Even though it happened 50 years ago does the Sino-Indian War still has something to teach us here in the 21st Century?
By: Ringo Bones
The Sino-Indian War, also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict was a military engagement between The People’s Republic of China and India. The initial cause of the conflict was a disputed region of the Himalayan border in Arunachal Pradesh, known to the Beijing government as South Tibet. Fighting began on the 20th of October 1962 between the People’s Liberation Army and the Military of India. The first heavy engagement of the war occurred when a Mainland Chinese attack on an Indian patrol north of the McMahon Line.
The conflict eventually widened to include the region of Aksai Chin – which the People’s Republic of China regarded as a strategic link via the China National Highway route G 219, between the Beijing-administered territories of Tibet and Xinjiang. The war ended when the People’s Republic of China captured both disputed areas and unilaterally declared a ceasefire on the 20th of November 1962 – which went into effect at midnight local time.
The Sino-Indian War was notable for the harsh conditions under which much of the fighting took place, entailing large-scale ground combat at elevations over 14,000 feet or 4,267 meters. This presented numerous logistical problems for both sides – not to mention the thin-air, cold and arid conditions experienced by the combat troops. Even though the conflict officially ended in 1962, from time to time, major skirmishes between Mainland Chinese and Indian troops do occur. The last major one happened back in 1987.
To those too young to experience the war first hand – either by being actually there or in live news broadcasts, the Sino-Indian War of 1962 was often used as a clever literary device by science fiction and TV series writers. The most famous ones are by Gene Roddenberry which a later, larger-scaled conflict, served as a backdrop for his Earth: Final Conflict TV series and on Prison Break, where an environmentally sustainable form of large-scale solar power generation threaten to restart the Sino-Indian War of 1962.