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Day 41 – Q 3.Was underestimating and understating Chinese adventurism in the late 1950s a strategic miscalculation? Substantiate your viewpoint.

3. Was underestimating and understating Chinese adventurism in the late 1950s a strategic miscalculation? Substantiate your viewpoint. 

क्या 1950 के दशक के अंत में चीनी साहसवाद को कम आंकना एक सामरिक गलती थी? अपने दृष्टिकोण की पुष्टि करें।


The Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China both emerged as newly established nation-states at the end of the 1940s, putting behind them decades of prolonged strife and struggle. Endowed with huge, predominantly agrarian populations, burdened with widespread poverty, and possessing economies with underdeveloped and tiny industrial sectors, they faced daunting challenges to governance and development. Both countries were also multi-ethnic, multi-cultural societies that had inherited a variety of border problems and suffered some degree of territorial dismemberment.

India’s miscalculations and understating towards Chinese adventurism in 1950’s:

  • UNSC support: India extended its unequivocal support and was one of the first countries to recognize communist china. India also lobbied for the UN Security Council membership for communist china, which the western world has given to the nationalist china (Taiwan).
  • The Tibet Question: Tibet, which was a British protectorate till 1950 and enjoyed de facto independence, was forcefully occupied by china in October 1950. India did not press upon its special rights over Tibet and accepted the Chinese position on Tibet, as the Tibet had been culturally a part of China, apart from the period when Tibet came under the influence of imperialism.
  • In 1959, in the aftermath of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese high handedness, the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India. Since then India has granted asylum to the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile.
  • India maintains that Dalai Lama is just an honoured guest and India unequivocally recognizes Tibet as the part of china. For china, the asylum to the Dalai Lama is an Indian tactic of keeping the issue of Tibetan sovereignty alive.
  • Panchsheel agreement: In 1954 the famous panchsheel agreement (five principles of the peaceful coexistence) was signed between India and China, in which India officially recognized Chinese sovereignty over Tibet.
  • McMahon line issue: In the east China rejected to accept the McMahon line, which was accepted as the boundary between the Tibet and India in the Shimla conference of 1914.
  • China contends that in the conference the Chinese representative never signed the agreement and the Tibet being the part of China did not have any rights to sign treaties independently.
  • In the eastern sector, China started claiming the whole of NEFA, on the pretext that it was the part of southern Tibet and Tawang town has cultural and Buddhist links with Tibet and china, & also the area became part of the British India only after the demarcation of the McMahon line.
  • NAM: Nehru was on a mission of uniting the third world countries under the umbrella of the non-aligned movement. India’s increasing clout, as some strategic thinkers believe, was causing some heartburn to Chinese leaders.

In 1961, china occupied some Indian administered areas in the eastern sector. In response India resorted to ‘forward policy’, which was interpreted by china as a manifestation of Indian expansionist intentions.

Chinese army launched a simultaneous offensive in Ladakh and NEFA in October 1962. The advancing Chinese acquired several territories in Ladakh and the Tawang in the eastern sector. On November 20, 1962 china announced unilateral cease- fire and withdrew from all disputed territories.


Since 1962, India china relations have been overshadowed by scars of the war of 1962. The sense of hurt national pride in India, that it caused, has made any confidence building exercise meaningless.

Best Answer: John Nash

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