and the Tibetans continued to administer it.
But the war showed the Government of India the vulnerability
(this time from the Japanese) of the eastern frontier of
India.  British policy in the eastern Himalayas again gained
momentum, and Britain resolved to make the Simla Convention
boundary good.  Official Chinese maps still showed the pre-
1914 Outer Line as the boundary in Assam; with Allied victory
coming in the Far East, the British feared an expansionistic
China.  The British placed armed posts up the Lohit Valley to
the McMahon border.  In the Dihang Valley, British military
patrols were sent to turn back Tibetan tax collectors.  In
the Tawang Tract, British armed posts were established up to
Se La.
     By late 1947, the British had thus laid the groundwork
for control up to the McMahon Line.  But Tawang was still
essentially under Tibetan administration; the loyalties of
the tribes were still with Tibet.  This was the situation
which the new Indian republic inherited from Britain.
     The Indian republic, threatened by the Communist take-
over in China and then the Chinese occupation of Tibet,
formed the North East Frontier Agency to administer the Assam
frontier.  It is of interest that NEFA came under the Minis-
try of External Affairs--despite British and Indian claims
that this area had been claimed as Indian for years.  In
1951, an Indian NEFA official was stationed in Tawang, ending
any Tibetan control south of the McMahon Line.
     Thus, as new regimes came to power in India and in China,
the new governments inherited the border disputes in NEFA and
in Aksai Chin.  Just as strategic interests--India's desire
for a buffer zone between her and China, and Chin'a claims to
areas "always traditionally Chinese"--had created minor dis-
putes for decades, similar strategic objectives would create
problems for the two new governments.  The NEFA and Aksai
Chin regions were question marks.  India occupied NEFA and
believed it to be hers.  But, as in Aksai Chin, China firmly
and honestly believed that the areas in question were Chinese
(or Tibetan, and therefore Chinese after the takeover of
	The stage was set--in Aksai Chin and in the NEFA--for
controversy, frunstrating negotiations, and eventual conflict
and war.
                   Chapter II
             Movement to Conflict -
            Failure of Negotiations
     In the late 1940s, the advent of new regimes in India
and in China brought new border problems and new border poli-
cies.  The 1947 emergence of the Indian republic led to with-
drawal of British power from the Indian subcontinent and the
beginnings of a changing power balance in Asia.  When the
Communist regime emerged strongly in 1949, the balance of
power tipped even further; however, border issues would
probably have remained, whether China was ruled by the Nation-
alists or the Communists.
     The new Indian republic devoted little time or attention
to border conflicts with China in her first two years; rather,
India was preoccupied with Pakistan, resolving border conflicts
in Kashmir.  In 1947, Muslim disorder grew in Kashmir, and the
Maharajah appealed to India for help; Indian troops responded.
Pakistan also responded, and bloody fighting continued spora-
dically until late December, 1948.  In January, 1949, a United
Nations-supervised ceasefire and international frontier was
established; but tensions in Kashmir and Jammu continued for
years.  In 1954, Kashmir constitutionally became part of
India.  But tensions between Pakistan and India continued for
years; in 1965 and 1971 they would fight again.  In 1950,
India's attention began to focus back toward China.
     Two major Chinese ventures in 1950 would have important
impact on the Sino-Indian border problem.  In October, the
Chinese army advanced on Chamdo, 370 miles east of Lhasa, and
Tibetan troops accepted defeat.  The Government of India pro-
tested what it considered to be a wrongful and unnecessary
use of force; yet, Nehru tended to accept Chinese authority
over Tibet.  By the end of 1950, China was in control of
Tibet.  In May, 1951, a Chinese-Tibetan treaty was signed;
China would set up military and administrative committees in
Tibet, the Tibetan army would be integrated into the Chinese
army, and all of Tibet's external relations would be handled
by China.  In 1951, Nehru reacted to events in Tibet by sen-
ding an Indian expedition to the Tawang Tract to assert Indian
influence up to the McMahon Line.
     The second event, also in October, 1950, was China's
military support of North Korea in the Korean Conflict.
While China's part in Korea would draw upon her military and
economic resources, Korea did provide cold weather and moun-
tain warfare skills which China would use in the 1962 Border
     Relations between China and India were generally good in
the early 1950s, and the border issue remained quiet.  India
exported grain to Chinese troops and civilians working in
Tibet.  Chinese troops did not enter into NEFA.  And India
did not challenge occasional Chinese troops in Aksai Chin.
     In September, 1951, Chou En-Lai suggested talks to
stabilize the Tibetan frontier.  While Chou stated that "there
was no territorial dispute or controversy between India and
China,"1  it seems clear through the early 1950s that China
did not accept the McMahon Line as India's northeast boundary.
India responded that negotiations would be welcome; yet, no
talks began for three years.
     In April, 1954, India and China signed an agreement re-
garding trade, travel and representation between India and the
"Tibet region of China."  This agreement included a pledge of
nonaggression, the "Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence":
mutual respect for the other's territorial integrity/sovereign-
ty, mutual nonaggression, mutual noninterference in each
other's affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful
coexistence.  The 1954 agreement did not address any major
boundary disputes; the agreement simply named six passes in
the Middle Sector (between Ladakh and Nepal) as trade passes,
without specifying any boundary.
     In the middle 1950s, Pakistan aligned with the United
States, and began receiving U. S. military aid.  This dis-
turbed India, and forced Nehru to relax his policy of non-
alignment and seek support from Russia.  While relations with
the Soviets cooled in 1956 following the Russian intervention
in Hungary, India did continue to seek Soviet aid, including
military aid which would fortify India's position in 1962.
     Prime Minister Nehru visited Peking in October, 1954,
and raised the question of the border shown on Chinese maps.
According to Nehru's account, Chou assured Nehru that the
question was of no importance.2
     Late in 1954, Chinese government pressure in Tibet was
stirring up increasing discontent amongst the turbulent
Khamba tribesmen in eastern Tibet.  Military actions by the
Khamba tribesmen jeopardized Chinese lines of communication
with Tibet from the east, as early as 1955.  The Khamba
actions were to have strong implications for the border situ-
ation, for it led China into building a new supply route into
     In March, 1956, the Chinese People's Liberation Army
began construction of a military highway between western Sin-
kiang and western Tibet--directly across the Aksai Chin pla-
teau, an area which the Indians clearly believed to be Indian
(south of the Johnson-Ardagh line) and which the Chinese
clearly believed to be Tibetan/Chinese (north of the Macartney-
MacDonald line).  Construction of the 1200 kilometer road,
under difficult conditions in Aksai Chin, lasted from March,
1956, until completion in October, 1957.  It has already been
noted that Aksai Chin was remote and desolate, and that India
had minimal interests in the area; the Indian government did
not even learn of the road's existence until September, 1957!
In July, 1958, the existence of the highway was confirmed to
India by published Chinese maps which not only showed the new
route, but also placed all of Aksai Chin in Chinese territory.
In July, the Government of India sent an initial protest to
Peking, and sent two patrols to reconnoiter the road.  The
two patrols were detained by the Chinese, sensitive about the
security of her new highway, for one month.
     In December, 1958, Nehru wrote a friendly letter to Chou
En-Lai about the Chinese maps--but without specifically re-
ferring to the military road--showing Aksai Chin as Chinese.
Nehru reminded Chou of his statement about "no boundary dis-
pute" between them.  Nehru further asserted that these "large
parts of India" being "anything but India, and there is no
dispute about them."  In a polite reply, Chou pointed out that
the frontier and boundary had never been officially agreed
upon by the two governments.  Chou reminded Nehru that no
central Chinese government had ever recognized the McMahon
Line, which he called "a product of the British policy of
aggression."  Premier Chou was especially adamant about Aksai
Chin, stating that Aksai Chin had "always been Chinese juris-
diction" and that it was regularly patrolled by Chinese border
patrols.  Chou proposed discussions leading to a mutually
agreed survey, and that both sides should maintain their
present positions--"maintain the status quo."  Chou meant
"status quo" to mean the present positions, now, and Nehru
read "status quo" to mean the position which had been "until
now."  This semantic difference would impair future under-
standings and discussions.  Chou's January, 1959 reply also
implied that China would be willing to stay behind the
McMahon Line in NEFA if China could retain her claim to Aksai
Chin.  Nehru's March, 1959 reply to Chou was an essentially
uncompromising account of the historical basis for the Indian
position on the boundary.
     In March, 1959, disorder and fighting worsened in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama crossed the McMahon Line into India and was
granted political asylum.  China had long suspected that India
was aiding the Tibetan rebels, and the deteriorating situation
in Tibet only aggravated Sino-Indian problems.  In March, a
large number of Khamba tribesmen had escaped into Nepal and
India, acquired arms, and then disappeared back into Tibet.
China thus felt it necessary to seal off the Indian frontier
along the McMahon Line, to prevent Tibetan rebels from cros-
sing into India to acquire arms.
     Meanwhile, the diplomatic exchanges continued.  But Nehru
maintained that there was little to negotiate about the fron-
tiers claimed by India.  He was prepared to discuss "minor
details" of border delimitation, but only if China would first
withdraw from, and renounce her claim to, Aksai Chin.  Chou
En-Lai consistently refused to accept any of India's claims,
and again proposed that negotiations start from the basis of
actual position on the ground.
     In mid-1959, India became sensitive about China's (anti-
Tibetan rebel) activity along the McMahon Line.  Indian border
police began to establish checkposts along the McMahon Line,
and moved border patrols forward toward the frontier of Tibet.
This resulted in two clashes in August, 1959.  In NEFA, the
Indians attempted to occupy the hamlet of Longju, north of
the McMahon Line, or at best a disputed border area.3  The
two sides exchanged fire, and the Indian border police soon
withdrew to the south.
     The second clash occurred at Konga Pass, south of the
Karakoram Range in western Tibet.  The skirmish at Konga (or
Konga La) Pass was a fire fight with losses on both sides--
probably nine Indians and several Chinese killed.  Author John
Rowland gives an empassioned description of how the Indian
patrol was captured, mistreated, interrogated, and "brain-
washed."4  There was controversy as to which side fired first,
but India publicized the incident as a "brutal massacre of an
Indian policy party."
