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India China Conflict

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Forty years ago, the Indian nation was convulsed by fear and eventual humiliation as its army was vanquished by the Chinese People's Liberation Army in a bitter and cold battle in the Northeast. Forty years later, India has repaired its relationship with the Chinese to some extent, but those wounds have not been forgotten. Excuses have been thrown up for the military debacle. India was ill prepared; it believed in non-violence; it trusted the Chinese and in 'Hindi-Chini bhai bhai'. Fingers have been pointed, most famously at then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, defence minister Krishna Menon, and Lieutenant General B N Kaul, who was in charge of the army on India's eastern frontier. After the war, India claimed that China was occupying about 33,000 square kilometres of its territory in the Aksai Chin region of Ladakh. China claimed that India was occupying 90,000 square kilometres; Beijing claims the entire state of Arunachal Pradesh as its territory. Though the two Asian giants have tried to mend their relations over the decades, several issues remain unresolved: the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile in India; China's non-recognition of Sikkim's merger with India; the nuclear tests in 1998 by India; and India's allegation that China is arming Pakistan, including the latter's nuclear programme. A disputed Himalayan border was the main pretext for war, but other issues played a role. There had been a series of violent border incidents after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when India had granted asylum to the Dalai Lama. India initiated a Forward Policyin which it placed outposts along the border, including several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of a Control proclaimed by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959. Unable to reach political accommodation on disputed territory along the 3,225-kilometer-long Himalayan border,[7] the Chinese launched simultaneous offensives in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line on 20 October 1962, coinciding with...