China-India relations: 1900-1999

From Indpaedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Hindi English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Additional information may please be sent as messages to the Facebook
community, All information used will be gratefully
acknowledged in your name.

The Postal map of China, 1917, an official publication of the Government of China, published in Peking in 1917, clearly shows Aksai Chin, Nepal, Sikkim and NEFA/ Tawang/ Arunachal Pradesh outside Chinese territory.
This particular reproduction of the map has probably been taken from Dorothy Woodman’s Himalayan Frontiers (London, Barrie and Rockliff, The Cresset Press, 1969, page 81).
From the Postal Atlas of China, Nanking, Directorate General Posts, 1933.
Aksai Chin is still mainly shown in India. On Tawang/ Arunachal Pradesh they have changed their stand, but Sikkim has been shown as part of India by this 1933 map. Please note how Doklam has been shown.
Indpaedia wanted to make a nationalist point by showing how this map agreed with the official Indian position. We went to Survey of India’s Nakshe site for the official Indian map. Twice we received OTPs and entered them, very carefully, twice each. Each time the site replied: ‘Invalid OTP.’ Obviously they are not keen to propagate the Indian national position.
China- India relations, 1988-1996 "India Today"



Line of Actual Control

Why India agreed to a Chinese idea of LAC in 1993

Vijay Gokhale, September 29, 2022: The Times of India

The idea of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) itself was a Chinese creation. Having usurped Indian territory in Aksai Chin in the 1950s, Premier Zhou Enlai claimed, in his letter of November 7, 1959 to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, that such a line had existed between the two militaries.

After the border conflict in October 1962, China went on to proclaim that it had unilaterally withdrawn its military forces 20km behind this imaginary Chinese LAC as a goodwill measure, thus maintaining the fiction of the LAC of November 7, 1959. 
India had consistently rejected the concept of an LAC both before and after 1962. From the Indian perspective, China was not physically present in areas that they claimed as lying on their side of the LAC. The actual ground positions of the two sides differed in several areas from the notional Chinese LAC.

This posed a challenge. How could the two sides discuss the idea of peace and tranquility in the border areas without having a common perception of where the two military forces were actually present in relation to each other in those areas?

Without a common point of reference, it might have been practically difficult to ensure peace in the border region. Since the Sumdorong Chu standoff was still unresolved in 1992, a common understanding on the actual ground position of the military forces of India and China was a pressing matter that needed addressing. With this in mind, the Indian side proposed to draw a distinction between the respective boundary claims of the two sides and their actual ground position in the border regions. 
Doing so could enable India to discuss the actual ground situation in the border areas with a view to minimising possible conflict, while retaining its claim to the entire territory. The Indian side was conscious that such an idea might give legal sanctity to the Chinese idea of an LAC, but there appeared to be no other possible way of finessing the matter at the time when the Indian side felt it desirable and on balance to have a more predictable border situation and to lower tensions with China in the border regions.

Tough negotiations

Negotiations, according to those who participated, were long and very hard. The Chinese wanted to insert the term ‘LAC of November 7, 1959’ into the text of an agreement. The Indian side could not agree to such a reference in a bilateral agreement. 
This problem was sidestepped by inserting the provision that both sides would clarify the LAC wherever required, which, by implication, meant that India did not share a common perception with China about the so-called LAC of November 7, 1959. There is no gainsaying that such a formulation did not conclusively reject the Chinese version of the LAC.

But in the circumstances, the alternative might have been a continued state of close confrontation all along the LAC at a time when India was battling Pakistan-sponsored terrorism in both Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Choices had to be made and that is what India did.

The resulting Border Peace and Tranquillity Agreement (BPTA) that was signed during Prime Minister Narasimha Rao’s visit in September 1993 not only formalised a commitment for both sides to respect the status quo, but also contained a provision to reduce military forces on the principle of ‘mutual and equal security’ and to work out confidence-building measures in order to reduce the possibilities of military faceoffs in the future.

Foreign Secretary Jyotindra Nath Dixit, who steered this agreement from the Indian side, later explained India’s rationale for it. He wrote that the BPTA established a jurisdictional pattern regarding the LAC that would reduce the danger of unintended confrontation, because both sides felt it necessary to make moves on the LAC for tactical and counter-tactical reasons.

This agreement served the strategic requirements of India — a more predictable and peaceful northern border — for 20 years. The BPTA was the first agreement of its kind, specifically relating to our border region with China. In his address at Beijing University on September 9, 1993, Narasimha Rao struck an optimistic note when he said, “Even on issues that once divided us, we have agreed on the need for and the manner of dealing with these questions. I am confident that if we both continue this process, our common border will continue to be a border of tranquillity.”

Building confidence

The 1993 agreement became the basis on which both parties built the agreement between the Government of India and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on confidence-building measures in the military field along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China border areas (known as CBMs). This second agreement was signed on November 29, 1996 during the visit of President Jiang Zemin to India.

It not only declared that maintenance of peace and tranquillity along the LAC was in the “fundamental interests of the two peoples”, but also recognised that the full and proper implementation of CBMs depended on both sides arriving at a common understanding of the LAC (this had been India’s point from the start).

Both “agree(d) to speed up the process of clarification and confirmation of the Line of Actual Control”, including through an exchange of maps indicating their respective perceptions of the entire alignment of the LAC. This agreement, thus, made India’s divergence explicit with reference to the Chinese LAC of November 7, 1959, and also moved the needle on the urgency and importance of undertaking the task of clarifying the LAC. Any ambiguity in the 1993 agreement was thus resolved in 1996. 
The Joint Working Group had already begun to work on identifying the possible areas of differing perceptions after resolving the prolonged standoff in Sumdorong Chu Valley in 1995. It has been claimed that both sides identified eight disputed ‘pockets’ along the LAC.

Once the 1996 CBM agreement came into force, both sides agreed to expand this effort by exchanging maps of their respective perceptions of the LAC, beginning with the middle sector (the border with China in the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand).

This marked a significant step in the efforts to concretise measures to guarantee peace and tranquillity in the border regions. By March 2002, both sides had completed the exchange of maps of the middle sector and proceeded to the western sector (the border with China in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Union Territory of Ladakh since August 2019).

In June 2002, both showed their respective maps of the LAC alignment in the western sector to the other side, but there was no further progress in finalising an exchange of maps in this sector. Maps of the eastern sector were neither shown nor exchanged. The reasons for the setback to the LAC clarification exercise have been the subject of speculation. Some experts have claimed that the stalemate happened because both countries had made maximalist claims to their respective LAC alignments.

One report, based on media sources, claimed that many more points of differing perceptions of the LAC alignment had emerged in the western sector as a result of the brief show-and-tell in June 2002, which made the map exchange unpalatable.

Despite efforts by the Indian side to bring negotiations back on track, the Chinese subsequently refused to resume the process of map exchanges that would have given both sides a clearer understanding of the other’s perception. No Chinese writings have yet emerged in the public domain that lucidly explain their reasons for the about-turn.

Excerpted with permission from After Tiananmen: The Rise of China (published by Harper Collins India).