     There was uproar in both countries about the Longju, Konga
Pass, and other minor clashes in 1959; both sides launched
letters of protest.  Chou's September, 1959 letter repeated
the Chinese position that the border had never been officially
delimited; he stated that while China did not recognize the
McMahon Line, Chinese troops had not crossed the Line.  Chou
described the boundary problem as a "complicated question left
over by history."  He further stated that Chinese troops were
on the border solely for the purpose of preventing Tibetan
rebels from moving back and forth over the border; he further
commented that the Indian responses were provocative and
unnecessary.  Nehru's September reply to Chou again outlined
the history and geography of the frontier question, and again
stated that no settlement could be reached until the Chinese
withdrew from all territory claimed by India, including Aksai
     Shortly after the Konga pass incident, President Eisen-
hower announced that he would visit New Delhi.  To China,
this gave the appearance of India growing closer to both the
United States and Russia.  This only strengthened China's per-
ception of India becoming more and more anti-Chinese.
     In New Delhi, Nehru was receiving some criticisms of his
policy of thrusting patrols into the frontier and setting up
posts.  Several senior Indian Army officers labeled the "for-
ward policy" as militarily unwise, on the grounds that the
Indian Army was neither militarily nor logistically prepared
to deal with Chinese military strength in the frontiers.  His
response to this military advice, unfortunately, was to re-
place the officers with more subservient ones.  Not only did
Nehru make the mistake of ignoring his senior officers' ad-
vice, he also made the simultaneous error of rigidly adhering
to three assumptions.  He assumed that the Chinese would not
stand up against an India backed by both the United States
and Russia, that China would not oppose his patrols and out-
posts, and that Peking would readily withdraw under Indian
pressure.  All these assumptions were to prove erroneous,
especially as Chou had warned Nehru not to pursue such a for-
ward policy.
     The diplomatic letters between Chou and Nehru continued
through the end of 1959 and into 1960.  In November, 1959,
Chou proposed that both sides withdraw their troops twenty
kilometers behind the McMahon Line, and also twenty kilometers
from the line up to which each side exercised actual control
in Aksai Chin.  This would have removed the Indian army from
its positions along the McMahon Line, and would have retained
Chinese control, in Aksai Chin, over the Sinkiang-Tibet
military highway and a new road which the Chinese built in
1959.  While Chou's proposal was, of course, favorable to the
Chinese, he was nevertheless proposing talks and a compromise.
Nehru's November reply neither totally accepted nor rejected
Chou's proposal.  Nehru ruled out the idea of withdrawing
from the McMahon Line, but proposed instead that each side
refrain from sending patrols forward.  For Aksai Chin, Nehru
proposed that each side withdraw behind the line claimed by
the other; this would have necessitated no drawback by the
Indians in the west, but would have deprived China of its two
Aksai Chin roads.  Nehru implied that acceptance of this pro-
posal was a prerequisite for any further talks between him-
self and Chou.  Nehru thus rejected what he must have known
to be the best Chinese offer he was likely to get without
going to war.5  Chou's December reply was that, since the
Konga Pass incident, China had stopped sending patrols out
along the entire frontier.  Chou further stated that Nehru's
proposal was one-sided, and urged that the two leaders meet
in less than ten days.  Nehru understandably declined to meet
on such short notice, but proposed no alternate date.  In late
December, China replied with another historical view of her
side of the boundary dispute, and again asked for negotiations
but without specifying a date.  Nehru replied in February,
1960, again giving the Indian historical position and noting
that there was little or no common ground on their respective
viewpoints.  But Nehru did propose further talks, and Chou
did come to New Delhi in April, 1960; the talks were a total
failure.  Like the one-sided diplomatic letters, neither side
was willing to change its position; hence, no compromises
were presented.
     Thus, the early 1960 diplomatic efforts at settlement or
even compromise, between India and China, were essentially a
total failure.  Talks in late 1963 resulted in complete dis-
agreement; each side even published incompatible reports of
the discussions.
     In 1960, China made a preliminary border settlement with
Nepal.  By the end of 1960, China had also made a boundary
agreement with Burma.  The Sino-Burmese border began not at
the McMahon Line, but eight miles further south; this placed
Diphu Pass--a strategic approach to eastern Assam--in Chinese
territory.  India was outraged and worried.
     But no settlemt or compromise occurred in Sino-Indian
relationships.  China was willing to compromise on NEFA; thus,
eastern Ladakh (Aksai Chin) emerged as the major area of dis-
pute.  With the continued failure of diplomatic efforts, the
the uncompromising attitudes of both sides remained unchanged
until the outbreak of hostilities in 1962.
     By 1961, India had acquired aircraft, helicopters, engi-
neering and other military equipment from the United States
and Russia.  Thus equipped, the Indian army invaded Portugese
Goa in December, 1961.  Goa was rapidly constitutionally in-
corporated into the Indian republic.  Although no real pro-
tests or opposition occurred as a result of this action, the
annexation of Goa reinforced China's view of India as being
	This foreign military support also encouraged India to
pursue her forward policy in Aksai Chin.  In 1961, India had
purchased eight Antov transports--complete with 40 Soviet
pilots, navigators and mechanics--for use in Aksai Chin.
Russian also supplied India with 24 Ilyushin-14 transports and
Mil'-4  helicopters, capable of lifting men and supplies to
altitudes of 17,000 feet.  By mid-1962, India had also agreed
to buy two squadrons of Soviet MIG jet fighters.  Thus forti-
fied, India pursued a more aggressive foreign policy against
	By the end of 1961, Nehru had sent enough Indian Army
troops into Aksai Chin to establish about  43 posts on the
Ladakh frontier claimed by China.  Many of the Indian outposts
were parallel to, but about 100 miles from, the first Chinese
military road.  However, three of the outposts were near Konga
Pass, in the vicinity of the second Chinese highway.
	In August, 1961, China began sending a series of angry
protests to India.  China had one basic arguement:  that Indan
troops had intruded into Chinese territory.  Nehru's response
to Chou's complaints was that his (Nehru's) purpose was to
"vacate the aggression (by the Chinese) by whatever means are
feasible to us. . . . I do not see any kind of peace in the
frontier so long as all recognised aggression is not vacated."6
	The latter half of 1961 brought China and India to in-
creasing confrontations and skirmishes.  Exchanges of fire
became commonplace.  A November confrontation in Chip Chap
Valley left several Chinese soldiers dead; this was followed
by a Chinese withdrawal.  Such "victories" convinced Nehru
that the Chinese would not be assertive and that his forward
policy of outposts and patrols was the correct course for
India.  Despite continuing protests from senior Indian Army
officers that India should first build up forces and logistic
supplies in the frontier before embarking further, Nehru
ordered even more aggressive moves into Aksai Chin.
	Thus, by early 1962, the Chinese leadership perceived
that the Indian government intended to launch a massive attack
against Chinese troops; they apparently believed that India
had decided to go to war over the issue.  China's firm insis-
tence over her territorial rights to Aksai Chin and India's
aggressive forward policy of sending troops into the frontier
would soon bring further confrontations and eventual armed
			Chapter III
		The Combatants:  The
	  Chinese and Indian Armies
			in 1962
	The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) is the unified
organization, under a single command, of all Chinese land,
sea, and air forces (see Figure 1, below).  The estimated
Click here to view image
strength of the PLA in 1962 was approximately three million
officers and men.  The 1962  ground combat forces consisted of
about 130 divisions, mostly infantry.  China is divided into
eleven military regions, including the Sinkiang Military Re-
gion--responsible for Aksai China--and Chengtu Military Re-
gion--reponsible for the northeast Indian border.
Click here to view image
	Chinese combat power was organized around an Army (see
Figure 2), with a strength of approximately 4,500 officers and
38,400 soldiers.  Each Army has three Infantry Divisions, with
a strength of approximately 1,300 officers and 11,300 soldiers
in each Division.  Major equipment of the Infantry Division
included the Light Machine Gun, Antitank Grenade Launcher, and
Mortars.  Infantry Divisions included three Infantry Regiments,
a Tank Regiment and an Artillery Regiment.  An Infantry Regi-
ment had three Infantry Battalions, equipped with 7.62mm Assault
Rifles and Carbines.  Even with China's massive combat manpower
available, the nature of the 1962 Border War--mountain and cold
weather operations--dictated tactics generally limited to the
battalion and company level.
	The PLA had both strengths and weakness in its readiness
for mountain warfare against India.  Perhaps China's biggest
weakness was the economic and budgetary constraints on the
Army.  The Soviets has willingly supplied the PLA in the
1950's.  But deteriorating relations--including border disputes--
with Russia led to the end of Soviet military aid in 1960.
Further, China faced national economic difficulties in the
late 1950s and early 1960s.  This resulted in progressive
cutbacks and constraints from 1960 to 1962 for the PLA:
". . . . so serious was the shortage of military equipment 
and materials that it caused trouble in the training pro-
gram. . . . The Ground Force is also facing the difficulties
of obtaining fuel, ammunition, and batteries for the use of
their vehicles and in training."  The 1962  Taiwan Strait
Crisis put further strains on the PLA's resources.  Clearly,
the watchword for the PLA was self-reliance--making due with
the supplies and equipment that were available.  Finally,
while there has often been political control of the PLA,
there was especially tight central control regarding border
incidents; official orders in all border regions stated that
". . . . under no circumstance should an officer upon his own
personal responsibility take steps to carry out an unauthorized
decision" regarding any border/international incident; officers
were directed to report incidents, and then await decisions
and orders.1
	On the positive side, the PLA was well prepared for moun-
tain warfare in the Himalayas.  China had gained extensive
experience in both mountain and cold weather warfare in Korea;
many Korea verterans were still in the PLA in the early 1960s.
