What was the reason behind Sino-Indian war of 1962? Was it a Communist invasion of Indian territory? Another version I heard was that it was the forward policy of India which provoked PRC for a war. Another doubt I have in this issue is the position of Indian Communist Party in this war. Is it true that the Indian communist party came to openly support China?
While the the wikipedia post Sino-Indian war describes the reasons very well, I'll give an pointwise and short answer.
The reasons for Indo China war of 1962 are
- Border disputes along macmohan line and Aksai Chin.
- Feeling in both countries political leaders that others had control over their territory.
- India gave asylum to Dalai Lama and tibetian Govt.
- Chinese aggression.
- It is disputed whether India's forward policy was cause of war.
India has a track record of exploiting China's misfortunes. 1962 was the year when China had just emerged from a 3-year-long famine in which 15 to 45 million people starved to death, villages after villages perished. A generation of children suffered stunted growth; grown-ups who survived the famine continued to suffer illness caused by malnutrition for many years that followed. Soldiers nation-wide were fed with a mixture of baked wheat-corn flour day in and day out. Everyone worried about their home villages; no one had the appetite for war. In the middle of China's great famine, India's Nehru launched his forward policy.
The following is a statement made by Bertrand Russell in the Welsh press on November 30, 1962:
When the Sino-Indian border conflict began, I thought that India was in the right and that China was the aggressor. I telegraphed to both Nehru and Chou En-lai urging a cease-fire. In consequence the Chinese Charge d'Affaires and the Indian High Commissioner both came to see me and at great length set forth their respective points of view, which they supported by documents. I discovered that the Chinese case was very much stronger than I had thought and, also, that it is very doubtful whether the Chinese were the first aggressors. I continued to urge a cease-fire. Nehru refused, but Chou En-lai went even further than I suggested in the direction that I had advocated.
It seems to me now the clear and absolute duty of India to agree to negotiations as soon as the Chinese have completed their withdrawal. The line to which they are withdrawing concedes more even than India claims, except in Ladakh where the Indian claim is very shaky, as opposed to the fact that the Chinese constructed a great military road there without the Indians being aware of it.
If India continues the fighting it will only be for reasons of prestige and national pride. If they continue for such reasons they will forfeit the respect of all impartial or peace-loving persons.
Source: Russell, Bertrand. Unarmed Victory Page 123. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1963
Russell literally repelled thousands of Chinese troops with just a few words. Without Russell's help, there would have been no Indians on the Indian subcontinent today. On the other hand, China made a grave mistake by following Russell's advice, because the unilateral withdrawal and the concession of a vast tract land, as big and picturesque as Austria, failed to secure India's good will. After all, if India had been reason-able, there would have been no war in the first place. As a consequence, India today is one of the worst China haters. The following two articles can serve as indicators of India's national feelings:
In hindsight, if China had finished off India in 1962, South Asia today would have been nuclear free. Russell himself once called for nuclear first strike on the USSR in order to preempt nuclear arms race. In 1962, Chou was definitely duped.
I am convinced that in a game of mutual deception an Englishman or American can beat a Chinese nine times out of ten.*
Russell, Bertrand. The Problem of China. London: George Allen & Unwin LTD: 1922.