1917-1993: a brief chronology

Ken Herold’s ‘An Annotated Chronology of Relations in the 20th Century’ Ken Herold| Tibet Justice, from which the incidents listed below have been excerpted, gives us some interestingand, from the present perspective, even counter-intuitive, insights:

i) India went to extremes in its trust of China, ignoring US concerns and pressure even as early as in Dec 1948.

ii) However, China did not reciprocate. India recognisedthe People's Republic of China in Dec 1949. Within ten months, in Oct 1950, ‘Peking-Nehru ties [had been] damaged.’ Despite his faith in China as a ‘fellow Asiatic’ country, Nehru had to, on Oct 28 1950, protest the invasion of Tibet by Peking, and had threatened action. Four days later India said that it would not withdraw troops from the [Indo- Tibetan] trade route and Gyantse. Three weeks later India sent further troop reinforcements to its northern frontier.

ii) China did not suddenly invade an unsuspecting India in Oct 1962.As early as in Nov 1950, within eleven months of India’s recognition of the PRC,India had to start resisting Chinese claims to its border areas.

iii) Three months later, on Feb 15 1951,Chinese troops crossed India's northeast border. (This was eleven and a half years before China’s formal war on India) By Nov 1951, the Chinese army had started gathering on Tibet’s (and, therefore, China’s) borders with Bhutan, India and Nepal.

iv) India kept trying to win China over, inter alia, by accepting its suzerainty over Tibet. According to the US government India sold thorium nitrate to China in 1953, which irritated the USA. In 1954, India surrendered post and telegraph facilities in Tibet to China as a 'friendly gesture'.All the same, in Nov 1955, Chinese troops again crossed into India’s border areas. In 1956 China asked India to makeBara Hotia neutral territory on the border, but Nehru said that it was in Indian territory. While wanting friendship with China, Nehru was always firm about India’s territorial integrity. The next month the Chinese intruded into India at Shipki La. These periodic provocations from China would continue till its formal aggression of 1962.

v) Pakistan’s initial relations with China were similar. In 1959 China published new maps showing Pakistan-occupied Kashmir areas as part of China.Pakistan responded by saying that it would defend its borders but that at present [in 1959] it had no dispute with China. Two days later the Pakistani President would say that China’s road-building was a military threat to India and Pakistan. However, three years later, a few weeks after China’s 1962 war on India, China and Pakistan planned a border agreement showing Pakistani control of Kashmir. This was sealed in an agreement in 1963.

vi) And yet Pakistan had started wooing China in 1950 when Pakistan said that Chinese moves in Tibet were its internal affair. This was at a time when Nehru was condemning Peking for its invasion of Tibet. A month later ‘Peking [would] note [with obvious satisfaction] Pakistani criticism of Nehru's objections to [the] invasion.’

The incidents listed below have been excerptedfrom Ken Herold’s ‘An Annotated Chronology of Relations in the 20th Century’ Ken Herold| Tibet Justice.


Postal map of China published by Peking shows Tibet, Mongolia, and East Turkestan as Chinese regions, though not including the Aksai Chin region of the Tibetan plateau.


MAR 23 Delhi conference of all Asian countries includes Tibet as a fully sovereign nation. (Ken Herold)


AUG 9 U.S. Ambassador to India reports that India may not push for Tibetan autonomy as the British had done. (Ken Herold)

DEC 22 U.S. Ambassador to India wires Sec. of State that India feels a communist China would be more Asiatic and anti-Western and thus more cooperative with India than Nationalist China. (Ken Herold)


MAY 21 U.S. Embassy in India reports to State Dept. doubts that India would use force in opposing a Chinese invasion of Tibet. India has advised the U.K. not to make a Lhasa visit in the summer. (Ken Herold)

AUG 8 India-Bhutan border treaty. (Ken Herold)

OCT 13 Nehru meets with President Truman and Secretary Acheson in Washington and says foreign-dominated communism is alien to the Chinese mind and that China is preoccupied with an agrarian revolution. (Ken Herold)

NOV 16 Indian Prime Minister Nehru publicly claims Chinese 'suzerainty' over Tibet. (Ken Herold)

DEC 30 India recognizes the People's Republic of China. (Ken Herold)

DEC 30 U.S. Ambassador in India wires State Dept.: India's policy is to not ask China at all about Tibetan 'autonomy'; India has supplied Tibet with a negligible amount of arms; (Ken Herold)


JAN 10 U.S. Ambassador in India makes secret report to State Dept.: India has no intention to raise the Tibet issue with China and will not answer Tibet's request for two officers to train Tibetan troops other than a detachment at Gyantse; India disfavors Tibet's U.N. admission and says Tibet had not even asked India for help in this regard. (Ken Herold)

FEB 7 Prime Minister Nehru says India sees Tibet as 'autonomous' under nominal 'suzerainty' of China, but says Tibetans should decide their own future. (Ken Herold)

FEB 16 India backs status quo in Tibet and will support policy by diplomacy alone. (Ken Herold)

APR 19 Sec. of State Acheson seeks to covertly strengthen Tibetan military, but U.S. relies on covert Indian aid to Tibet supplied by U.K. (Ken Herold)

MAY 16 India denies Radio Moscow report that India grants U.S. permission to transit India with arms for Tibet.(Ken Herold)

AUG 4 U.S. tells Shakabpa in Delhi that U.S. will provide Tibet financial and military aid, but Tibet must first ask India for more aid and if refused ask for cooperation with delivery of secret aid from U.S. Tibet says it can provide landing fields at Lhasa, Gartok and Chamdo, but U.S. response is cool to suggestions of flights from Burma or Pakistan if India uncooperative. Shakabpa says Tibet refuses Chinese suzereignty and is playing for time and welcomed U.K. refusal of visas to Hong Kong. Ambassador reports to Acheson that U.K. willing to replace Indian military stocks so that India can continue to provide aid to Tibet. (Ken Herold)

AUG 10 India Government denies Chinese troop movements and recognize Chinese claim to Tibet. (Ken Herold)

AUG 16 India High Commissioner Menon says in London that India is trying to moderate Chinese actions against Tibet. (Ken Herold)

AUG 19 India Government disavows Menon's remarks reported 16 August. Tibetans in Calcutta disagree. (Ken Herold)

AUG 25 China replies to India that it must maintain sovereignty over Tibet and did not wish for armed conflict. China has instructed its India ambassador to begin talks with Tibetans at Delhi, with final negotiations in Peking. (Ken Herold)

AUG 25 Nehru says India wants peaceful settlement in China-Tibet talks. (Ken Herold)

OCT 13 U.S. irritated that India has supported Chinese U.N. membership and conveyed Chinese intention to intervene in Korea. (Ken Herold)

OCT 25 Peking Radio announces PLA troop movements into Tibet are to stop 'imperialist oppression'. Tibetan delegation to go to Peking conference. China-Tibet relations since 1914 are reviewed. India concerned over talks. (Ken Herold)

OCT 27 Sec. of State Acheson top secret wire to U.S. embassy in India urges Indian Government to forestall Chinese conquest of Tibet, but U.S. will not press India to take action. (Ken Herold)

OCT 27 Tibetans in India confirm invasion. Peking-Nehru ties damaged. Indian army skeptical of reports. (Ken Herold)

OCT 28 Indian representative in Lhasa confirms invasion to Nehru. (Ken Herold)

OCT 28 Nehru protests invasion to Peking, threatening 'action'. Peking downplays military moves. (Ken Herold)

OCT 29 Indian Ambassador Panikkar confirms invasion. India-China relations strained. India may concede Tibet to China but hope for autonomy. Tibet appeals to India to raise issue in U.N. Pakistan says Chinese moves internal affair. (Ken Herold)

OCT 30 PLA troops advance on Lhasa on four fronts. Tibetan mission leaves Calcutta. Peking surprised at Indian protest. (Ken Herold)

OCT 31 U.S. ambassador in India thinks China will continue its conquest of Tibet regardless of Indian sensibilities. India has instructed its mission to remain open in Lhasa and its military training mission to stay in Gyantse. India has also advised Tibetans not to send delegation to Peking at time of military invasion (Ken Herold)

NOV 1 50,000 PLA troops 100 miles from Lhasa. Peking says invasion is internal affair and rejects Indian protest. China offers to negotiate with Tibetan delegation in India. (Ken Herold)

NOV 2 U.S. ambassador in India discusses Chinese invasion of Tibet with Nehru, who urges U.S. to do nothing. (Ken Herold)

NOV 2 Second diplomatic note from India opposes China. India Cabinet Minister Patel praises Tibet as peaceful country. India will not withdraw troops from trade route and Gyantse.. (Ken Herold)

NOV 3 India asks Tibetan mission to Peking to wait for cease-fire, condemns invasion and says Sino-Indian relations damaged. China says India influenced by U.S. and U.K. attempt to control Tibet. Moscow press article supports China. India-China diplomatic exchange published. (Ken Herold)

NOV 5 Communications restored between Lhasa and Delhi. (Ken Herold)

NOV 5 India says Lhasa-New Delhi radio dead for six days. UP [? UK? US?] says Dalai Lama may be held by pro-Communist Tibetans. Major impact on Sino-Indian relations seen. (Ken Herold)

NOV 10 Patel condemns Chinese attack on Tibet. (Ken Herold)

NOV 10 Minister Patel urges Indians to resist incursions on northern frontier. PLA troops by-pass PhondoDzong.Tibetan Government distressed and considers capitulation. Peking notes Pakistani criticism of Nehru's objections to invasion. (Ken Herold)