Not only had China gained further experience in alpine warfare
over the past twelve years in Tibet, but she was fighting in
the same area (the Himalayas being the southern frontier of
Tibet).  The Chinese were acclimitized to the weather and the
altitudes (see Figure 3).  They had outposts, patrols, and
military construction (e.g. the two Aksai Chin roads) in the
frontier.  Further, the Chinese augmented their strength and
mobility by using local Tibetan guides.
Click here to view image
	Finally, the PLA was well prepared for this type of war-
fare.  The troops had warm, padded uniforms.  They carried
only what rations they needed to complete a particular mis-
sion.  And they trained and practiced mobility, moving through
mountain passes or over ridges at night, encircling the enemy.
Even their mortars and small artillery was mobile.  The Indian
soldiers would report that the Chinese burp gun and human wave
assaults were "demoralizing."
	Despite its defense budget problems, the People's Libera-
tion Army appeared to be prepared and ready for military opera-
tions in the Himalayas.  The Indian Army's readiness for alpine
warfare was quite a different story.
	The Indian Ministry of Defense was the central agency
for formulating and implementing the government's policy deci-
sions on defense matters.  There were three branches of ser-
vice:  army, navy, and air force.  The Army was organized into
three Commands - Western, Eastern, and Southern.  Units from
the Eastern and Western Commands would be organized into Corps-
level Border Commands.  XXIII Corps was responsible for all
of NEFA; within XXXIII Corps, 4 Division was responsible for
the McMahon Line.  The IV Corps would be formed in September,
1962, to assume portions of the NEFA defense.  In the west,
XV Corps had responsibility for Aksai Chin, (see Figure 4).
	When India gained her independence in 1947, the Indian
components of the British Indian Army were divided between
Indian and Pakistan on a ratio of 2:1.  The first years of the
Indian republic were marked with a generally anti-military
attitude; many Indian leaders remembered the role of the army
in the bloody civil war that preceeded independence; this 
helped contribute to pacifistic attitudes.  Further, Nehru
(and others) minimized foreign threats; in regard to China,
Nehru stated that the Himalayas "made an effective barrier."
Thus, the 1950s was generally a decade of neglect for the
Indian Army.
	Because India believed that there was no external threat
to her--with the exception of Pakistan--the national defense
budget was minimal.  In the mid-1950s, the Army numbered about
350,000, and there was only minimal growth in manpower over
the next several years; after India's 1962 defeat, the Army's
numbers would leap to 827,000!
Click here to view image
	The Indian Army had significant personnel problems.  The
Army had only eight divisions--seven infantry and one armor.
Only three battalions were available to the Western Command
in the early 1960s.  The budget constraints on the army and
India's pacifistic attitude aggravated another problem:  the
British had provided much of the leadership of the British
Indian army; without the British, there was a shortage of
experienced officers and NCOs.  It was thus difficult to build
up military strength, especially when the advice of experi-
enced senior officers was often ignored.
	Apparently, Indian intelligence was also lacking.  Their
lack of preparedness for warfare in the Himalayas would indi-
cate a very poor concept of the topography and weather in the
area, resulting in very poor mobility across the mountains.
Indian intelligence and reconnaissence seemed ignorant of
Chinese strength, mobility and tactics, especially night move-
ments and human wave attacks which the Indians called the "Red
Ant Swarm."
	The Indians had problems with fire power.  Because of
limited budget, they had minimal artillery and difficulty
keeping it adequately supplied with ammunition. The artillery
they did have was often immobile in the mountains.
	Another area affected by the budget was training.  Tech-
nical training was lacking, and there were simply not enough
supplies and munitions for adequate training.  Worse, there
was little training for mountain warfare.
	Perhaps the major problem--another result of the limited
defense budget--was the logistic one.  Even with foreign aid
(primarily from Russia), the Indian army was lacking in vir-
tually every area of equipment and supplies.  The logistic
shortfalls had many serious consequences.  India lacked the
engineering equipment for alpine operations.  They had tentage,
but not enought to house even half the soldiers.  Rations were
often in short supply, resulting in many hungry days for the
Indian soldiers.  Their communications equipment was minimal.
And, almost unbelievably, the Indian army came to the Himalayas
(to altitudes above 15,000 feet) in cotton, summer uniforms!
Finally, transportation of supplies was a serious problem.
Roads into the mountains were few; often, supplies came on
long final legs by pack animal.  The Indians resorted to supply
by air drop, but even this had problems.  Aging parachutes were
used with supplies, and supplies crashed to the ground often
when the parachutes failed.  To make matters worse, many of
the air drops landed on Chinese, rather than Indian, encamp-
ments (and to add insult to injury, the Chinese would throw
out the "inedible" Indian rations)!
	In summary, the Indian army was in a poor state, especially
in their readiness for alpine warfare.  Their fire power, supply
system, training, and readiness for mountain operations were
all quite lacking.  They had significant personnel shortages,
and would often be outnumbered by the Chinese by 5:1.2  To pit
troops in such circumstances against an enemy superior in every
detail of military strength would be absurd; to leave them in
an early winter of heavy snow and freezing temperatures would
be to condemn them to steady and severe attrition from expo-
sure and illness and, before long, starvation.3  But this is
what India did.
	Under these circumstances, India's forward policy was
militarily nonsensical.  But some politicians and leaders sim-
ply believe what they want to believe.  Nehru was still con-
vinced that his army would be almost invincible against the
Chinese.  He would soon learn how wrong he was.
				Chapter IV
			Summer 1962 Skirmishes
	Well into 1962, Nehru continued to ignore the advice of
his generals about the army's poor state of readiness; he also
continued to assume that China would not or could not assert
herself against India.  Hence, Nehru continued his "forward
policy" of furter extending Indian outposts and border pat-
rols (see Map Eight).
Click here to view image
	India's purpose was to pursue the forward policy to drive
the Chinese out of any area New Delhi considered hers.  On
February 4, 1962, the Home Minister declared, "If the Chinese
will not vacate the areas occupied by her, India will have to
repeat what she did in Goa.  She will certainly drive out the
Chinese forces."  The Indian strategy in early 1962 was to
move behind Chinese posts in an attempt to cut off Chinese
supplies. China's reaction any new Indian outpost, thought,
was usually to surround it with superior forces.
	The diplomatic letters and protests continued, usually
totally uncompromising and unproductive.  In January, both
sides accused the other of violating their air space.  A Feb-
ruary 26th Chinese not suggested that maintaining the status
quo of the boundary was the only way to avoid military clashes,
and again suggested  withdrawing the troops of each side twenty
kilometers back.  The note concluded with the statement that
"the door for negotiations is always open."  In fact, China
had already stopped all patrols within twenty kilometers of
the border.  But India again rejected th proposal, and con-
tinued to insist that the Chinese withdraw to behind the In-
dian claim line before there would be any negotiations on the
border question.  In April, Nehru announced that "We do not
want war with China, but that is not within our control.
Therefore we have to prepare for the contingency."1  An April
Chinese letter protested Indian intrusions, and demanded that
India withdraw from the Karakoram area.  On May 14th, the
Indians proposed to allow China to "continue to use the Aksai
Chin road for civilian traffic" if China would otherwise with-
draw from all Indian-claimed territory.  China's reply rejec-
ted the idea but again stated that it was better to resolve
the issue than to fight.  In June, the 1954 Trade Agreements,
including the Five Principles of Coexistence, expired; talks
produced no new trade agreement, and trade representatives
returned home.  Relations between the two countries continued
to deteriorate.
	Throughout the early months of 1962, China had several
external problems, especially the Taiwan Straits Crisis.
Chinese leaders continued to insist that they did not want
war, but that Aksai Chin was clearly Chinese and was stra-
tegically important to the People's Republic.  China began
to commit more border patrols--in reaction to increased border
activity by Indian troops in Spring 1962.  In June, when the
Taiwan Strait situation eased, China's attention returned to
the border situation and she brought more pressure to bear on
New Delhi.  India, too, continued to escalate by establishing
new outposts to "defend Indian territory from further inroads."
	The crisis had brewed for three years.  Despite many
menacing confrontations and endless protests, there had
been very few casualties thus far.  But in July this changed.
	A Gurkha platoon had been sent forward to cut off Chinese
outposts in the Galwan Valley (in Aksai Chin).  On July 10th,
a Chinese battalion surrounded the Indian post, cutting it off
from supplies.  The Chinese were attempting to halt Indian
advances in Ladakh; but India continued to supply the Galwan
Valley outpost by air drop.  New Delhi sent a reinforcing force
toward Galwan Valley, but it was turned back by the Chinese.
India was continuing to move forward in an attempt to pressure
China into withdrawing from the disputed area.
	On July 21st,  there was a skirmish in the Chip Chap Val-
ley.  Two Indian soldiers were wounded, the first since Konga
Pass in 1959.  The Chinese protested, and also accused India
of violating the McMahon Line in NEFA.
	Indeed, General B. M. Kaul, then Chief of the General
Staff, had ordered the establishment of 24 posts along the
McMahon Line.  In June, local Indian commanders had estab-
lished Dhola Post, in Tawang. The relevant issue was that
Dhola Post was one mile north of the McMahon Line, in Chinese
territory even by Indian standards.  On August 4th, Peking
accused  India of violating the McMahon Line (at Dhola), and
of aggression beyond its own claimed border--and therefore
into Chinese territory.
	But Chinese pressure was ineffective.  On August 14th,
Nehru told Parliament that India had three times as many posts
in Ladakh as China; Nehru asked for a free hand to deal with
China, and Parliament gave it to him.
	In August, China improved its combat readiness in NEFA,
Tibet and Sinkiang.  While there was no sign of a manpower
buildup in Tibet, there was construction of ammunition dumps
and shockpiling of ammunition, weapons, and gasoline.
	On September 8th, the Chinese reacted to the Indian out-
post at Dhola.  A Chinese patrol of sixty soldiers--which the
Indian commander reported as 600--moved over and down the Thag
La Ridge, into positions which dominated the Indian post at
Dhola.  The Chinese patrol suggested that local officials meet
to discuss where the border lay.  Orders from Nehru refuded
any discussions and orders the army to relieve the Dhola Post
and force the Chinese back behind Thag La Ridge.  A serious
clash between the sides ensured.  The XXXIII Corps commander,
General Umrao Singh, had protested that driving the Chinese
back behind the Ridge was militarily nonsensical; Singh was
later relieved and replaced by the more compliant General B. M.
