India & China enjoyed close relations during ancient times, both the civilization are very old. India & China civilization is among the oldest civilization in the world. During the ancient age, Indians used to enjoy close trading relations with China. The trade was carried out through land as well as sea routes. Indian merchants imported huge quantities of silk from China and this silk exported to Rome at a big margin.
Indian rulers like Harshvardhana, Rajendra Chola, and Kulttug Chola exchanged the embassy in China to promote Indo-china relations. In modern times, the China-India has pulled around Tibet & when China emerged as a communist nation in 1949, Chinese aggregation took Indo-China relations into a new direction.
In modern times, 1st evidence of interaction Tibet belongs to the period of company rule. In 1775, Governor-General Warren Hasting sent George Bombley as one member’s mission to Tibet to promote Indo-Tibetan trade. This mission couldn’t produce any concrete result because the Tibetan government was following a policy of least interaction with the outside world. The Tibetan princely Lierarchy & Chinese resident stationed at Lahasa didn’t allow the English mission to succeed.
As a result of this, no further interaction took place between British Indian-Tibet relations for centuries. Closing decades of the 19th Century, the Russian government started spreading its influence in Tibet. This Russian strategy part of the so-called “Great Game” Russian government following the policy of encircling British India for a long time. Russian had spread influence in Afghanistan & now in Tibet. Russia was supping arms & emanation to Dalai Lama. Russians also wanted a contract for the development railway line in Tibet. During the early year of the 20th Century, there was a strong rumor that Russia & China had agreed that Tibet was declared as Russia’s Protectorate.
The Governor-General Lord Curzon was greatly concerned about increasing Russian influence in Tibet & to check it he sent the “Young Husband mission” to Tibet 1903 with a contingent of Gorkha soldier. Young Husband, Tibet’s mission was not welcomed. Tibet refused to negotiate them but finally, he was successful in dictating a peace treaty (1904) through which British India receives the number of special privileges.
The provision of this treaty clearly emphasizes that Tibet wouldn’t grant a concession for railway telephone etc for any foreign state. This treaty gave control to the British over the foreign affairs of Tibet. British India got returns to established its trade office in Tibet & maintain troops for safety. These special privileges were enjoyed by India till 1950.
The western part of the Indo-Tibetan border is known as the Johnson line, it was demanded by W.H. Johnson in 1965. The East part of the Indo-Tibetan border is known as the McMahon line. Henry McMahon, the foreign secretary to the government of India had played the most important role in drawing the Indo-Tibetan eastern border.
McMahon agreed upon between Indian & Tibetan representatives in 1940 at a conference at Shimla. The McMahon line was drawn on a map, it never demarked on the ground during a period of British Rule. This line proclaimed the Indo-Tibetan border as the high peaks located between India & Tibet that is McMahon line passes through the highest peak located between Indo & Tibet where these peaks located on ground nobody know in 1940.
Since there was no Chinese representation in the Shimla conference in 1940, the Government of China (Communist) refused to recognize it. The Chinese government claimed that the real border is located for the south to the McMahon line. This different interpretation became a bone of contention between India & China.
Indo-China War 1962
The larger background of the Indo-China war can be traced to the emergence of China as a communist nation in Oct 1949. China’s communist regime emphasized on “One China” policy. It demanded the integration of all those territories which were ever part of the Chinese empire in past. This aggressive approach came to the Communist regime seriously affect Indo-China relations.
Even though the Chinese government promised India repeatedly, no military action will be taken for the intake of Tibet. China deceptively occupied Tibet by sending his army (Oct 1950). This act of Chinese aggression left a serious impact on the Indian understanding of Chinese steps. But for sake of close friend relations, India accepted Chinese control over Tibet & the Government of India renounced all its traditional privilege in Tibet voluntarily. Chinese government repeatedly emphasized that no change will impose on Tibet against their will because Tibet Socio-Cultural structure was considered different from that of China.
After occupying Tibet Chinese government started imposing communist socio-economic ideas of Tibet as a result of which revolt & rebellions started interrupting Chinese rule (1956-57). The Chinese government responded with massive use of force to suppress the Tibetans. In 1959, Chinese forces surrounded Lahasa & unleashed a massive crackdown to suppress the rebels.
Chinese forces tried to capture Dalai Lama but he could somehow escape across borders into India. The Government of India decided to extend shelter to Dalai Lama on humanitarian grounds & this because an immediate issue that pushed India & China into war. Shelter giving to Dalai Lama was interpreted as interference in international matters of Chinese.
Chinese government emphasizes that it was a violation of the provision of Panchsheel. Suspicion & destruction entered into Indo-China relations. In light of Chinese deception in Tibet Government of India wasn’t in a position to trust Chinese leadership. To safeguard Indian national interest, the Indian Government led by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru instructed the forces to reach the McMahon line. This aggressive forward policy intensified the hostilities between India & China.
Taking advance of fact that Indian aggressive forward policy was lacking proper background support, Chinese forces crossed to Indian sides on 20th Oct 1962 and war begin. This conflict lasted just about 1 month because, on 21st Nov 1962, the Chinese declared a ceasefire.
Significance of Indo-China War
In spite fact that the war lasted only for one month, it exposed the military unpreparedness of India. Indian forces couldn’t stand against China on slaughter. China was successful in the eastern & western regions. China entered 20km in Indian territories. Indian sites suffered the loss of 1383 soldiers, 1996 soldiers couldn’t be traced 1047 soldiers were wounded. On the Chinese side, this number was quite less only 722 lost their life nobody missing & 1697 soldiers were wounded.
This Indo-China war exposed the idealistic limitation of Indian Leaders. “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” lost its appeal. This defeat shocked Indian Leaders into consciousness. Significant military forces were realized as a result of which serious steps were taken to strengthen arm forces.
The bitter experience of the Indo-China war prepared India for a successful fight against Pak there are steps taken by the Government of India to strengthen arm forces ensured Indian victory against Pak in 1965. The defeat of India at hands of China compelled Indian Leaders to come out of idealism & pursue a pragmatic policy so that Indian national interest could remain safe. This Chinese invasion shattered Indian faith in the truthfulness of Chinese leaders, as a result of this India & china could never trust each other wholeheartedly hereafter.