NOV 11 India says Tibet asks U.N. mediation, but deny Voice of America broadcasts that PLA have entered Lhasa. India rejects Chinese demand that Indian troops withdraw. (Ken Herold)

NOV 15 Prasad backs Tibetan autonomy. . India wary of Chinese forces nearby. (Ken Herold)

NOV 16 Sec. of State Acheson informs U.S. delegation at U.N. to follow India's lead on Tibet and make to most of propaganda value to help U.S. positions on Formosa and Korea. U.S. will not take initiative and doubts U.N. action would preserve Tibetan autonomy. (Ken Herold)

NOV 18 Tibet to send three delegates to U.N. Indian official says India will back Tibet at U.N. (Ken Herold)

NOV 21 Nehru says India accepts McMahon line fixing NE border with Tibet since 1914 and sends further troop reinforcements to northern frontier. U.N. holds off resolution discussion. (Ken Herold)

NOV 24 U.N. General Assembly votes unanimously to postpone consideration of Tibet question based upon India's hope that China will make peacefulsettlement. U.K. representative says legal situation of Tibet is obscure. (Ken Herold)

NOV 24 Nehru says India will keep diplomatic representatives inTibet in accord with treaties despite invasion. (Ken Herold)

NOV 25U.N. postpones action when India says Tibet and China can reach settlement. (Ken Herold)

NOV 26 U.S. Senator Knowland attacks India for lack of firm stand against invasion. India resists Chinese claim to border areas. (Ken Herold)

NOV 30 U.S. ambassador in India wires Sec. of State that India has not challenged Chinese claims to Tibet and that supposed assurances from China which postponed U.N. debate are dubious. (Ken Herold)

DEC India-Sikkim border treaty. (Ken Herold)

DEC 1 Secret U.S. policy statement on India: U.S. wants Indian manganese for steel industry and access to Indian air transport services. U.S. should offer to develop air navigation and communications facilities. (Ken Herold)

DEC 12 China establishes a government in western Sikang province formerly under Lhasa control. Nehru says PLA has not passed Chamdo. (Ken Herold)

DEC 14 Sec. of State Acheson actively exploring possible joint U.S.-U.K.-India effort to obstruct or halt Chinese assault against Tibet, which he reports has been slowed or stalled by winter. (Ken Herold)

DEC 18 India believes Tibet's military situation is hopeless. (Ken Herold)

DEC 21 British Foreign Office believes U.S.S.R. convinced China that U.K. was prompting Indian designs on Tibet. (Ken Herold)

DEC 27 Government of India expecting Dalai Lama to stay there in exile, he is in transit and should arrive in Gyantse shortly. (Ken Herold)

DEC 27 India orders Tibetans to get permits and register as foreigners to enter India. (Ken Herold)

DEC 28 Tibetan Government to relocate near India border. (Ken Herold)

1950: India first non-socialist country to establish diplomatic relations with PRC

Vijay Gokhale, March 5, 2024: The Times of India

In his new book, the former diplomat takes a look at why India took the lead in recognising communist China in the backdrop of mounting pressure by Britain and a reluctant US. And why the timing, even more than substance, was crucial

On April 1, 1950, India became the first non-socialist bloc country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China (PRC). But the relationship between the countries did not start off smoothly, as shortly after India gained independence in 1947, domestic preoccupations as well as the civil war that had begun in China meant that the new government led by Jawaharlal Nehru had little scope to craft a proper China policy. It also took a turn for the worse over the status of Tibet.

As communist rule began to seem imminent, with the Chiang Kai-shek government losing major control of the country, the British government set out to engage with the US and its partners to assist in “recognising” and dealing with a new political entity. While India decided to wait and watch at first, the shift in the geopolitical landscape and a desire to carve out an independent role in the Indo-Pacific region pushed Nehru to recognise China. The decision was, the author writes, a strategic one based on his worldview that India and China, as the major Asian powers, had to work together.

1950 : Patel cautions about China

ShibanKhaibri , Patel had cautioned Nehru on China "Daily Excelsior" 17/4/2017

DiBold textplomacy with dexterity and political foresight cannot be in every politician’s kit. Nehru tried it hard though undoubtedly he had many abilities, but the results immediate and later, proved otherwise. Handling Kashmir and China proved Nehru wrong even during his life time, not to speak of, after his demise. There are people, including politicians who keep low profile and remain down to earth hence do not surface to the higher levels of due recognition , at least during their life time and awards, medals, prizes etc do not travel their way. To make the point clear, during NDA rule under Vjpayee Ji, we had George Fernandes as Defence Minister who in early 1998 had expressed the strong view that China was “potential threat No.1” and could become an enemy. This he had said in repetition even 10 years later on March 30, 2008. It will sound quite eerie that Sardar Patel, the veteran politician, one gifted with vision as well as strategies had cautioned Nehru about China way back in 1950, nearly a month before his passing away and that also through a detailed letter. 1962 Chinese invasion proved him prophetically right.

That China should “warn “India of mutual relations getting affected if it allowed Dalai Lama to visit Arunachal Pradesh sounds laced with sinister designs against our country. Strident protests by China against the visit of the octogenarian spiritual man to Arunachal Pradesh is nothing but a direct interference in our internal affairs. The Chinese media threatening and strangely so, that blows will be answered with blows, if “India plays dirty” should know that India has conventionally never played any dirty. India, at the same time, made it known to China assertively that Arunachal Pradesh was an inseparable part of India. Dalai Lama terms it a habit for Beijing to give political colour to his “spiritual visit”. China , it is learnt is proceeding with naming his successor while he has been reviewing for long in respect of the continuance of the institution of the Dalai Lama. He too seems to be scared of Chinese ire against his visiting Tawang which China is laying its claim over for quite some time when he feels that if Chinese representative could afford to “accompany” him , it would learn about his apolitical mission which confined to only religious ones. He appealed to China not to treat him as a separatist in the light of his “adopting a middle path”. Claiming Tibet to have very good relationship with China for thousands of years , he reiterates of having no issues with that country over “one China” policy wherein lay economic benefits of Tibet but only if they were allowed to “preserve our own culture and language”.

Had we antagonized China by giving asylum to Dalai Lama in March 1950 after it swooped on “Tibetian rebels”, killed thousands of them and demolished houses, bungalows etc of Dalai Lama and arrested hundreds of them? Was to that extent, not meddling in Tibetan matters, conforming to accepted international principles which Nehru in the burst of claiming champion of liberty and freedom, jumped over with long term ramifications ? There were many issues in run up to Tibetan “uprising” against Chinese onslaught in Tibet which the Sardar had smelt in advance as many as by 9 years. He wanted to share his feelings about our relations with China with Pandit Nehru in a cabinet meeting in 1950 but could not do as “the same was convened at a short notice of 15 minutes “. China had entered into a long correspondence with our External Affairs Ministry through our envoy in China and assured falsely about their good intentions .He told Nehru that Chinese government tried to delude us about their peaceful intentions. Patel felt and wrote to Nehru without mincing words that at a crucial juncture, the Chinese government tried to instill into the Indian ambassador a false sense of confidence in their so called desire to settle the Tibetan problem by peaceful means. The statesmanship acumen in the Sardar can be gauged by his foreseeing an event which was to unfold nearly a decade after the date of this letter (Nov 7, 1950) addressed to “My dear Jawaharlal”. He cautioned Nehru by saying, “There is no doubt that during the period covered by this correspondence, the Chinese must have been concentrating for an onslaught on Tibet, the final action of the Chinese in my judgment, is little short of perfidy.” Patel further had seen a lack of firmness and unnecessary apology in one of the two representations made by our the then ambassador to the Chinese government on our behalf. So much was the Iron Man of India blessed with the prowess of diplomatic intricacies that he could read between the lines too much which an ordinary politician and even “stalwarts” like Nehru could not. This letter in itself is a political document revealing more and hiding very less about how we were taken in by the mechanizations of a treacherous neighbor who like an enemy recently blocked our way to take benefit of international decision against a top terrorist in the world , a citizen of Pakistan and who has been declared as an international terrorist , at the same time warning this country of dire consequences in case we granted permission to Dalai Lama visit one of our own parts of the country, the Arunachal Pradesh.