Kaul.  Nehru used the Thag La incident to whip up national and
international support.  Further skirmished continued through
	By late September, China had resumed patrols along the
entire border.  On September 20th, another clash occurred at
Chedong, at the junction of India, Bhutan and Tibet.  Both
sides took casualties, including one Chinese officer killed.
The fighting for physical control of disputed land was in-
	There were both Indian and Chinese protests about the
Chedong incident:  India accused China of expansionism, and
China warned that there was a limit to her patience and self-
restraint.  Unfortunately for the Indians, Chedong was another
area where China seems to have had legitimate claim.  Many
Indians must have questioned India's actions in Chedong, north
of the McMahon Line (and Nehru's orders to push the Chinese
back even further); pushing military force past India's claimed
boundary clearly made India the aggressor in this and some
subsequent clashes.  Much of the more serious fighting to come
in October was not in the areas which both China and India
claimed, but in areas (Tawang and Walong) where China had a
legitimate claim or where India had pushed beyond the McMahon
	Sporadic fighting in the Chedong area continued for the
next few weeks, suggesting that India was determined to drive
Chinese forces back.  Now, India seemed unwilling even to dis-
cuss any border issues or proposals.  An October 3rd Chinese
note suggested a meeting to discuss the entire border was met
with a curt Indian refusal.
	On September 26th, General Kaul assumed command of XXXIII
Corps; this Corps was hampered by widely dispursed troop con-
centrations, few weapons, inadequate supplies, and no winter
clothing.  On October 5th, India created a special Border Com-
mand under the command of General Kaul.  Kaul was already in
NEFA, preparing an "all out effort" to expel the Chinese from
Thag La.
	On October 9th, General Kaul ordered General John Dalvi,
Commander of the Seventh Brigade, to take Yumtso La Pass.
Dalvi argued that he lacked the military resources--and the
winter clothing--to take the 16,000 foot Pass.  Kaul compro-
mised, and sent a fifty man patrol to Tseng Jong.  the patrol
reached Tseng Jong before dark on October 9th without Chinese
resistance.  Little did the patrol know that bloody fighting--
and the China-India Border War--was only a few hours away.
				Chapte V
			 The Border War
	The serious fighting of the 1962 China-India Border War
extended from October 10, 1962, until November 20, 1962.  While
the entire border was the issue, the actual fighting occurred
in three widely separated areas:  Walong, Tawang, and Aksai
Chin.  It is significant that while over 47,000 square miles
of frontier were in contention between China and India, that
the fighting was confined to areas where the Chinese felt that
they had legitimate claims.  In Walong, the British (O'Calla-
ghan, in 1914) had moved the previously agreed British and
Chinese border markers northward.  In Tawang, portions of
India's forward policy extended even north of their claim,
the McMahon Line.  And in Aksai Chin, the Chinese firmly be-
lieved that the (1899) MacDonald-Macartney Line had been the
accepted boundary for decades.  In any case, no official boun-
dary, over the 2,500 miles frontier, had ever been negotiated
and established between the two countries.
	An Indian patrol of fifty Rajputs had moved to Yumtso La
without incident on the evening of October 9th.  At daybreak
on October 10th, they began to move toward the Yumtso La
bridges.  Outnumbering the Indians by about 20:1, a full bat-
talion of Chinese emerged from their positions and quickly
moved down the ridge, to form for attack.  The Indian positions
came under fire from heavy mortars.  The Indians were able to
hold off the first Chinese assault; the Chinese were apparently
unaware of the Indian positions covering Tseng Jong village
from the flank, and enfilade fire caused heavy Chinese
casualties.  The Indian commander at Tseng Jong asked for
covering fire while he withdrew from what he felt was a hope-
less position; but the covering fires were refused.  As the
Chinese pressed their attack, the Indian force of fifty was
ordered to disengage and retreat to the river; engagement at
Tseng Jong would have meant disaster for the Indians.  The
Chinese allowed them to withdraw, and held their fire as the
survivors crossed the bridge to the south.  Chinese casualties
were 33 killed or wounded.  Indian casualties were seven
killed, seven missing, and eleven wounded--50% casualties.
The Chinese buried the Indian dead with full military honors,
in plain view of the retreating Indian comrades withdrawing
south of the river.
	The brief battle at Tseng Jong would have grave implica-
tions.  The Chinese had attacked the Indians with force and
determination.  Most important, Chinese forces had not retired
as General Kaul and Prime Minister Nehru had assumed when they
formulated their forward policy.  It was now clear to Kaul
that capturing Thag La Ridge was out of the question.  The 
Seventh Brigade remained on the Namka Chu (see Map Nine, next
page), and was even ordered to extend its posts to the western
end of the ridge.  On October 12th, Nehru confirmed that he
had ordered the army to clear the Chinese from Indian terri-
tory.  But by Octover 18th, it was evident that the Chinese
were making preparations for an attack; their troop and supply
buildups provided ample indication of pending assault.
Click here to view image
	Meanwhile, on October 18th, the Indians were concerned
about Tsang Le; Tsang Le was no more than a positon marked
by a herdsman's hut at the sourse of the Namka Chu, but it
was tactically important as a possible flank approach to the
Chinese positions below Thag La Ridge.  One Indian company
had occupied Tsang Le since early October; the Chinese had
promptly dispatched troops to protect against a flank attack.
On October 18th, General Kaul ordered two companies to
Tsang Le.  Tsang Le, though, was not only north of the McMahon
Line, but also was inside Bhutan; the Indian companies were
told to ignore the Line and the boundary.1  On the 19th, the
two companies prepared to move toward Tsang Le.
	On the night of October 19-20, three regiments of Chinese
troops prepared and deployed for their assault on the (Indian)
Seventh Brigade in the Namka Chu River area (see Map Nine, page
59).  The Indians had expected the Chinese to cross the Namka
Chu by one or more of the five bridges (marked Br 1, B2, etc.
on Map Nine), and hence were defending these crossings.  But
the Namka Chu, running easterly 1 - 2 miles north of the McMahon
Line, was fordable; the Chinese generally forded rather than
use the bridges.  the Chinese struck near Hathung La and at
Tsangdhar; but the weight of the Chinese attack was in the
center of the river line.  Gurkhas on their way to Tsang Le
were victims of Chinese artillery.  The Indian units fought
fiercely against overwhelming odds, but their positions were
overrun one by one.  By 9 a.m. the Chinese had secured the
riverline.  Not only had the Chinese readily taken Indian posi-
tions, but they also cut Indian telephone lines.  The Seventh
Brigade quickly lost cohesion as a fighting force, and was
granted permission to withdraw.
	The Chinese plan was to sieze Tsangdhar and Hathung La,
to cut off both escape and possible resupply.  The plan had
worded perfectly, especially with the massive Chinese advantage
in both troops and firepower.  The survivors and remnants of
Indian troops withdrew back to Tawang, and the Seventh Brigade
effectively ceased to exist as a fighting force by October 22nd.
And Tsang Le, so important to General Kaul, was ignored by the
Chinese, probably because the Chinese maps (like the Indians')
showed Tsang Le in Bhutan.
	General L. P. Sen, Commander-in-Chief of Eastern Command,
flew to Tawang on October 22nd by helicopter.  He ordered the
remnants of the Indian troops--two infantry battalions and
some artillery--to "hold Tawang at all costs."  Sen flew back
to Tezpur on October 23rd.
Click here to view image
	Immediately following the Thag La Ridge-Namka Chu River
victory, the Chinese developed a three-prong attack (see Map
Ten, page 61).  On October 23rd, the three regiments which had
defeated the Seventh Brigade had come throug Shakti and were
poised ten miles north of Tawang.  A second prong had come
through Khinezemane and joined with the first force.  A third
line of advance came dwon through Bum La.  Tawang was poorly
suited for the defense, and the Indians decided to withdraw.
Tawang was evacuated on October 23rd, and the Chinese occupied
it--essentially unopposed--on the next day.  Indian forces had
now withdrawn to Se La, which they planned to reinforce and
defend in strength.  There were attacks against Indian posts
elsewhere along the McMahon Line in the Tawang Tract; these
had fallen under varying degrees of pressure.
	In the eastern end of NEFA, the Chinese made some probing
attacks against Walong on October 24th and 25th.  But after
October 25th, NEFA fell into a lull, with the majority of Chi-
nese forces paused in Tawang, about ten miles south of the
McMahon Line.
	Meanwhile, there had been significant fighting in the
western sector, in Aksai Chin.  On October 20th, simultaneous
with the Thag La Ridge attack, the Chinese assaulted Indian
posts in Chip Chap Valley, Galwan Valley, and Pangong Lake
(see Map Eleven, next page). The Galwn post had been sur-
rounded by the Chinese in August, and had thence been sup-
polied by air.  Galwan post was finally attacked and overrun
on October 20th; after reporting that the Chinese had begun
to shell the post, it was not heard from again.  Numerous
small posts were soon overwhelmed and the scant garrisons were
either captured or killed. The Western Command then recog-
nized the magnitude of the Chinese attack, and many of the
small, isolated posts withdrew to the southwest.  On October
21st, after heavy fighting, the Chinese took the posts at the 
north side of Pangong Lake.  More posts, including Daulet Beg
Oldi, were evacuated; but the Chinese did not approach Daulet
Beg Oldi, for it laid south of their claim line.  By pulling
troops back, General Daulat Singh of the Western Command had
methodically and rapidly built up strength to prepare for any
Click here to view image
further Chinese attacks.  By the first week of November, three
brigades--each with four infantry battalions--were organizing
under Singh in Leh.
	In late October, the Eastern Command made numerous chan-
ges--in both command and organization--in the Indian forces
after the October defeats.  Much of the energies of the Eastern
Command were absorbed with these personnel moves; instead of
organizing forces, these changes only resulted in confusion
amongst the Indian troops on the eastern front.
