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Sino-Indian War

The Sino-Indian war was a short border war between India and thePeople's Republic of China, the worlds two most populous countries, which took place in 1962. It was triggered by a dispute over the Himalayan border in the Aksai Chin. The disputed area was strategic for the PRC as it contained a major road between Tibet and Xinjiang.

Causes of the War

India and the PRC shared good relations through the 1950s, including the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, proposed by the prime ministers of the two countries in 1953. However, after the PRC occupation of Tibet in 1959, the Indian government adopted a policy of forward military deployment in the border area.

The Indian deployment was spread over a large area. Logistics were difficult to maintain, since the road network was poor.

India's Prime Minister Nehru had relied on U.S. diplomatic support to maintain India's claim in the area. However, in October, 1962, American attention was focused on the Cuban Missile Crisis with the Soviet Union.

Events in the War

Hostilities began on October 16, 1962. The PRC stated that they were responding to Indian provocations.

On October 20, 1962, the Chinese People's Liberation Army launched two coordinated attacks 1000 km apart in the Chip Chap valley in Ladakh[?] and the Namkachu river. After securing a substantial portion of the disputed territory, the Chinese made an offer to negotiate on October 24. The Indian government promptly rejected this offer, and tried to regroup during the lull in the fighting.

By November 18, the PLA had penetrated close to the outskirts of Tezpur, Assam[?], a major frontier town nearly fifty kilometers from the Assam-North-East Frontier Agency[?] border. The PLA did not advance farther and on November 21 declared a unilateral cease-fire. The United States Air Force flew in massed supplies to India in November, 1962, but neither side wished to continue hostilities.

Results of the War

India's defeat in 1962 led to a revision of Indian military doctrine, training, organization and equipment. The Nehru government also decided to assimilate several territories that they saw as a source of espionage and resupply to potential enemies. In 1965 India seized Goa from Portugal by force and the then-independent state of Sikkim.

Many Indians still regard the territorial acquisitions as an illegal occupation, and for this reason proposals to formalize the border at the line of actual control have proven impossible to implement. However, neither the Indian nor the PRC government appear very interested in disturbing the status quo, and the disputed boundary, called by Indians the Line of Actual Control[?] or the McMahon Line[?] is not considered a major flashpoint. Military commissions from India and the PRC meet regularly in the capitals of both countries to discuss the status of the border.

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