The Sardar had cautioned Nehru not to treat China as our friend since China did not treat us one despite” Your direct approaches to them with the communist mentality of whoever is not with them is against them , this is a significant pointer of which we have to take a due note.” In 1950 shortly before his untimely death, the Sardar had predicted the real intentions of China and virtually pooh poohed Nehru’s out of box efforts to champion the cause of China internationally as he laments in his letter, “During the last several months, outside the Russian camp , we have been practically alone in championing the cause of Chinese entry in the UNO and in securing from the Americans assurances on the question of Formosa , we have done everything to assuage the Chinese feelings , to allay its apprehensions and to defend its legitimate claims in our discussions with America and Britain and in the UNO. In spite of this China continues to regard us with suspicion and the whole psychology is one , at least outwardly of scepticism, mixed with hostility.”

Patel underlines the fact as to how the North East had been neglected by the Nehru government and he is candid in bringing home to him , “Throughout History , we have been seldom worried about our North East frontier against any threat from the North , In 1914 we entered into a convention with Tibet , which was not endorsed by the Chinese ….recent and bitter history also tell us that communism is no shield against imperialism and that the communists are as good or as bad imperialists as any other.” He laid it bare perhaps for future historians and political analysts to find where we not only erred but committed blunders and he further told Nehru perhaps in the hope to have our relations with that country well defined and reviewed, “For the first time after centuries , India’s defence has to concentrate on two fronts simultaneously, our defence measures so far have been based on calculations of superiority over Pakistan but we shall have NOW to reckon with Communist China in the North and the North East , a communist China which has defence ambitions and aims and which does not in any way seem to be friendly with us.”

The letter is a valuable political treatise dealing on the one hand with our relations with China and second, our priorities and preparedness to confront two belligerent neighbours diplomatically and militarily. He had seen the internal threat to the country as well which he called “serious internal problems” . He writes to Nehru , ” Hitherto Communist Party of India has found difficulty in contacting the Communists abroad or in getting supplies of arms , literature and other help from them , they shall now have a comparatively easy means of access to Chinese Communists and through them to other foreign communists , infiltration of spies , fifth columnists and communists would now be easier.”

China attacked India in 1962 amidst sarcastic slogans “Hind Chinese Bhai Bhai” raised until only a few days before. Nehru and the entire defence preparedness were proved total incompatible and this political and diplomatic hari-kari upset Nehru beyond comprehension but each and every word of that born politician and statesman Sardar Patel proved prophetically correct. Yes, he had seen from China a tsunami in 1950 , say 12 years ago . Had he been alive , Nehru would have bowed before his political sagacity and felt remorseful for his political one-upmanship

1950: India’s response to the Chinese invasion of Tibet

Nirupama Rao, Dec 22, 2021: The Times of India

On August 19, 1950, Nehru in a personal telegram to [India's first ambassador to China KM] Panikkar said that in regard to Tibet, India wished to help in a friendly settlement, "which should aim at the autonomy of Tibet being recognised together with Chinese suzerainty". The invasion of Tibet, as he termed it, might well "upset the present unstable equilibrium and let loose dangerous forces. Some of our border states will be affected."

He added, "Again, for the sake of preserving peace generally, it seems to me the path of wisdom for the Chinese government NOT to precipitate conflict when especially the Tibetan government is eager to discuss matters with China with view to settlement." The Prime Minister felt that these messages expressed an unnecessary nervousness and that he did not believe "any such attempt at pressure tactics is likely to succeed because, ultimately, we have no effective sanctions". India could do little more than give diplomatic support to Tibet in so far as was feasible.

Ambassador Panikkar’s memoirs would suggest that the Chinese were silent about their plans to invade Tibet (the Chinese would deny this). That very month of October 1950, "rumours of a Chinese invasion" began to circulate, as Panikkar put it in his memoir.

On October 25, Radio Peking announced that the process of ‘liberating’ Tibet had begun. In Panikkar’s words "the fat was in the fire" and public opinion in India was deeply agitated. He was instructed by Delhi to lodge a strong protest with the Chinese.

In Delhi, a similar demarche was delivered to the Chinese Embassy’s Counsellor — in the absence of Ambassador Shen Jian — by Foreign Secretary [KPS] Menon.

In reply, Beijing claimed Tibet as an integral part of China. India was accused of "blocking a peaceful settlement" in Tibet and of being in league with the imperialists. Exception was taken to the use by the Indians of the word ‘invasion’ to describe the Chinese move. Tibet had always been a part of China, the Chinese said, to which Menon conveyed that "the statement that Tibet was always a part of China could be contested".

Meanwhile, the Indian media kept on talking about ‘Chinese aggression’. The Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel declared publicly in Delhi in November, that a "peaceful country like Tibet has been invaded and it may not survive. We did not think this would happen. We were maintaining friendly relations with China". He accused China of not accepting India’s advice against military action in Tibet: "We do not know what will be the outcome of this. Tibet is a religious-minded country. There has been no aggression from its side. But when one is intoxicated with power, one does not realise what one is doing." It is intriguing that Panikkar claimed not to know of Chinese plans to enter Tibet before October 1950. In August that year, Liu Po-Cheng, head of the Southern Command of the PLA issued a proclamation to Tibetans stating that the People’s Liberation Army would "soon march towards Tibet with object of driving out the British and American aggressive forces so as to make Tibetans return to the Great Family of the People’s Republic of China". Panikkar himself communicated this development to the Foreign Office in Delhi on August 3, 1950. On August 5, in a message to Panikkar, the Ministry of External Affairs expressed ‘grave concern’ about this decision of the Chinese government.

Surprise was expressed about the reference in the Chinese statement to British and American interests in Tibet since "India alone maintains a mission there", although this was in the charge of a British national Hugh Richardson. India, the response stated, had no designs on Tibet and "is animated solely by desire to see Sino-Tibetan relations adjusted by peaceful means on the basis of enduring friendship among three countries, China, Tibet and India". The action now proposed by China "may NOT only be described as aggression but may threaten world-peace". Panikkar was asked to make representations to this effect to Premier Zhou Enlai, taking into account the possibility of "a rebuff" but with the satisfaction "that risk must be taken in larger interests of world peace".

Panikkar himself came in for trenchant criticism from the Foreign Office in Delhi about his ‘half-hearted’ representations to Beijing about Tibet. "The Ambassador does not appear to have realised that not merely India’s honour but her interests are involved in a satisfactory settlement of the Tibetan problem," Foreign Secretary Menon noted. Girija Shankar Bajpai, Secretary General, Ministry of External Affairs called the tone of the Ambassador’s diplomatic communication ‘lamentably weak’.

He added, "Historical parallels are misleading, but anyone familiar with Sir Neville Chamberlain’s efforts ‘on behalf of’ Czechoslovakia in Berlin will find it difficult to resist a comparison that seems obvious’. He felt that ‘in this matter of Tibet, we have been served badly."

The Prime Minister obviously did not share these opinions. Writing to Panikkar he sounded a note of sarcasm, saying, "I am supposed to have ‘sold out’ to Mao through your bad influence. Panikkar is referred to as ‘Panicky’. It really is amazing how great nations are governed by very small people."