	After the Chinese victories in mid- to late-October, there
was a two week lull in Chinese military activity.  But it was
replaced by a flurry of diplomatic activity.
	On October 24th, four days after the outbreak of heavy
fighting in NEFA and Aksai Chin, Chou sent a letter to Nehru,
proposing: 1) a negotiated settlement of the boundary, 2) that
both sides disengage and withdraw twenty kilometers from pre-
sent lines of actual control, 3) a Chinese withdrawal north
in NEFA, and 4) that China and India not cross lines of pre-
sent control in Aksai Chin.
	Nehru's reply of October 27th appeared eager to restore
peace and friendly relations, but questioned a mutual twenty
kilometer withdrawl after "40 or 60 kilometers of blatant
military aggression."  Nehru proposed, instead, a return to
the "boundary prior to 8 September 1962" before any Chinese
attacks; only then would India be interested in talks.
	Chou's reply came on November 4th, and clarified his in-
tent of "line of actural control."  Chou's "line"--the same
that he had repeatedly offered since 1959--was simply the
Indian-claimed McMahon Line in NEFA and the traditionally
claimed MacDonald Line in Aksai Chin.
	Simultaneously, external forces began to influence the
Border War situation.  Russia, India's supporter through the
1950s, was endorsing the Chinese peace proposal.  But in early
November, Russia was preoccupied with the Cuban Missile Crisis,
and paid little attention to the Border War.  Without Soviet
support, India had courted support from both England and the
United States; military supplies from both countries began
arriving in early November.  The Americans seemed eager to
help India against the perceived menace of Communism; Washing-
ton also made plans to send a carrier task force to the Bay of
	The political activities continued.  On November 8th, the
Indian Parliament proclaimed a state of national emergency
and adoped a resolution to "drive out the aggressors from the
sacred soil of India."  Through the first two weeks of Novem-
ber, China had refrained from any further assaults; Peking
obviously wanted a diplomatic resolution.  On November 14th,
Nehru wrote another letter to Chou, again rejecting Chou's
October 24th proposal, and again refuting any Chinese border
claims.  But the exchanges between the two countries and the
external military support to India had produced no movement
toward settlement or compromise.  On November 14th, the
fighting resumed again.
	The Indians had withdrawn from Tawang on October 23rd.
The initial withdrawls plan was to draw back to Bomdi La (see
Map Ten, page 61), the northermost point which would allow
for a logistic buildup. But the withdrawl orders were almost
immediately modified to a withdrawal only to, and defense of,
Se La.  Se La did appear to be a good defensible position:
the only road to Bomdi La ran through Se La, Se La Pass domi-
nated the road from Tawang, and there were dominating peaks
on both sides of the Pass.  At 14,000+ feet altitude, Se La
was definitely "high ground."  The problem, however, was the
altitude:  the weather was harsh, Se La was far from supplies
in Bomdi La, and the altitude made air drop of supplies quite
difficult.  Even if Se La was strongly defended, the Indians
knew that they must simultaneously prepare to defend Bomdi La,
for they now realized that the Chinese were not a road-bound
fighting force.  The decision to hold Se La committed the In-
dians to an extended area, from Se La to Bomdi La, over sixty
miles of high-altitude, difficult road.
	Over the next several days, the Se La-Bomdi La defense
began to form.  Se La was sporadically supplied by air.  The
Indian Government had considered tactical air operations
against Chinese positions, but ruled out air strikes because
of fear of Chinese retaliation.  A supply and manpower buildup
began in NEFA.  But there was no Chinese attack during the
first two weeks of November; and when the first new assault
came, it was far from Se La.
	The Eleventh Brigade of the Second Division took over the
Walong sector on October 31st; the Eleventh was the third unit
in ten days to be assigned responsibility for Walong (because
of the numerous changes in command).  The Walong detachment of
three infantry battalions was not, however, preparing for a
defense.  Even though Chinese strength at Rima (see Map Seven
page 27)  was estimated at a Division, the Walong force was
planning to attack the Chinese on November 14th, Nehru's birth-
day.  General Kaul had planned a "first major success against
the enemy"  as a birthday present to Nahru.
	On November 14th, two companies of the Kumaon battalion,
supported by mortars and artillery, launched an assault against
a strategic hill held by company of Chinese fire, then stopped
fifty yards from the crest, exhausted.  A Chinese night coun-
ter-attack cleared the Indians off the hill.  The survivors--
less than half the attacking force--returned to Walong.  The
Chinese followed the retreating Indians and penetrated the
main Indian defenses.  Indian artillery could not assist the
defense; all rounds had been used in the attack on the Chinese
hill.  Key defensive points were overrun, and a withdrawal was
ordered at 10 a.m. on November 16th.  But many of the Indian
troops did not receive the order, and fought to the death at
their positions.  The remnants of the Walong brigade withdrew
down Lohit Valley; even in withdrawl, many died either from
amushes or from privation.  The Chinese did not pursue the
retreating troops further.  The withdrawing General Kaul sent
a rather frantic message to New Delhi:
		The enemy strength is now so great and his
		overall strength so superior that you should
		ask the highest authorities to get such
		foreign armed forces to come to our aid as are
		willing to do so. . . . it seems beyond the
		capability of our armed forces to stem the
		tide of the superior Chinese forces which he
		has and will continue to concentrate against
		us to our disadvantage.  This is not a coun-
		sel of fear, but facing stark realities.2
Only hours after the Walong defeat, fighting would resume in
both Aksai Chin and Se La.
	In Ladakh, the Western Command continued a steady build-
up of forces.  By mid-November, a brigade was in place at
Chushul (Chusul).  Some of the forces were at Chushul village
and airport, west of the Chinese claim line (see Map Twelve,
next page).  Some of the Indian defenses were to the east of
the claim line; in fact, the forces east of Chushul were the
only Indian forces left in Chinese-clamed territory in Aksai
Chin; all other Indian posts in Chinese-claimed territory had
been either withdrawn or wiped out.  Western Command had made
Chushul key terrain as a blocking point between the Chinese
and the city of Leh.  It is notable that the positions around
Chushul were at 14,000-16,000 feet altitude:  there was no wood
for fires or for constructing bunkers, frozen ground had to be
blasted for entrenchments, and even acclimatized troops could
work only for short periods.  Yet, some strong Indian posi-
tions were in place by November 17th.
	Chinese reconnaissance patrols were visible east of Chu-
shul in mid-November, but no fire was exchanged.  On November
17th, a strong Chinese force moved westward toward Chushul.
And in the early hours of November 18th, Chinese artillery
Click here to view image
opened fire on Indian outposts.  Mortars and rockets also
softened the Indian entrenchments.  The Chinese attempted a 
frontal infantry attack, but it was repelled.  Soon, though,
the Chinese moved to envelop the Indian positions.  In heavy
fighting, the Chinese rear and flank attacks were successful.
The casualties were heavy for the Indians; one company had
only three survivors--the remainder was found fronzen as they
died weapons in hand.  The Chinese suffered heavy casualties,
too.  Five hours into the attack, the Chinese had overrun, or
forced the evacuation of, every Indian position east of the 
claim line.  The withdrawing Indians regrouped as best they
could in the village (and heights behind) Chushul.  But the
Chinese attack on Chushul village never came; the Chinese
stopped at their claim line and  did not assault Chushul it-
self.  The War in the western sector was over.  Not a single
Indian force remained within the Chinese-claimed territory.
By the end of November 18th, all of Aksai Chin was in Chinese
	In the Se La-Bomdi La sector of NEFA, a steady Indian
buildup continued.  By November 17th, Fouth Division had ten
infantry battalions and some supporting arms--mortars, artil-
lery, and twelve tanks.  Concentrated, it could have been a 
formidable defense; but the force was spread out over the 60
twisty miles of road between Se La and Bomdi La, with the com-
mander and main defenses at Se La.  Five battalions were
at Se La; three, at Bomdi La; and two were at Dirange Dzong*,
halfway between.  The commander, Brigadier Hosair Singh, soon
established his headquarters at the Dzong.  Dirang Dzong was
poorly suited for defenses; but the Indians intended strong
defenses at Se la and Bomdi La, both of which were well sur-
rounded by hill masses.  The defense might have been more suc-
cessful--if the Chinese had been limited to the road.  But
* A Dzong is a Tibetan monastery-fortress.
there were trails--most notably the Bailey Trail (see Map
Thirteen, below).
Click here to view image
	Captain F. M. Bailey had explored into Tibet in 1913;
his work helped McMahon to draw his boundary line.  Bailey had
made his way from Tulung La to Lap, and thence through Tse La
Pass and southward.  The 1962 Indian forces soon came to rea-
lize that the Chinese could use the Trail that Bailey had used
half a century before.  If the Chinese did come down Bailey
Trail, they would emerge at Thembang, between Dirang Dzong and
Bomdi La.  Such a Chinese move would cut off Dirang Dzong and
Se La.  Yet, despite this, there remained the underlying In-
dian faith that the Chinese would not attack.
	A few blocking forces were sent out in early November: a
company to  Phutang and a platoon sent up the Bailey Trail to
Poshing La.  As November advanced, more attention was given to 
Bailey Trail.  Three more platoos--now making a company--were
dispatched to Poshing La.  
	On November 15th, the Chinese--probably a battalion--at-
tacked the company at Poshing La.  Radio reports indicated
that the Chinese had wiped out the Indian force.  But Headquar-
ters could not believe that the Chinese could bring a full bat-
talion down the mountain trail, and a second company from Bomdi
La was sent up Bailey Trail.  A third company was brought from
Bomdi La to Dirang Dzong.  By November 16th, the three batta-
lions stationed at Bomdi La was cut to half strenght.  
