Ummid Assistant

Mumbai NGO, top experts join hands to train students for civil services exams

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home Views & Analysis

Will India and China fight a war again?

Wednesday September 26, 2012 01:09:28 PM, Mohan Guruswamy, IANS

Related Article

'India must prepare for conventional wars with Pakistan, China'

"On a strategic level, the Kargil War vividly demonstrated that a stable bilateral nuclear deterrence relationship can markedly inhibit such regional conflicts in intensity and scale-if not preclude them altogether," says the report on the role of the Indian Air Force by the Carnegie Endowment  

Most Indians rightly see the 1962 war between India and China, and a relatively small military defeat and the major national panic that followed, as a cathartic event. While 1962 will still be the seminal year for Sino-Indian relations, it is in 1967 that Indian and Chinese troops last clashed -- at Nathu La. Since then, not a shot has been fired across the border.

Nathu La at 14,200 feet is an important pass on the Tibet-Sikkim border through which passes the old Gangtok-Yatung-Lhasa trade route. Although the Sikkim-Tibet boundary is well defined, China never accepted Sikkim as an Indian protectorate with its army deployed there. During the 1965 India-Pakistan war, China gave an ultimatum to India to vacate both Nathu La and Jelep La passes on the Sikkim-Tibet border. Inexplicably, India's 17 Mountain Division vacated Jelep La. It still remains with China.

At the time of the 1967 clash, India's 2 Grenadiers held Nathu La. This battalion was under the command of Lt Col (later Brigadier) Rai Singh. The battalion was under the Mountain Brigade commanded by Brig M.M.S. Bakshi, MVC.

According to a young Indian officer, the routine at Nathu La started with patrolling by both sides along the perceived border, almost always leading to arguments. The only one on the Chinese side who could converse in broken English was the political commissar. Sentries of both forces would stand barely one meter apart in the centre of the Pass.

Arguments between the two sides soon changed to pushing and shoving. On Sep 6, 1967, a scuffle took place. In order to de-escalate the situation, the Indian military decided to lay a wire in the centre of the Pass from Nathu La to Sebu La to demarcate the perceived border. This task was to be carried out by the 70 Field Company of Engineers assisted by a company of 18 Rajput. It was to begin Sep 11.

Under a bright morning sun, engineers and soldiers started erecting long iron pickets from Nathu La to Sebu La while 2 Grenadiers and Artillery Observation Post Officers at Sebu La and Camel's Back were on alert. Immediately, the Chinese commissar came to the centre of the Pass.

The commissar asked Lt. Col. Rai Singh to stop laying the wire. Orders to the Indian Army were clear. They were not to blink. An argument soon built up into a scuffle. In the melee, the commissar got roughed up. Thereafter the Chinese went back to their bunkers. Engineers resumed laying the wire.

Within minutes, a whistle was heard on the Chinese side followed by murderous medium machine gun fire. Jawans of 70 Field Company and 18 Rajput were caught in the open and suffered heavy casualties. Col Rai Singh was wounded. Two brave officers, Capt Dagar of 2 Grenadiers and Major Harbhajan Singh of 18 Rajput, rallied a few troops and tried to assault the Chinese MMG but both died a heroic death.

2 Grenadier opened small arms fire but it was not very effective. Within the first 10 minutes, there were nearly 70 dead and scores wounded in the open on the pass. Within half hour, Chinese artillery opened up on the pass as well as in the depth areas but it failed to do much damage due to lack of observation.

The Indians sought artillery fire. Because of excellent domination and observation from Sebu La and Camel's Back, the officer say, artillery fire was most effective. Most Chinese bunkers were destroyed and the Chinese suffered very heavy casualties that by their own estimates were over 400. The artillery duel carried on day and night.

For the next three days, the Chinese were taught a lesson. On Sep 14, the Chinese threatened use of air force if shelling did not stop. By then, the lesson had been driven home and an uneasy ceasefire came about.

The Chinese, true to form, pulled over dead bodies to their side of the perceived border at night and accused India of violating the border. Dead bodies were exchanged Sep 15 in the presence of, among others, Lt. Gen. Jagjit Aurora and Lt. Gen. Sam Maneckshaw, the Eastern Army Commander.

On Oct 1, 1967, this event repeated itself at Cho La when 7/11 Gurkha Rifles and 10 JAK Rifles were tested by the People's Liberation Army and similarly not found wanting. The lesson of 1967 has been well learnt by China, just as the lesson of 1962 has been absorbed by India. Not a single shot has been fired across the border since then. Today the Indian Army and PLA stand eyeball to eyeball but the atmosphere is far more relaxed and the two armies frequently have friendly interactions.

(Mohan Guruswamy is a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and heads the Centre for Policy Alternatives, New Delhi, a privately funded think-tank. He is the author of several books, the latest being "Chasing the Dragon: Will India Catch-up with China?" He can be contacted at








Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS




More Headlines

Suriya Mandir 'comes' from Gwaliar to Malegaon

Corruption: Ajit Pawar resigns from Maharashtra cabinet, ready for probe

Global economy still fraught with uncertainty: IMF chief

Pakistani youth clean up violence-hit areas

One killed, eight injured in Assam blast

Rs.2,300 crore annual pay, pension package for defence personnel

World's smallest girl measures just 68 cm

Move to make groundwater community resource

India moving closer to joining NSG, US leads the charge

Take care before reaching out to anti-ageing products

Rape allegation against me mudslinging: Rahul Gandhi


Top Stories

Chavan faces crisis as Pawar resigns, NCP ministers offer to quit

Maharashtra's Democratic Front government suddenly plunged into a crisis Tuesday as Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader 

Corruption: Ajit Pawar resigns from Maharashtra cabinet, ready for probe


  Most Read

Suriya Mandir 'comes' from Gwaliar to Malegaon

Unlike the tradition at other places in Maharashtra, the Ganesh decoration in Malegaon is observed only on the evening before the final immersion day. However Ekta Mandal which turns  

Move to make groundwater community resource

Concerned over the declining water table across the country, the water resources ministry is working on an overarching law that will modify provisions that allow proprietary right to a land owner on groundwater and make it a community resource. Ministry officials said the draft bill, seeking  


  News Pick

Close to 10 lakh marooned in Assam

The flood situation remained grim in Assam Monday, with more and more areas submerged every day across 16 districts, marooning some 10 lakh people, officials said. Sources in the Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) said a total  

Flood situation grim in Assam, seven dead

India moving closer to joining NSG, US leads the charge

Four years after the 46-nation Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) opened the doors for global nuclear trade for New Delhi, India is steadily inching closer to its pursuit of joining the world's top four atomic control regimes with a large number of countries in favour of getting it within the non  

Israeli attack on Iran may erupt world war: Official

A top Iranian official has said a World War III may erupt if his country is attacked by Israel, concerned over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme. Brig. Gen. Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace  

Rape allegation against me mudslinging: Rahul Gandhi

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi Monday told the Supreme Court that the allegations against him that he wrongfully confined and raped a woman in his Amethi Lok Sabha constituency  


Picture of the Day

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and President of the Palestine National Authority Mahmoud Abbas at the delegation level talks, in New Delhi on September 11, 2012.



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us




    Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.