Excerpted with permission from The Fractured Himalaya: India Tibet China, 1949 to 1962 (published by Penguin India)


JAN 2 Indian agent Sinha reportedly ousted from Lhasa by pro-Communists.(Ken Herold)

JAN 12 Refuge prepared at Gangtok for the Dalai Lama. (Ken Herold)

JAN 13 India bars press from entry to Tibet at Tibetan request. (Ken Herold)

JAN 22 NSC 98/1 on U.S. policy on South Asia says Tibet invasion a factor in threat of loss of India to Communism. Critical for U.S. to develop joint U.S.-U.K. policies to oppose U.S.S.R. inroads and keep U.S. access to strategic resources of India. (Ken Herold)

FEB 3 PLA surrounding Lhasa, advance troops at India and western borders. India bolsters border guards.(Ken Herold)

FEB 14 Secret U.S.-U.K. talks in London: U.S. still supporting Tibetan appeal to U.N. but will not initiate any action. U.K. agrees to defer to India, and admits U.N. action would be minimal other than to emphasize a "moral aspect." (Ken Herold)

FEB 15 Chinese troops cross India's northeast border. (Ken Herold)

MAR 13 China border crossing incident downplayed by India. (Ken Herold)

MAR 14 Nehru ready to withdraw troops from trade routes. (Ken Herold)

MAY 28 China-Tibet agreement signed: Tibet to be autonomous, with its own political and religious institutions, and China to control defense and foreign affairs (Ken Herold)

MAY 29 India upset with pact, may ask China for clarification. (Ken Herold)

JUN 12 Nehru says India accepts Communist sovereignty over Tibet. (Ken Herold)

AUG 4 India heightens border security with increased PLA troop activity. (Ken Herold)

AUG 28 PLA troops mass to control passes into India and Nepal. (Ken Herold)

OCT 29 India Ambassador Panikkar says China implements Nationalist policy in Tibet. (Ken Herold)

NOV 8 More PLA troops on India and Nepal borders. (Ken Herold)

NOV 13 PLA troops enter Gyantse, where India has troops which will withdraw if asked. (Ken Herold)

DEC 4 PLA troops near Bhutan border.. (Ken Herold)


MAR 15 PLA strengthens Phari garrison at India-Tibet border. (Ken Herold)

MAR 21 China may ask India to remove trade route troops. (Ken Herold)

MAR 30 Chinese troops mass strength at western Tibetan border with India. (Ken Herold)

MAY 3 Chinese censor mail in Tibet. China asks India for supplies. (Ken Herold)

JUN 4 Nepali representative asked to leave Shigatse residence for use by Panchen Lama. (Ken Herold)

JUN 12 Mrs. Pandit reported to have told Chou in Peking that India recognizes Chinese 'suzereignty' over Tibet. (Ken Herold)

JUN 22 Nehru says Tibet no longer independent. India will remove Indian troops from Yatung and Gyantse if asked. (Ken Herold)

AUG 23 PLA troops entrenched on trade route near India, survey area. (Ken Herold)

NOV 23 India wary of Communist aggression but placates China for sake of 'Asian stability'. (Ken Herold)


JULY U.S. and India dispute over Indian sales of thorium nitrate to China, despite secret sales of monzanite to U.S. (Ken Herold)

SEP 3 U.S. decides not to terminate aid to India over thorium issue but begins buying Indian thorium nitrate and beryl in large quantity. (Ken Herold)

SEP 24 China enlarges garrisons in southern and western Tibet. India asks for conference on Indians in Tibet. Nehru says relations with China are friendly. (Ken Herold)

OCT 22 China agrees to confer with India in December in Peking on various issues. (Ken Herold)


APR 29 India-China agreement on trade between Tibet and India. (Ken Herold)

APR 30 India signs eight-year non-aggression pact with China and says Tibet is part of China. India returns all property in Tibet to China and withdraws troops from Yatung and Gyantse. Agreement regulates trade and pilgrim border crossing issues. (Ken Herold)

MAY 1 India surrenders post and telegraph facilities to China as 'friendly gesture'. (Ken Herold)

MAY 17 Indian Parliament debates Tibet issue and voices disagreement with Nehru on ancient Tibetan autonomy. (Ken Herold)

JUN 6 Sino-Indian pact ratified. Tibet to be known by India as "Tibet region of China." India sends officials to Tibet to close offices. (Ken Herold)

JUN 27 Nehru and Chou En-lai praise pact as model for international relations. (Ken Herold)

JUN 28 Chou praises Nehru concept of 'peaceful coexistence'. (Ken Herold)

OCT 20 Nehru meets Dalai Lama in Peking. (Ken Herold)


APR 2 India gives control over communications facilities in Tibet to China in accord with 1954 pact. (Ken Herold)

NOV 7 Times of India says Chinese troops crossed into disputed border areas. (Ken Herold)


AUG 21 China asks India to make Bara Hoti a neutral territory on border, but Nehru says it is in Indian territory. (Ken Herold)

SEP 8 Chinese intrusion into India at Shipki La. (Ken Herold)

OCT 1 Nehru wires Peking to persuade China to 'allow' Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama to attend 2,500th anniversary of Buddha's birth in India. (Ken Herold)

NOV 1 China 'permits' Dalai Lama to accept invitation to go to India. [JA, 45] (Ken Herold)

NOV 12 Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama visit India. (Ken Herold)


OCT PLA troops enter India near Tibet-Burma-India trijunction. (Ken Herold)


APR 9 Nehru accepts China invitation to visit Tibet. (Ken Herold)

JUL 4 Nehru may visit Tibet in September. (Ken Herold)

JUL 28 Nehru cancels plans to visit Tibet. (Ken Herold)

SEP 20 Nehru welcomed by Chinese officials at Yatung on way to Bhutan. (Ken Herold)

OCT 3 Nehru admits unrest in Tibet. (Ken Herold)


FEB 24 Nehru confirms China occupies Indian territory in Uttar Pradesh. (Ken Herold)

MAR 22 India says communications cut off with Lhasa. Mass demonstrations on 11th, thousands shouting "we are an independent nation!" Revolt began on 13th. India fears influx of refugees. Dalai Lama may seek asylum in Indian Consulate in Lhasa or rebels may ask Nehru for aid. India press condemns China and says revolt is widespread. (Ken Herold)

MAR 23 India says area near its Consulate in Lhasa is quiet, although the main area of the city is well away to the west. Dalai Lama whereabouts still unknown. Notable Indians concerned for his safety doubt China would risk harming him. Indian press 'regrets' Nehru attitude. (Ken Herold)

MAR 24 Nehru tells Parliament his concern for Dalai Lama, but assures China no interference and asks China to respect Indians and their property. 10,000 in India plan to urge Nehru to intercede. (Ken Herold)

MAR 29 Chou En-Lai dissolves Dalai Lama Government and names Panchen Lama as Government head under Chinese military control.Tibetan exiles in New Delhi not met officially and wait to ask Nehru aid. Indira Gandhi says India cannot help much. J. Narayan critical of Nehru inaction. Hindu group demands Nehru bring issue to U.N. (Ken Herold)

MAR 30 China says India allowed revolt leaders to use Kalimpong as plan base, India denies charge.China says rebel leader is former premier Lokongwa now in New Delhi.India public opinion builds against China. Demonstrations at Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. (Ken Herold)

MAR 31 Dalai Lama enters India and life in exile. (Ken Herold)

MAR 31 Lhasa still in turmoil.Nehru tells Parliament: China reneged on autonomy promise, expresses sympathy for Tibetans; questions authenticity of letters of Dalai Lama; reports damage to Lhasa monasteries; says revolt is not new but part of Khampa three-year war; won't be pinned down on refugee policy, but does not foresee large influx from Tibet.. Hindus demonstrate in Bombay at China consulate. (Ken Herold)

APR 1 Nehru assures Tibet delegation he will act in diplomatic channels, but rules out direct steps.India press urges Government aid Tibet. India will probably grant asylum to Dalai Lama; 50,000 PLA troops searching for him; Peking pressrepeats charge India allowed Kalimpong as spy center, and welcomes Nehru's March 23rd statement that India will not interfere in Tibet. (Ken Herold)

APR 2 Menon rebukes China on Kalimpong accusation, blames India communist party, and says India probed China's July1958 complaints about Kalimpong and found them lacking.PLA forces thousands of Tibetans into labor. China rushes more troops to fight Khampas. Tighter control on Indian consulate in Lhasa. . (Ken Herold)

APR 2 U.S. policy is to allow Tibetan refugee problem to pressure India. (Ken Herold)

APR 3 Peking radio says Dalai Lama has reached India "under duress," says India officials from Towang to meet him, and warn against outside interference on Tibet. Nehru confirms arrival. Dalai Lama asks for sanctuary. Nehru pleads Parliament restraint and denies China wanted search or move of Lhasa consulate. Dalai Lama has been granted asylum.(Ken Herold)

APR 4 Nehru officially confirms Dalai Lama's arrival and political asylum in statements to Parliament. Lokongwa says the Government of Tibet now resides in exile in India. (Ken Herold)

APR 5 Nehru hopes for good relations with China in news conference, but cannot ignore situation in Tibet.Indian communists loss of prestige.. (Ken Herold)