	The second company sent to Bailey Trail dug in at Tembang
(Thembang) on the morning of November 17th.  A Chinese force
of about 1500 attacked the company soon after midday.  The In-
dians resisted for three hours, inflicting heavy Chinese casu-
alties.  But logistics problems struck again: the Indians began
to run out of ammunition.  With darkness falling, the Indian
company began to withdraw.  But in the darkness and in thick
vegetation, and orderly withdrawal soon turned into chaotic
flight.  None of the company returned to Bomdi La; weeks later,
stragglers began appearing on the plains to the south.  Again
the superior strength of the Chinese and the logistic problems
of the Indians had lead to another Indian defeat.  But now,
the Chinese had cut the road between Bomdi La and Dirang
Dzong; about 10,000 Indian troops were northwest of the Chi-
nese road block (see Map Thirteen, page 71).
	There was a brief (and almost the only) bright moment for
the Indians on November 17th.  Simultaneous with the Bailey
Trail action, the Chinese had launched an attack on Se La.
But Se La was well defended; between dawn and midafternoon,
the Chinese launched five assaults on Se La, and five times
they were repulsed.  With five battalions plus artillery, the
Se La force was strong--until its main supply route was cut
off when the Chinese took Thembang.
	Were the Indians at Se La to hold and continue defending,
supplied by air?  Or should the force withdraw, and if so
could it break through the Chinese roadblock?  Meanwhile, the
Headquarters position at Dirang Dzong, pooly defended, was in
jeapordy.  Brigadier Singh, commander at Se La, requested
guidance from General Kaul.
	But General Kaul was still flying around the lost battle
at Walong.  General P. N. Thapar, Chief of Army Staff, and
General Sen, Commander in Chief of Eastern Command, were both
at Kaul's headquarters.  They both declined to give orders or
guidance, deferring instead to General Kaul.  An urgent opera-
tional decision was needed, but it waited until 7:30 p.m.
when Kaul returned.
	By the time General Kaul returned that evening (November
17th), there were reports that the Chinese had begun an en-
veloping movement at Se La and threatened to cut the road be-
tween Se La and Dirang Dzong.  After a half hour meeting of
the three highest ranking officers of the Indian Army, General
Kaul issued his order: all units were to pull back from Se La
and Dirang Dzong to Bomdi La.
	But immediate further discussions amongst the generals
resulted in a modification to Kaul's order.  The highlights
of the new order were as follows:
			You will hold on to your present posi-
		tions to the best of your ability.  When
		the position becomes untenable I delegate
		the authority to you to withdraw to any
		alternative position you can hold. . . .
		You may be cut off by the enemy. . . .
		Your only course is to fight it out as best
		you can.3
The wording of this order hardly constituted clear guidance.
	General A. S. Pathania, commander of 65 Brigade at Dirang
Dzong, ordered a withdrawl to the plains to the south.  Going
through Phutang, he himself withdrew.  He had hurriedly ordered
his tanks to try to fight through to Bomdi La; if the crews
could not, they were to abandon their tanks and head for the
plains.  But no one took command of the force--two infantry
battalions, some tanks, some artillery, and headquarters per-
sonnel--left at Dirang Dzong.  A few field grade officers (who
did not know that withdrawal was ordered) attempted to orga-
nize the forces and fight toward Bomdi La.  But Chinese forces
and ambushes quickly ended the attempt.  The survivors straggled
southward to the plains.  General Pathania would resign soon
after the ceasefire.
	Good control was maintained over the initial withdrawal
from Se La; the Indians cleared the first Chinese found behind
Se La.  But ahead, the Indian column came under heavy machine
gun fire.  Attempts to knock out Chinese gun positions failed;
the road was impassable.  Under heavy Chinese fire, the re-
treating troops headed chaotically south for the plains.  In
their retreat, many were killed or captured.
	By mid-morning of November 18th, the 48 Brigade--six rifle
companies at Bomdi La--was the only Indian Army force left in
NEFA.  The six companies were dug into defensive positions
that had been designed for three battalions.  They had artil-
lery and mortars, and were expecting reinforcements.
	But poor command/control/communications again struck the
Indians.  At 11 a.m., General Kaul--not knowing that Dirang
Dzong was now abandoned--ordered a mobile column (at Bomdi La)
to move out to reinforce Dirang Dzong.  Brigadier Singh pro-
tested that such a move would weaken Bomdi La.  But Kaul an-
grily ordered tow infantry companies, with tanks and artil-
lery, to move out onto the winding road to Dirang Dzong.  Sup-
port personnel--cooks and clerks--were ordered to aid in the
defense of Bomdi La.
	The Chinese attacked about ten minutes after the column
left.  The first attack was beaten off.  The infantry in the
column was quickly ordered back to their defensive positions;
but these were already occupied by the Chinese, and the Indians
were caught in the open.  A second, stronger Chinese assault
followed.  Many Indian positions were overrun, and the Chinese
brought fire onto the Brigade headquarters; attempts to counter-
attack failed.  By 4 p.m., Singh ordered a withdrawal to Rupa,
eight miles to the south.
	The Brigade began to organize a defense around Rupa on
the night of Novemeber 18th.  Then, Singh received orders from
IV Corps to withdraw to Foothills, just above the plains.  As
he began his withdrawal, he received orders from General Kaul
to defend Rupa!  Turning back, he found that the Chinese were
already taking up positions around Rupa; thus, defense of Rupa
was impossible.  His 48 Brigade was then ordered to Chaku, the
next defensible position down the road.  The Chinese harrassed
the withdrawing troops, and then broke contact.  The Brigade,
now only one battalion in size, reached Chaku on the evening
of November 19th.  The Chinese struck at midnight, on three
sides.  The Chinese had attacked an ammunition supply train,
and burning vehicles illuminated the Indian defensive posi-
tions. The Brigade broken, scattered groups made their way
southward to the plains.  Remaining Indian command elements
were headed far to the south.
	With the disintegration of 48 Brigade at 3 a.m. on Novem-
ber 20th, no organized Indian military force was left in NEFA
(nor in Aksai Chin).  Militarily, the Chinese victory was
complete, and the Indian defeat absolute.
	Late on the evening of November 20th, prime Minister Nehru
made an urgent and open appeal to the United States for armed
intervention against the Chinese; he asked for bomber and
fighter squadrons to begin air strikes on Chinese troops in
Indian territory "if they continued to advance" and cover for
Indian cities "in case the Chinese air force tried to raid
them."  An American carrier was dispatched toward the Bay of
Bengal; but the aircraft carrier was ordered back on November
21st.  The victorious Chinese had ordered a ceasefire effec-
tive midnight, November 21, 1962.
				Chapter VI
	On November 20, 1962, India and the world speculated about
the nature and aims of the Chinese attack.  They had rapidly
eliminated all Indian military in all disputed frontier terri-
tories (Aksai Chin and NEFA).  Would China continue attacking
toward India proper?  A worried India's November 20th request
for an American aircraft carrier had been approved.
	Dramatically, on November 20th, Chou Enlai publically
announced a ceasefire.  Actually, Chou had given the details
of the ceasefire to the Indian charge d'affaires in Peking on
the evening of November 19th (before India's request for United
States air strikes), but New Delhi did not receive the report
for over 24 hours.  The ceasefire proclaimed that
		        Beginning from . . . .0000 on November
			21, 1962, the Chinese frontier guards will
			cease fire along the entire Sino-Indian
			border.  Beginning from December 1st, 1962,
			the Chinese frontier guards will withdraw
			to positions 20 kilometers behind the line
			of actual control which existed between
			China and India on November 7th, 1959.  In
			the eastern sector, although the Chinese
			frontier guards have so far been fighting
			on Chinese territory north of the traditional
			customary line*, they are prepared to with-
			draw from their present positions to the
			north of the illegal McMahon Line, and
			to withdraw twenty kilometers back from that
			line.  In the middle and western sectors,
			the Chinese frontier guards will withdraw
			twenty kilometers from the line of actual
*The pre-McMahon line along the foot of the hills.
Chou had simply restated the  compromise that he had been of-
fering for over three years:  India could keep the disputed
territory north to the McMahon Line in NEFA, but China would
keep the disputed territory in Aksai Chin.  Of the 47,000
square miles of disputed border land, Chou's ceasefire gave
a full 68% (the 32,000 square miles of NEFA) to India, and
kept only 32% (the 15,000 miles of Aksai Chin) for China!
Rather than the "victor keeping the spoils,"  Peking kept only
what was strategically vital:  the area surrounding her critical
military road in Aksai Chin.  Chou's ceasefire dictum made it
clear that the Indians would keep their troops twenty kilo-
meters back from the ceasefire line, and that China "reserved
the right to strike back"  if India did not do so.
	On the NEFA front, the November 21st ceasefire was a for-
mality.  Organized fighting had ended two days before with the
breakup of 48 Brigade at Chaku.  The two  sides had generally
ceased to be in contact anywhere in the eastern sector, and
there had been no Chinese followup after either Chaku or Wa-
long.  Some Indian troops who had been outflanked by the Chi-
nese had skirmishes, with casualties, as they withdrew to the
south; these retreating soldiers had no knowledge of the cease-
fire, and the Chinese may have ignored the ceasefire when re-
treating Indians fired on them.
	In Aksai Chin, the ceasefire was more definitive.  The
Chinese had not advanced on Chushul, and all firing ceased at
the given time.  The Indian force at Chushul was still in a 
fighting posture, ready to defend if the Chinese advanced.
The Indians even sent out some patrols.  But there was no more
fighting in Aksai Chin.
	Indian troops in Ladakh remained in defensive posture.
But on the plains below NEFA, the Indian Army was cautions.
A new brigade there was ordered to keep back from the hills,
to make no provocations, and to avoid patrol clashes.  Indian
survivors of NEFA  battles emerged onto the plains for several
weeks; the trek back was very arduous, and many died from ex-
posure on the way back.
	China clearly expected India to keep her forces twenty
kilometers south of the lines of control specified in the
ceasefire.  Nehru could not admit defeat, and publicly would
continue to refuse China's terms.  But privately, Nehru told
Chou that Indian forces would conform with the ceasefire.2
	The Chinese started withdrawing on December 1st, as per
the ceasefire.  In NEFA, they withdrew north of the McMahon
Line.  In Aksai Chin, they withdrew as agreed, but set up 
strong check points and posts to ensure their position.
