View Full Version : 1962 border war left deep, wide scar in Indian psyche

23-06-2017, 08:53 AM
1. Brahma Chellaney is professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Center for Policy Research and fellow at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin. The following are excerpts from his June 18, 2017 article headlined "China is grabbing Himalayan land" at http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2017/06/18/2003672767

(Begin excerpts)
...And according to a former Indian Intelligence Bureau top official, India has lost nearly 2,000km2 to the PLA’s encroachments over the past decade.

The strategy underlying China’s actions is more remarkable than their scope. On land, like at sea, China uses civilian resources — herders, farmers and grazers — as the tip of the spear.

Once civilians settle on contested land, army troops gain control of the disputed area, paving the way for the establishment of more permanent encampments or observation posts... (End excerpts)

2. India became the first nation to arrive at Mars on its first attempt and the first Asian country to reach the Red Planet when its Mars Orbiter Mission successfully entered Mars' orbit in 2014. However, there is one place where no Indian rockets or spaceships could ever fly across, that is, the wide scar of 1962 conflict in India's national psyche.

It seems that psychologically India can never recover from its "humiliating" defeat by China in the 1962 border war even though the South Asian country is now a full-fledged nuclear power and is in the process of becoming a superpower at some point during the 21st century.

More than half a century after the border war, there are still many anti-China articles in the Indian media propagating Sinophobia and reminding the people of their "national humiliation". India had been ruled by the Muslim Mughal Empire for four centuries. It was under Western colonial rule for about 310 years. However, both periods of foreign domination had none of the psychological impact on the Indian psyche as compared with the deep scar of the 1962 Sino-Indian border war. Perhaps the Muslim and Western rules had occurred in a more distant time, and the Indians had entirely forgotten their "national humiliation".

In my opinion, the Indians simply could not accept the defeat by a country they considered backward and a "semi-colony" of Western imperial powers not so long ago before World War II. It is just like a boxer who cannot accept defeat by a guy he considers weak and insignificant. Similarly, China seems never to be able to accept the defeat and invasion by modern Japan as it had been treating that country as barbarous and backward in ancient times. Hence China is more fearful of resurrection of Japanese militarism than the growing nuclear threat of North Korea which is now following the military path of pre-war Japan just across its border.

Typically of all anti-China articles by Indian writers, the above-mentioned article is filled with irrational arguments. As India is on track to become the world’s most populous nation by 2022, it is strange that it cannot deploy enough manpower to beef up its border security forces. Furthermore, India can simply "bare its teeth" by detaining the so-called Chinese "civilian resources" — herders, farmers and grazers - if they really encroach on Indian territories. India has enough people to flood the other side of the borders, and one would wonder why India does not use its abundant human resource as the "tip of the spear" against China.

It is unthinkable that Indian border police patrolling the area do not even carry weapons in their docile response or accommodating approach. China is North Korea's economic lifeline, providing nearly all of its fuel and most of its trade. Yet North Korea had seized Chinese boats and fishermen at gunpoint on more than one occasion. In addition, North Korean border guards had crossed the Tumen River over to the Longcheng township in China to kill villagers and commit thefts in 2014 and 2015.

Korea had been a vassal of China for many centuries. Now North Korea seems to have overcome its long periods of "national humiliation". Even now in its early stage of nuclear development, it has no qualms to show its open defiance against China, the US and Japan. It seems that India has no choice but to wait for the arrival of an Indian "Kim Jong-un" to get rid of its 1962 psychological scar.