APR 6 Nehru says Dalai Lama exercises no political authority, hopes Tibet can regain autonomy, and wants good relations with China while being sympathetic with Tibet. Dalai Lama cheered in Towang.. New Delhi demonstrations against China. Sulzberger lauds Khampas and pans Nehru's neutrality. (Ken Herold)

APR 7 Dalai Lama at Towang monastery to meet Menon.(Ken Herold)

APR 8 Nehru to discuss Dalai Lama's return to Tibet.(Ken Herold)

APR 11 Dalai Lama arrives at Bomdila. Indian U.N. delegate Jha comments on effect of China action for other Asian nations. (Ken Herold)

APR 13Dalai Lama greeted in Bomdila by Buddhists and Menon. (Ken Herold)

APR 14 Nepal Foreign Ministry says Chinese forces damaged Nepal Consulate in Lhasa. (Ken Herold)

APR 19 Dalai Lama statement at Tezpur: China broke all promises on autonomy; broke 1951 pact; he left Tibet freely; 10,000 Lhasans kept him from attending theater show at PLA camp from fear he would be made captive. (Ken Herold)

APR 20 Thousands go to Siliguri to see Dalai Lama. Indian press attack China. (Ken Herold)

APR 21 Nehru tells Parliament Dalai Lama not free to conduct political affairs, refutes Chinese charge that rebellion was organized from Kalimpong. Dalai Lama arrives in Musoorie. Peking attacks his Tezpur statement and repeats claim he was abducted. Panchen Lama says Tezpur statement not freely given. India responds to Chou claim that border needed clarification by saying it is well defined and not subject to negotiation. (Ken Herold)

APR 22 Sherpas claim PLA troops attack Nepal villages in pursuit of rebels.(Ken Herold)

APR 23 Menon denies Indian Government role in Tezpur statement. Nehru tells Parliament China has not replied to Indian protest at new Chinese maps showing large parts of India as Chinese territory.(Ken Herold)

APR 24India deports Prince Peter of Greece for his March 29th statement that India helped China take Tibet in 1950. Nehru meets Dalai Lama in Musoorie.(Ken Herold)

APR 25 Nehru confers with Dalai Lama, says first concern is good ties with China, hopes Dalai can return to Tibet some day.Peking propaganda campaign against Indian 'expansionists' intensifies. . (Ken Herold)

APR 26People's Congress in Peking loudly anti-Indian. India strengthens border on news of new fighting in Lhasa. China bolsters border. (Ken Herold)

APR 28 Nehru tells Parliament: China using 'cold war' language; India deplores use of force against Tibet and her loss of autonomy; denies Indian role or designs in Tibet revolt; Chou promised in 1956 that Tibet would not be forced to be communist; hopes to silence India critics. Truman urges Nehru to fight communism.(Ken Herold)

APR 30 NSC meeting discussion on Tibet: Tibetan revolt might pressure India to cooperate with Pakistan (Ken Herold)

APR 30 Indian northern border insecure, India may try rapprochement with Pakistan. (Ken Herold)

MAY 1 Peking stirs anti-India feeling. Nehru confers with Nepal's king Mahendra. (Ken Herold)

MAY 2U.S.S.R. quiet on China-India tensions.(Ken Herold)

MAY 4 President Eisenhower approves NSC action: U.S. should promote India-Pakistan cooperation in light of Tibetan revolt. (Ken Herold)

MAY 4 Chinese May Day campaign against India continues. (Ken Herold)

MAY 5 Nehru defends grant of asylum to Tibetans, criticizes Chinese acts and accusations. (Ken Herold)

MAY 6 Eisenhower news conference, expresses sympathy for Nehru, no comment on U.S. aid to India in light of border threat. (Ken Herold)

MAY 7 China calls for good relations, says India need not fear Chinese control of Tibet. (Ken Herold)

MAY 9 Nehru attacks China's 'war-like statements', Chinese maps show Indian territory as Chinese, . (Ken Herold)

MAY 18 Indian Ambassador to U.N. Jha says India will remain non-aligned. (Ken Herold)

MAY 19 Indian outcry on Tibet waning. (Ken Herold)

MAY 25 India puzzled at presence of seven PLA troopers with Tibetan refugees at Misamari. (Ken Herold)

JUN 6 Indian lawyer B. Trikamdas sees evidence of genocide against Tibetans.(Ken Herold)

JUN 13 Nehru condemns nations not practicing 'peaceful coexistence' meaning China. (Ken Herold)

JUN 15 Joint India-Nepal statement at end of Nehru visit says no country should be dominated by another. (Ken Herold)

JUN 19 U.S. ambassador to India Bunker says India will not divert from non-alignment in spite of very strong reaction to Tibetan events. (Ken Herold)

JUN 24 Dalai Lama talks with Indian socialist leader J. Narayan, who backs Tibet self-government. (Ken Herold)

JUL 1 India won't recognize Dalai Lama as head of Tibet Government.(Ken Herold)

JUL 8Nehru reasserts Dalai Lama not head of Tibet Government. (Ken Herold)

JUL 11 Narayan urges U.N. debate, opposes Indian policy. (Ken Herold)

AUG 7Nehru says China violates spirit of 1954 pact on Tibet.(Ken Herold)

AUG 14Nehru says China forces in Tibet very large, assumes China accepts McMahon line. (Ken Herold)

AUG 20Nehru denies Chinese troops in India and occupy Bara Hoti plateau. (Ken Herold)

AUG 22 Times of India reports two Chinese troop border violations. (Ken Herold)

AUG 24Bhutan upset at China massing troops on border. Sikkim also threatened. (Ken Herold)

AUG 25Menon says situation in Tibet getting worse. Nehru confirms China controlling pilgrims. (Ken Herold)

AUG 26 Nehru will defend Bhutan and Sikkim if invaded by China. (Ken Herold)

AUG 27Assam denies incursion by PLA troops at Nathu La. (Ken Herold)

AUG 28Times of India reports India-China border clash. (Ken Herold)

AUG 29Nehru confirms Chinese border attack, that many have happened in past and India will defend her borders(Ken Herold)

AUG 30 India militarizes Tibet border guard and will press PLA withdraw from Longju. (Ken Herold)

SEP 1Nehru rejects proposal to bomb Chinese road in Ladakh.Incursions in Siang and Lohat areas of Northeast Frontier. (Ken Herold)

SEP 2 Indian ambassador in U.S. says ties with China do not mean India will allow border violations.Indian press reports more border incursions by PLA.(Ken Herold)

SEP 4PLA incursions into India, Sikkim and Bhutan continue. Indian troops posted at Nathu La and Jelap La.(Ken Herold)

SEP 5 China blames India for border aggression; India won't be bullied; defeats Parliament move to urge U.N. action on Chinese occupation of Tibet; U.N. debate will not help Tibetans; wants friendship with China. China invades three areas of Ladakh and holds Minsar. (Ken Herold)

SEP 8 Nehru reports to Parliament on border dispute and differs with Dalai Lama on appeal to U.N. Chou En-lai repudiates McMahon line. (Ken Herold)

SEP 9 India disputes Dalai Lama on status of Tibet by asserting it is part of China. (Ken Herold)

SEP 10 Chou statements: denies aggression; disputes McMahon line or Ladakh boundaries; Britain to blame for past expansion towards Tibet; China recognizes India as protector of Bhutan and Sikkim.Times of India says PLA attack on August 25th at Longju confirmed. (Ken Herold)

SEP 11Nehru urges peaceful settlement of border dispute. (Ken Herold)

SEP 13India reinforces border again, concedes Eastern Ladakh border is unsettled, but still asserts McMahon line as legal boundary. Anti-India rallies in Chinese cities. (Ken Herold)

SEP 14. Nehru confers with U.S.S.R. Ambassador Benediktov and with Dalai Lama. (Ken Herold)

SEP 16 Bhutan to build roads to India to counter China threat. (Ken Herold)

SEP 17Chinese communist party press urges India halt Dalai Lama actions. (Ken Herold)

SEP 19 Nepal says PLA troops cross northern border. (Ken Herold)

SEP 20 Indian opposition to Chinese admission to U.N. noted as new policy(Ken Herold)

SEP 22PLA troops in Sikkim in pursuit of rebels, 15,000 PLA troops on border. (Ken Herold)