	The Chinese then began repatriating Indians through
Bomdi La.  The sick and wounded were returned during December,
1962.  Other prisoners of war were returned over the next six
months.  At one point, Nehru had announced that 6,277 Indian
soldiers were captured or missing.  India's casualties for
the Border War were finally reported as follows:
		Killed   		1,383
		Captured		3,968
		Missing		1,696
India released no figures for Wounded, but casualties were
	China released no casualty figures.
				Chapter  VII
	The Border War and the ceasefire brought many changes
and many implications to both India and the world.  The poli-
tical and military climate in southern Asia was dramatically
changed in the last three months of 1962.  India recognized
many of the weaknesses in her Army; and many lessons--still
relevant today--emerged from the 1962 Border War.
	Nations continue to go to war, especially if negotiations
yield no compromise, over issues that are strategically impor-
tant to them.  India had long been concerned about maintaining
a buffer zone between her and her powerful neighbors--Russia
and China--to the north.  China not only felt that Aksai Chin
was legitimately hers (especially with little or no Indian
presence in the area to indicate otherwise), but she was also
adamant about the area because of the strategically important
military highway which bisected it.  There may well have been
room for compromise over these issues, but stuubornness and
India's aggressive forward policy resulted in armed conflict.
World leaders must heed other nations' stated vital strategic
	Assumptions are dangerous.  Nehru's assumption that China
would not confront Indian troops and would passively retreat
caused Nehru to pursue a very assertive forward policy of
thrusting troops and border patrols into-and sometimes even
beyond--disputed frontier areas.  His assumptions and resulting
policy eventually brought retaliation fron China.  Assumptions
are still dangerous; hypotheses about one's enemy must be
validated by accurate intelligence.
	Ignoring the advice of senior, experienced army officers
was disasterous for India.  Many officers had warned Nehru
that India was poorly prepared for war with China: they were
relieved or replaced, their advice ignored.  Leaders may be-
lieve what they want to believe, but foolishly discounting the
counsel of experts may lead them to disaster.
	Intelligence and appropriate interpretation of intelli-
gence is vital; only valid information--not assumptions--is
important to military planning.  India seemed almost totally
unaware that she was heavily outnumbered along the border and
that China (unlike India) was well prepared logistically and
well versed in alpine warfare tactics.  Both sides used recon-
naissance patrols, but battle results would indicate that
China had good intelligence and used it to good advantage.
One must "know your enemy."
	Logistic readiness is vital to any military operation.
India was very poorly prepared logistically, especially for
cold weather and mountain operations.  On several occasions,
India ran out of ammunition or was otherwise unable to sustain
herself.  The Chinese had stockpiled supplies in Tibet, and
had the manpower to keep the front well supplied.  The Border
War's mountain operations were relatively slow moving.  Today,
high mobility will make proper logistic supplort even more
	Similarly, India was neither trained nor prepared for
alpine warfare.  Until Nehru's assertive forward policy was
initiated, few Indian soldiers had operated in mountain areas.
Altitudes above 14,000 feet can be frigid even in summer.  In
October and November, many Indian soldiers had only summer
uniforms and jackets to warm them.  Many Indians died not from
combat, but from exposure.  Today's military forces must be
prepared for operations in any locale or climate, from hot
arid deserts to frozen mountain slopes.
	Generalship, leadership, command and control are always
important.  Even though defeated in Aksai Chin, the Indian
forces in Western Command always deemed well organized and
led.  But in NEFA, there was often confusion; numerous command
changes resulted in disorganization and poor combat readiness.
Poor communications and control resulted in troop movements
which were totally inappropriate, such as sending out forces
to positions which had already been overrun.  General Kaul
often ignored or disputed the advice of his junior generals;
further, he was often indecisive, changing orders minutes after
they had been issued. Immediately after the ceasefire, General
Kaul was relieved; days later, he would resign from the army.
Today's lethal firepower and high mobility make command, control
and communications more vital than ever.
	Hopefully, future military and political leaders will
study the causes and the lessons learned from this Border War.
And hopefully, they will learn.
	The 1962 China-India Border War was a major dispute be-
tween two third world states that went to war over strategic
frontier and border issues.  The War would have significant
implications for politics, strategy, and military power in
southern Aisa.
	India was decisively defeated in the Border War. But in
many ways, India gained benefits from the 1962 conflict.  The
war united the country as never before.  The communist party
in India lost what little strength it had.  India did get
32,000 square miles of disputed territory--even if she felt
that NEFA was hers all along.  The new Indian republic had
avoided international alignments; by asking for during
the war, India demonstrated her willingness to accept military
aid from several sectors.  And, finally, India recognized the
serious weaknesses in her Army.  She would more than double
her military manpower in the next two years; and she would
work hard to resolve the military's training and logistic
problems.  India's efforts to improve her military posture
significantly enhanced her army's  capabilities and prepared-
	The War would also have significant impacy on India's
relationship with Pakistan (which then bordered India on
two sides, east and west).  Seeing that India was militarily
weak after the Border War, Pakistan felt that she was in a 
favorable position to reslove lingering border disputes in
Kashmir.  China was friendly toward Pakistan, and Pakistani
leaders believed that China might support them in a dispute
with India.  When India reorganized and built up her Army,
Pakistan became quite alarmed.  In 1965, India and Pakistan
would fight a border war in Kashmir.
	China had easily won a military victory on the ground.
But Peking may have lost in terms of its international image.
Western nations, especially the United States, were already
suspicious of Chinese attitudes, motives and actions; after
all, People's Republic leader Mao had stated that "The way to
world conquest lies through Havana, Accra, and Calcutta."1
These western nations, including a suspicious United States,
appeared to minimize, or not fully to understand, the China-
India dispute background: that China believed that Aksai Chin
had been legally Chinese since 1899 or before, that no official
boundary had been agreed upon between the two nations, and
that Nehru's "forward policy" had thrusted troops even beyond
India's claim line into Tibetan/Chinese territory.  These
same nations saw China's goals as monolithic intent on world
conquest, and clearly viewed China as the aggressor in the 
Border War. China's first nuclear weapon test in October,
1964, and her support of Pakistan in the 1965 India-Pakistan
Bordr War tended ot confirm the American view of monolithic
communist world objectives, including Chinese influence (if
not expansionism) over Pakistan.  Yet, an examination of
China's international objectives, since the Communists came
to power in 1949, shows a pattern of conservative aims and
limited objectives, rather than expansionism.  China's role
in the Korea Conflict was not simply to assist North Korea,
but also to protect herself again assault from anti-Communist
western forces.  China's actions in Tibet in 1950 were viewed
by India as blatant aggression; but China saw her move into
Tibet as simply reuniting what is "traditionally Chinese" ter-
ritory.  The 1962 Border War, again, had only the objective
of keeping what was "traditionally Chinese"; otherwise, why
would have China given all of NEFA back to India?  In 1979,
China feared increasing anti-Chinese attitude in Viet Nam.
When Viet Nam  invaded Kampuchea--and after much preplanning
and thought--China launched a limited objective assault, to
punish Viet Nam.  Thus, the People's Republic of China has
been historically non-expansionistic.
	But we should not, on the other hand, be totally lulled
into a false sense of security about China's non-expansionism.
Remembering that nations will go to war over strategically
(including economically) important issues, we must remain
alert to China's rapidly expanding population and accompanying
need for food to feed her hungry.  Where will China get rice
to give to her billion-plus numbers?  To answer this, we must
not forget another lesson of this Border War:  China intends--
eventually--to reclaim what is "traditionally Chinese."  An
examination of Map Fourteen (next page) gives a possible
answer to Chin'a need for food, should that need arise: the
"traditional China" includes all of South East Asia!
