Indian Army holds the unique distinction of being one of the world’s best in defending its country’s borders. However, the Indo-China war of 1962 goes down in our history books as a blot on the reputation of our forces and the country. Other than that debacle, there is no black spot on the face of our armed forces. The reason for defeat wasn’t the lack of courage of our soldiers but was the myopic policies and spineless attitude of our political leaders of the time. Here are top 10 reasons why India lost the 1962 war against China.
It might appear to be tad controversial, but truth is always bitter. Political leaders including Leftists and then home minister Krishna Menon were all responsible for playing down the threat from China’s side due to their inclination toward Communist ideology. However, once the war began, even USSR desolated India to fight the war on its own.
General Thorat from the Indian Army had prepared and submitted a report to the home ministry warning the political leadership of a much anticipated aggression from China’s side, but was ignored straight away by our political masters. Had the warnings been taken into stride on time, a large number of casualties and a massive defeat could have been prevented.
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) launched an attack on all fronts simultaneously encircling India in its trap when our leadership was sitting in Delhi discussing unyielding policies. India was attacked on the wee hours on October 20, 1962 in Ladakh, northern Uttarakhand and NEFA (presently Arunachal Pradesh) at the same and caught us unawares and ill-prepared to react on time.
As per the post war reports prepared by the commission to look into the premier reasons for India’s shameful defeat at the hands of China, the Army leadership was equally to be blamed for the rout. Chief of Army Staff and Chief of General Staff of the time were penned down as ‘guilty’ in the report. They were accused of playing down on the situation for a long time.
“Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” was the standard diplomatic line that enjoyed unfounded importance by the state machinery in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s from Nehru and party. Though, silent are the reasons for sudden buildup of such a high-level of trust on Chinese, it could only be described as mere foolishness on the part of India. This over affectionate stance of India towards China spelled doom for the former.
Post war reports say that it was India who provoked the Chinese army with their offensive action despite being well aware of the fact that we lacked proper preparation and were ill-equipped for any war. Once China did away with its Taiwan plans, it worked in a greater way to fill the loopholes present in its security. However, India was unaware of the developments. But the fire was lit after an alleged provocative statement from then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru irked Mao Zedong.
Something that went overhead for almost all the defense experts of the time was why was the Indian Air Force (IAF) not allowed to carry out an attack on the enemy. Their function was only limited to dropping food supplies to the Indian Army. However, had IAF been employed for a more inclusive role, the situation could have been vastly different considering the fact that our Air Force was superior to China’s at the time.
It is widely believed that the Indian Army ran out of food, artillery and ammunition supplies during the war. The backup was weak and the status quo was maintained for considerable time that resulted in further weakening of Indian stance on the border area. Therefore, logistical failure could also have been a main reason for the debacle.
The political leadership of the country was too weak and inefficient. Jawaharlal Nehru depended too much on the discretion and words of Krishna Menon. The outcome was evident; India had to bite dust and lose numerous soldiers on the war front for the sole reason of lacking top leadership potential of the country.
Indian Army has always been invincible and especially in our backyards we are next to God in self defense, to put it more precisely. However, in absence of proper strategy and advanced weapons the defeat was playing on the cards. This damaged the morale of our troops and also led to dejection in the hearts of millions of countrymen who had never dreamt of such a humiliating defeat.