SEP 28PLA troops take more Indian territory and take goods near Uttar Pradesh. . (Ken Herold)

SEP 29India builds 70-mile road to Niti Pass near area claimed by ChinaIndia publishes a new political map of border with Tibet, says 40,000 square miles are disputed with China holding a million people. Nehru critical again of China.(Ken Herold)

OCT 1 Nepal reports PLA incursions. (Ken Herold)

OCT 5Nehru letter to Chou demands PLA withdraw from Indian land prior to border talks. Nepal to post border troops. (Ken Herold)

OCT 7Menon says China must pull back troops before border talks. Pakistan sees new Chinese maps showing Pakistani-held Kashmir areas as part of China. Sulzberger says China acted out of fear of a hostile Tibet Government. (Ken Herold)

OCT 8Chou down-plays differences in response to Nehru. (Ken Herold)

OCT 9 Nehru says India will resist further Chinese advances into India. (Ken Herold)

OCT 12Menon cites Chinese border incursions. (Ken Herold)

OCT 13 . China continues to restrict border traffic with India and Kashmir into Tibet. (Ken Herold)

OCT 15China-India troops face-off at Khinzemane.(Ken Herold)

OCT 21Chinese survey beyond Sikkim and Bhutan borders. PLA troops withdraw from Longju outpost. (Ken Herold)

OCT 22U.N. votes 45-9 to express grave concern over human rights abuses in Tibet. U.S. votes yes, U.K. abstains in puzzling display of doubt over her recognition of Tibet as an independent nation. India likewise does not support Tibet.Pakistan says it will defend borders but at present has no dispute with China. (Ken Herold)

OCT 24India says 17 killed in border fight 40 miles inside southern Ladakh. China blames India for attacks. Pakistani President says China road-building is military threat to India and Pakistan.. (Ken Herold)

OCT 25 Nehru again warns China, acknowledges new fighting in Ladakh where snowfall halts Indian move to reinforce troops. (Ken Herold)

OCT 26Growing Indian anger over Chinese actions in press. India shifts troops to northern frontier. (Ken Herold)

OCT 27China claims Indian patrol fired on PLA in Ladakh, has ten captives and nine bodies in offer to return. (Ken Herold)

OCT 28 India accepts offerPLA troops at Chushul airstrip built by India. (Ken Herold)

OCT 29China agrees to negotiate with Nepal on Tibet border. Nehru's staunch path of nonalignment. (Ken Herold)

OCT 31 China demands larger territory in Northeast frontier of India, says troops will enter unless India cedes large area. (Ken Herold)

NOV 1 Indian army takes direct control of frontier with Tibet(Ken Herold)NOV 2 India prepares for war with China in defense of border with Tibet. (Ken Herold)

NOV 3 Indian army enters areas claimed by China. (Ken Herold)

NOV 5 India restates demand that China withdraw troops prior to talks. (Ken Herold)

NOV 6 Nehru downplays possible war with China, hopes to discuss situation with Pres. Eisenhower during his visit to India. (Ken Herold)

NOV 8 PLA planning stay through winter in Ladakh. (Ken Herold)

NOV 9India officially notifies China that border situation is critical, repudiates Chinese statement of October 26th.(Ken Herold)

NOV 10 Chou proposes conference with Nehru and plan which would cede large area of Ladakh to China. Indira Gandhi attacks Chinese plan, sees threat to Bhutan. Nehru says plan to China advantage. (Ken Herold)

NOV 11 Nehru rejects Chinese territorial claims. China massing troops in Tibet on Sikkim and Nepal borders. India seeks helicopters to patrol frontier. (Ken Herold)

NOV 12 Border dispute to be major topic of Nehru-Eisenhower talks. Nehru sees armed force may be necessary since China has increased claims to Indian territory. Ladakh anti-Chinese. (Ken Herold)

NOV 13U.S. Secretary Herter news conference: U.S. has no position on border dispute; U.S. has insufficient evidence on which to decide issue; presumes India correct; later condemns Chinese use of force. Chou set to exchange McMahon line for land in Ladakh. Indians upset at U.S. position. (Ken Herold)

NOV 14 Herter tries to assure India that he did not intend to show U.S. support for Chinese aggression. China prepared to release captive Indians. Former President Truman says Nehru wants peace. (Ken Herold)NOV 15India puzzled and surprised at Herter statements on U.S. policy.China releases captives and remains of dead Indians. (Ken Herold)

NOV 16 Herter statement published widely in India. Parliament to debate border issue. (Ken Herold)

NOV 17 Nehru issues White Paper on territorial claims, rejects Chou plan. (Ken Herold)

NOV 18China built airbase in occupied Ladakh. (Ken Herold)

NOV 19Nehru rejects talks until PLA withdrawal. Dorji of Bhutan supports Indian stance. (Ken Herold)

NOV 20Nehru says violation of Bhutan and Sikkim would be declaration of war, says Nepal sympathetic to India, and denies Chinese airbases at Chushul or Ladakh. (Ken Herold)

NOV 21 Nehru rejects Chou plan before Parliament, suggests mutual withdrawal with China going first. 40,000 square miles at issue. (Ken Herold)

NOV 22 Nehru calls up reserve forces. China not likely to back down. (Ken Herold)

NOV 23 Tito upset at Chinese actions, supports Nehru. (Ken Herold)

NOV 25 Nehru calls for national unity in Parliament, says he will try to avoid war but is prepared for conflict. (Ken Herold)

NOV 28 India restricts Chinese in Kalimpong and watches 10,000 Chinese in India. Nehru pledges to defend Nepal. (Ken Herold)

NOV 29 Nehru sees crisis near. (Ken Herold)

DEC 2 PLA moves into three important areas of Nepal. (Ken Herold)

DEC 4 U.N. Security Council asked to preserve Kashmir frontier and halt India-China split of Ladakh. (Ken Herold)

DEC 6Nepal hopes for peaceful settlement as friend to both India and China (Ken Herold)

DEC 7Disguised Chinese agents in Nepal. (Ken Herold)

DEC 9 Nehru sees long-term crisis and need for military readiness. (Ken Herold)

DEC 13 U.S.-India ties strengthened due to Chinese acts. (Ken Herold)

DEC 14 Eisenhower did not discuss military aid to India with Nehru. (Ken Herold)

DEC 16Heavy PLA troop concentrations along Nepal-Tibet border. (Ken Herold)

DEC 19 Chou proposes December 26th meeting with Nehru, holds to Chinese claim to part of Ladakh. (Ken Herold)

DEC 21 Nehru says favorable Indian reception of Eisenhower due in part to border dispute, sees long crisis. (Ken Herold)

DEC 22 Nehru rejects Chou offer but Parliament overrules and begins debate. Chinese in Calcutta loyal to India seek exemption from restrictions. Chinese military advantage describedNepal reports two border incursions by PLA. (Ken Herold)

DEC 23 Nehru rejects plan to oust Chinese from Eastern Ladakh by force, says war would last indefinitely and backs talks. (Ken Herold)

DEC 24 China pressures Nepal on defense pact. (Ken Herold)

DEC 27Nepal says no invasion, but Chinese have infiltrated agents into Nepal and massed troops in Tibet. (Ken Herold)

DEC 30 New Chou letter to Nehru. Nepal to aid Tibetans in Kathmandu valley.. (Ken Herold)


MAR 11India protests to China on treatment of Indians in Tibet. (Ken Herold)

JUN 15Many Nepali traders killed by PLA at Shekar. China warns Hindu pilgrims against travel to Tibet holy places. (Ken Herold)

JUN 23Nepal says PLA losing battle in Parkha area. (Ken Herold)

JUN 24New fighting in Lake Manasarowar area. (Ken Herold)

SEP 11 Narayan of India says Dalai Lama may send delegation to U.N. to urge Tibetan self-determination, urges Nehru to speak out on issue of Tibetan freedom under moral obligation. (Ken Herold)

OCT 2 China disrupts Nepal-Tibet trade.. (Ken Herold)

NOV 8 J.J. Singh urges U.N. to condemn China for Tibet oppression. (Ken Herold)


See also

1962 war: Gist of the Henderson Brooks Report

1962 war: Henderson Brooks Report: An Introduction

1962 war: history

1962 war: The Chinese perspective

A chronology

FEB 3 Denial [presumably by US] that aircraft dropping arms to Khampas in northern Nepal. India worried about potential PLA strike inside Nepal. (Ken Herold)