	Thus, the lessons and implications of the 1962 China-
India Border War could be relevant to us for decades or for 
Click here to view image	 
                        Appendix 1
                 Chronology of Key Events
March 14, 1899 - Sir Claude McDonald proposed an Aksai Chin
1914 - McMahon Line declared as boundary in NEFA
1947 - India becomes a republic separate from Great Britain
1949 - Communists form new government, People's Republic of
October, 1950 - Chinese assert authority over Tibet
April, 1954 - India and China sign "Five Principles of Peace-
     ful Coexistence"
December, 1954 - Tribesmen discontent in Tibet leads to in-
     creased Chinese military presence in Tibet
March, 1956 - China begins construction of a military high-
     way to link Sinkiang and Tibet
September  1957 - India first learns of the Chinese highway
     in "India's territory"
March, 1959 - rebel fighting in Tibet heightens, with rebels
     crossing into NEFA to get supplies and weapons
August, 1959 - first clashes between Chinese and Indian bor-
     der guards
1960 - unproductive diplomatic exchanges, but no clashes
1961 - Nehru sends troops and border patrols into disputed
     frontier areas to establish outposts; skirmishes
     increased in late 1961
December, 1961 - India invades and takes Portugese Goa
July, 1962 - Skirmishes in Aksai Chin
August 4, 1962 - China accuses India of advancing even north
     of the McMahon Line
August, 1962 - Chinese logistic and manpower buildup along
     the frontier
September, 1962 - isolated skirmishes along the disputed bor-
October 5, 1962 - India forms special Border Command under
     General Kaul
October 10, 1962 - first heavy fighting, at Tseng-Jong in NEFA
October 20, 1962 - Chinese launch a massive assault across the
     Namka Chu River in NEFA
October 20-21, 1962 - Chinese launch simultaneous attacks in
     Aksai Chin, successful against Galwan Valley and Chip
     Chap Valley posts
October 23, 1962 - Chinese overrun all posts down to Tawang in
October 24-25, 1962 - Chinese probing attacks at Walong, in
     eastern NEFA
Late October, 1962 - lull in fighting; unproductive diplomatic
     efforts at compromise fail; numerous changes in command
     in NEFA Indian units
November 14, 1962 - Nehru's birthday - Indians launch an attack
     on Chinese north of Walong
November 15, 1962 - the Indian offensive fails
November 16, 1962 - Chinese troops overrun Walong
November 17, 1962 - Chinese attack Indians on Bailey Trail in
     NEFA; a Chinese attack at Se La, NEFA, is repulsed;
     Chinese begin a simultaneous attack on Chushul in Aksai
November 18, 1962 - Chinese successful at Chushul; no Indian
     force remains in Aksai Chin; Indian forces are forced to
     withdraw from Se La; Chinese forces attack Bomdi La
November 19, 1962 - Chinese attack Chaku, last Indian forces
     in NEFA, successfully; Chou En-Lai gives ceasefire dictum
     to Indian official in Peking
November 20, 1962 - Chou publicly announces ceasefire; India
     requesting U. S. military aid, but ceasefire ends need
     for U. S. intervention
November 21, 1962 - Ceasefire goes into effect
December 1, 1962 - both sides' troops withdraw 20 kilometers
     from new boundary lines; repatriation of prisoners starts
                         Appendix 2
                 List of Key Personalities
Capt. F.M. BAILEY - explored NEFA in 1913
CHOU En-Lai - Prime Minister of People's Republic of China
     before and during Border War
Lord CURZON - Viceroy of British India 1899-1905
Brigadier John DALVI - commanded 7th Brigade
Lord ELGIN - Viceroy of British India 1894-1899
W. H. JOHNSON - surveyor who suggested Aksai Chin boundary
General B. M. KAUL - Chief of General Staff, then Commander
     of IV Corps
Sir Henry McMAHON - Foreign Secretary of the Indian Govern-
     ment, and Chief Delegate to 1914 Simla Conference
Jawaharlal NEHRU - Prime Minister of India
General A. S. PATHANIA - Commander of 4 Division and 62 Brigade
General M. S. PATHANIA - Commander of 2 Division (Walong)
General Niranjan PRASAD - Commanded 4 Division
General L. P. SEN - Commanding General, Eastern Command
General Daulet SINGH - Commanding General, Western Command
Brigadier Gurbax SINGH - Commanded 7 Brigade
General Harbaksh SINGH - took over IV Corps
Brigadier Hoshair SINGH - Commanded 62 Brigade; killed in war
General Umrao SINGH - Commander of XXXIII Corps
General P. N. THAPAR - Commanded Western Command; then Chief
     of Army Staff
Chapter 1    Historic Roots - Early Border Claims
1 Lamb, Alastair.  The China-India Border.  London: Oxford
     Univ., 1964.  Lamb, Alastair.  The Sino-Indian Border
     in Ladakh.  Canberra: Australian National Univ. Press,
     1973.  Both books give thorough overviews of the 19th
     Century roots of the border claims and disputes.
2 Rowland, John.  A History of Sino-Indian Relations.  Prince-
     ton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1967.  p. xi.
3 Lamb, 1964, op. cit., p. 43-44 gives detailed critical
     analysis of early boundary claims.
4 Ibid., p. 44-45, quoting F. Drew, 1871 Governor of Ladakh.
5 Ibid., p. 101.
6 Ibid., p. 103, quoting Lord Elgin, Viceroy of British India.
7 Ibid., p. 104, portions of the MacDonald proposal.  The
     entire MacDonald note is in Lamb, 1964, p. 180-182.
8 Maxwell, Neville.  India's China War.  New York: Pantheon,
     1970.  Emphasizes the importance of buffer zones rather
     than specific teritorrial claim, p. 38.
9 Lamb, 1964, op. cit., p. 119-121, indications that the
     British considered  Tawang to be Tibetan.
10 Ibid., p.  131-134.  1904-1905 British intentions toward
11 Ibid., p. 137-139.  British intentions to project power
     north of Assam.
12 Ibid., p. 145.  Lamb asserts that the Simla Conference was
     indeed a British trick, denying rights to the Chinese.
13 Ibid., p. 162.  Again asserts that Tawang is Tibetan.
Chapter II   Movement to Conflict - Failure of Negotiations
1 Carver, Michael.  War Since 1945.  New York: Putnam's Sons,
     1980.  Quoting Chou En-Lai, on p. 215.
2 Hinton, Harold.  Communist China in World Politics.  New York:
     Houghton Mifflin, 1966.  Quoting Chou En-Lai, on p. 284.
3 Carver, op. cit., p. 217, states that Longju is north of the
     McMahon Line. Hinton, op. cit., p. 289, puts Longju in
     disputed territory.
4 Maxwell, op. cit., p. 110-111, reporting controversy about
     Konga La Pass clash.
5 Hinton, op. cit., p. 291.  Chou's frequent proposal, and
     Nehru's rejection.
6 Ibid., p. 295.  Nehru's emerging aggressive attitude.
Chapter III  The Combatants: The Chinese and Indian Armies in
1 Gurtov, Melvin and Hwang, Byong-Moo.  China Under Threat.
     Baltimore a Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1980. pp. 113-
     114, on the state of the Chinese army.
2 Blainey, Geoffrey.  The Causes of War.  New York: The Free
     Press, 1973, p. 50.
3 Maxwell, op. cit., p. 353, effects of the elements on Indian
Chapter IV   Summer 1962 Skirmishes
1 Watt, D. C.  Survey of International Affairs 1962.  London:
     Oxford Univ., 1970, pp. 406-408.  Early 1962 diplomatic
Chapter V    The Border War
1 Maxwell, op. cit., p. 354, asserts that Tsang Le was in
2 Ibid., p. 394.  General Kaul's frantic message quoted.
3 Ibid., p. 403.  Quoting General Kaul's orders.
Chapter VI   Ceasefire
1 Ibid., p. 417.  Quoting Chou's ceasefire dictum.
2 Carver, op. cit., p. 222
Chapter VII  Conclusions
1 Rowland, op. cit., p. xv.  Quoting Chairman Mao Tse-Tung.
2 Ibid., Chinese Map between p. 144 and p. 145.
Secondary Sources
Bhargava, G. S.  The Battle of NEFA.  Bombay: Allied, 1964.
     A thorough, but Indian-biased, account of the 1962
     Border War, specifically the portion fought in the
     North East Frontier Agency.
Blainey, Geoffrey.  The Causes of War.  New York: The Free
     Press, 1973.  An overview or the strategic reasons
     that bring nations to war.
Carver, Michael.  War Since 1945.  New York: Putnam's Sons,
     1980.  A military history of the world from World War II
     until the 1970s.  Provides a general understanding of
     the forces that bring nations to war, and brief synopses
     of about a dozen conflicts.
Defense Intelligence Agency.  Handbook on the Chinese Armed
     Forces.  DIA, 1976.  A comprehensive handbook covering
     Chinese army doctrine, organization, equipment, tactics,
     specialized warfare, personnel and logistics.  Also
     covers the Chinese Navy, Air Force and Missile Systems.
     Numerous figures, photographs, and illustrations.  An
     excellent resource.
Fisher, Margaret W., Rose, Leo E., & Huttenback, Robert A.
     Himalayan Battleground.  New York: Praeger, 1963.  A
     comprehensive history of Ladakh from ancient times up
     to--but not including--the 1962 Border War.
Earles, Marcie.  The Strategy of Mao, Tse-tung in the Sino-
     Indian Border Dispute.  Quantico: Marine Corps Command
     and Staff College, 1968.  A brief look at Communist
     philosophical and political considerations impacting
     on Sino-Indian relations.
Encyclopaedia Britannica.  Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica,
     1967.  General area background information.
Gurtov, Melvin, and Hwang, Byong-Moo.  China Under Threat.
     Baltimore a Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1980.  An analysis
     of China's perspective on world politics and international
     relations.  Includes a synopsis, from China's view, of
     the 1962 Border War.
Halpern A. W.  Policies Toward China.  New York: McGraw-Hill,
     1965.  International view of China's policies and Chi-
     nese reaction to international developments affecting
Hinton, Harold.  Communist China in World Politics.  New York:
     Houghton Mifflin, 1966.  A comprehensive analysis of
     China's political and diplomatic relations--including
     negotiations and interactions between Chou and Nehru.
Johnson, Dan.  An Appraisal of Chinese Communist Strategy
     toward India  and Pakistan. Carlisle Barracks, Penn.:
     U.S. Army War College, 1966.  A brief view of China's
     policies and role in southern Asia.
Lamb, Alastair.  The China-India Border.  London: Oxford Univ.,
     1964.  A thorough, objective study of the origins of
     border disputes, in both Aksai Chin and NEFA, between
     British India and China (until 1947).  Carefully docu-
     mented, with many helpful maps.
Lamb, Alastair.  The Sino-Indian Border in Ladakh.  Canberra:
     Australian National Univ. Press, 1973.  A comprehensive,
     objective analysis of Chinese and British Indian border
     claims in Ladakh (Aksai Chin).  Carefully documented,
     with numerous helpful maps.
Maxwell, Neville.  India's China War.  New York:Pantheon,
     1970.  Probably the most thorough, comprehensive and
     objective coverage of the 1962 Border War.  Covers the
     historical background, rising conflicts, Nehru's forward
     Policy, the perspective from Peking, the Border War,
     and the ceasefire.  By extensive documentation, Maxwell
     not only traces the history of the war, but also gives
     insights into the many key personalities.  Only has six
     maps--could have used more.
Rand McNally World Atlas.  Chicago: Rand McNally, 1968.  Maps,
     population, and area figures.
Rowland, John.  A History of Sino-Indian Relations.  Princeton,
     NJ: Van Nostrand, 1967.  A comprehensive, objective
     analysis of relations from early times through the Border
     War.  Covers key events, and looks at personalities and
     strategic interests.
Sinha, Satyanarayan.  China Strikes.  London: Blandford, 1964.
     A highly personalized and biased look at the Border War.
Stoessinger, John.  Why Nations Go To War.  New York: St. Mar-
     tin's, 1974.  An overview of the strategic and political
     causes that bring nations to conflict.
Watt, D. C.  Survey of International Affairs 1962.  London:
     Oxford Univ., 1970.  A survey of major events of 1962.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list