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Cooperation not confrontation: Changing the rules of the China game


Any war deserves to be judged twice. First for the reasons that led to the fighting and second, for the outcome of the conflict and its impact on the history of the nations involved. If there is one war that needs to be judged at this moment in time, it is the India-China war of 1962.


After the war ended, popular narrative held that India, humiliated by the defeat of 1962, was incapable of taking on larger, and more aggressive China. India, then led by Prime Minister Nehru, seemed to ha have given in to placate the Chinese on every front — ranging from minor concessions to major territorial rights.


Events leading to 1962

In 1952 Nehru had agreed to downgrade India’s representation in Tibet to consul-general. Two years later he agreed to withdraw the Indian Military posts. (It was during this hasty withdrawal that Maj BS Nagal, the Second in Command of 2nd Battalion of the Jat Regiment, and about eighty other army men lost their lives in a flash flood caused by the collapse of an earthen dam on 17 July 1954**).

This was followed by the recall, for the first time since Younghusband’s expedition, of trade representative at Kashgar, Gartok, Yatung and Gyantse. With this, India cut all links to Tibet—effectively severing their connections with the outside world implicitly conceding that Tibet’s foreign relations were to be controlled by China. The acquiescence to non-interference in China's actions was later formalised under the Panchsheel Agreement at the Bandung Conference in 1954.

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