MAR 24 Nehru opposes China plan for new treaty not dealing with border. (Ken Herold)

JUN 2India not to renew trade agreement with Tibet due to border dispute with China. (Ken Herold)

JUN 7 China-India treaty expires, Nehru pledges peaceful coexistence. (Ken Herold)

JUL 1China breaks radio link to Indian consulate in Lhasa, only radio link from Tibet to non-Communist nations. (Ken Herold)

SEP 9 India decides to fight for Chinese-occupied Thagla Ridge area. (Ken Herold)

OCT 10 Chinese and Indian troops fight near Dhola. (Ken Herold)

OCT 17 China prepares for offensive all along Tibetan border with India. (Ken Herold)

OCT 20 China launches full-scale offensive. (Ken Herold)

OCT 23 Major Indian offensive fails, forces retreat and abandon Tawang. [ (Ken Herold)

OCT 29 U.S. agrees to supply weapons to India. (Ken Herold)

NOV 3 U.S. weapons begin arriving in India. (Ken Herold)

NOV 20 China declares unilateral cease-fire after successful offensive and after Nehru makes urgent request for aid from U.S. and U.K. (Ken Herold)

DEC 26 China-Pakistan border agreement planned showing Pakistani control of Kashmir, claimed by India. (Ken Herold)


MAR 2 China-Pakistan border agreement signed with India protest. (Ken Herold)

MAR 30 China claims India using Tibetans and Dalai Lama in India to interfere in China's internal affairs. . (Ken Herold)

JUL 30Nehru warns of Chinese military build-up in Tibet. (Ken Herold)


MAR 27China says India inciting rebellion in Tibet by supporting Dalai Lama. (Ken Herold)

DEC 14 Times of India says China offering nuclear weapons specialists to Indonesia. (Ken Herold)


SEP 7China denounces Indian aggression in Pakistan and pledges full support for Pakistan as fighting intensifies in Kashmir. (Ken Herold)

SEP 16China gives India ultimatumover Kashmir fighting. U.S. sides with India and warns China against involvement. (Ken Herold)

OCT 27 Minister Chagla wants India to reconsider 1954 pact recognizing China's sovereignty over Tibet. (Ken Herold)

DEC 15At the U.N. the Philippines, India, Ireland and Thailand say Tibetans being ruthlessly repressed by China. (Ken Herold)

1967: India's victory over China

The 1967 Nathu La and Cho La clashes were a series of military conflicts between India and China along their disputed Himalayan border. The conflicts took place in the vicinity of two mountain passes, Nathu La and Cho La, in the present-day Indian state of Sikkim.

The Nathu La conflict began on September 11, 1967, when Chinese troops opened fire on an Indian patrol party. In response, the Indian Army launched a counterattack, which quickly escalated into a full-scale battle involving thousands of troops on both sides. The Chinese were initially able to make some gains, but they were eventually repulsed by the Indian Army, which launched a coordinated attack and took control of several key positions.

The Cho La conflict began a few weeks later, on October 1, 1967. In this clash, the Chinese launched a surprise attack on Indian positions on the Cho La pass. The Indian Army was able to successfully repel the attack, and the Chinese suffered heavy casualties.

Both conflicts lasted for several days and resulted in significant losses on both sides. According to official records, the Indian Army suffered 88 killed and 163 wounded in the Nathu La conflict, while the Chinese suffered over 300 killed and 450 wounded. In the Cho La conflict, the Indian Army suffered 40 killed and 90 wounded, while the Chinese suffered around 100 killed and 180 wounded.

Overall, the clashes at Nathu La and Cho La were considered a victory for India, as it was able to successfully defend its territory against Chinese aggression. The conflicts also highlighted the need for both countries to resolve their long-standing border disputes, which they eventually did in 1993 with the signing of the "Agreement on the Maintenance of Peace and Tranquillity along the Line of Actual Control in the India-China Border Areas".


DEC 31 Tibetans attack Chinese Embassy in New Delhi over China's harassment of author of book Revolt in Tibet, Frank Moraes. (Ken Herold)


JAN 4 China demands compensation from India for Tibetan attack on embassy. (Ken Herold)



JUL 17 Kissinger tells India that U.S. would not oppose China if China joined Pakistan in war with India. (Ken Herold)


SEP 11 China will not recognize Indian ‘annexation’ of Sikkim, which it had condemned as colonial expansion. (Ken Herold)



MAY 20 India and China resume trade. (Ken Herold)

JUL 24 India and China resume relations after 14 years. (Ken Herold)


MAR 10 India's internal secret service subverts planned demonstration at Chinese embassy in Delhi by the Tibetan Youth Congress, hundreds of Tibetans arrested. (Ken Herold)


APR 17 Prime Minister Desai admits India-U.S. intelligence team planted a nuclear-powered spy device in the Himalayas in 1966 to monitor Chinese nuclear tests at Lop Nur. (Ken Herold)

MAY 5 India Minister Vajpayee restates policy that India says Tibet is part of China. (Ken Herold)


MAR 8 India and China discuss Tibet as part of China. China may consider permittingIndians to visit Kailash and Lake Mansorova[r]. (Ken Herold)

JUN 26 Dalai Lama welcomes improved relations between China and India as a benefit to solving Tibet issue. (Ken Herold)

AUG 3 BalrajMadhok, president of Indo-Tibetan Friendship Society urges India to work towards Tibet as a zone of peace. (Ken Herold)

SEP 5 India lifts trade barriers with Tibet region. (Ken Herold)



AUG 19 China move of Lop Nur missile base to Nagchuka in Tibet brings major Indian cities within ICBM range. (Ken Herold)

OCT 22 Chinese officials want to re-open Tibet-India border to trade, this from recent talks on pilgrimages by Indians to Kailash and Lake Mansorova. (Ken Herold)

NOV 1 Indian pilgrims to southwestern Tibet say monasteries were destroyed in Cultural Revolution. (Ken Herold)

DEC 3 China setting up ICBM bases in Tibet along Indian border. (Ken Herold)

1987: standoff in the Sumdorong Chu Valley

India and China did not have a full-scale war in 1987. However, there was a significant military standoff between the two countries in the Sumdorong Chu Valley in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The standoff began in July 1987 when the Indian Army launched Operation Falcon to establish a military post in the Sumdorong Chu Valley, which China claimed as its own. The move was seen as a response to China's increasing military activities in the region, including the construction of a road near the disputed border.

The Chinese responded by deploying thousands of troops along the border and launching a military exercise near the disputed area. The two sides engaged in a series of negotiations and talks to resolve the standoff, but tensions remained high.

The situation was eventually defused in November 1987, when both sides agreed to withdraw their troops from the area. The Indian Army dismantled its post in the Sumdorong Chu Valley, while the Chinese also withdrew their troops.

The standoff in 1987 highlighted the unresolved border disputes between India and China and the potential for military escalation. It also led to the establishment of more robust mechanisms for border management and communication between the two countries, including the creation of a hot line between the leaders of the two countries.


JUN 16Western experts say China has tens of thousands of troops in Tibet as buffer with India. (Ken Herold)


JAN 3 Tibetans in India challenge Prime Min. Rajiv Gandhi's assertion of Chinese sovereignty over Tibet in December 1988 statement while he visited Peking. (Ken Herold)

MAR 8 China imposes martial law in Lhasa as protests continue for third day. Twelve dead and more than 100 wounded. Most serious challenge to Chinese rule since 1959 uprising.



AUG Report of U.S. trade sanctions against China for M-11 missile technology transfer to Pakistan. (Ken Herold)

See also

1962 war: Gist of the Henderson Brooks Report

1962 war: Henderson Brooks Report: An Introduction

1962 war: history

1962 war: The Chinese perspective

China- South Asia relations

China vis-à-vis India: Defence issues

China vis-à-vis India: Levels of development

China-India economic relations

China-India relations, 2000 onwards

China-India relations: 1899-1901

China-India relations: 1900-1999

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

Chinese intrusions into Indian territory

India’s relations with China and Pakistan

Pakistan- China Relations

…and many more. Click the ‘China’ link at the bottom of this page

Personal tools