India has learnt little from 1962 war, say experts

Even after five decades of the 1962 India-China war, India has not learnt many lessons and completely failed to understand the Chinese mindset and strategy as far as securing the country's borders are concerned and "even today there is a serious disconnect in political and military relationship in the country". This was the unanimous impression given by the panelists who were invited by the Centre for Security and Strategy (CCS) at a conference, organised under the aegis of India Foundation, here on Sunday. The conference was organised to discuss if India has learnt any lessons from the war and how to neutralise China in future.

The panelists included former Army Chief General Ved Malik; Bharat Karnad, Professor, Centre for Policy Research; former Air Chief Marshal Anil Tipnis; former High Commissioner of India to Pakistan G Parthasarathy; RSS's Ram Madhav; and Punjab's former Director General of Police P C Dogra.

The panelists slammed the Indian politicians governing the nation for the last five decades of having failed to understand the Chinese strategies and mistaking Pakistan as a bigger enemy. Referring to a letter written in 1950 by Sardar Patel to India's first PM Jawaharlal Nehru, Gen Malik said, "The letter in which Sardar Patel warned Nehru on China was kept locked for 18 years. In 1950 when Chinese troops entered Tibet, India yet failed to understand the Chinese ultimate aim. When Chinese started building roads near Indian borders, we learnt about it after two-and-a-half years and still it took another year to disclose the same in Parliament. While Chinese were occupying Tibet, Nehru reduced the armed forces strength from 4.5 lakh to 3 lakh. 1962 war was a flawed forward policy without looking at our own strength and capabilities."

Karnad said, "While Chinese have befriended Pakistan, there is not even one border country with whom we do not have bad relations. There is no problem for Chinese to come in. Rather than having a tit-for-tat policy, we have adopted an appeasement policy. When Chinese missiles were deployed in Pakistan, we should have done the same in Vietnam, showing China that we are ready to play the hard ball".

Questioning Chinese investment in power, electronics and communication sector in India, Parathasarathy said, "China, which has perfected the cyber warfare art, has majorly entered into our communication and electronics. China has built up corporate and politicians lobbies in India."

"Unless we change our culture, our attitude and our strategic approach, we shall not achieve any positive results," said Madhav.

Former Air Force Chief Tipnis also emphasised that there is a need to look at the Chinese strategies and India must formulate its strategies accordingly.

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