The India- China Equation and Indian Nation Is Miles Behind China
India and China have been living together for over 2000 years, though it's a moot point that the border with China was really a border with Tibet. Another fact is that China has always claimed Tibet as apart of China and for various periods in history has had control over Tibet. It is equally true that Tibet has remained independent for periods of history and the Tibet people have always cherished independence from China as a goal.
Coming to the 20th century an undeniable fact is that the Chinese became addicted to opium and lost their sovereignty to the western powers. Unequal treaties were fostered on China and the result was that a weakened China lost its hold over Tibet. A great catalyst for this change was the British who after the 1903/04 expedition under Gen Younghusband into Tibet and capture of Lasha changed the ground rules and equation. The British forced China to accept the independence of Tibet and ensure that it would remain a buffer against both China and Russia.
The British were shrewd and they made China and Tibet agree to what they wanted and put the changes into what is known as the 1913 Simla agreement. This allows the British to take over Aksai Chin and the North East Frontier territory including the monastery at Twang, which had always been part of Tibet. The British also got the right to station troops in Tibet at 5 places including the capital Lasha.
The Beginning-Nehru's Blunders
In 1947 after the end of World War II, momentous changes took place in the sub-continent. The biggest change was the dismantling of the British empire and the loss of India -the brightest jewel in their crown. Most of this was due to the fiery leader Subhas Chandra Bose who instilled fear in the minds of the English that they could not hold India as the very instrument of suppression the British Indian army was suspect. In addition, Hitler had so emaciated the English that they were drained of the will as well as money needed to hold India.
By a set of circumstance including the mysterious death of Subhas Chandra Bose the leadership if the Indian nation went to Jawaharlal Nehru. When Nehru took over the reins of the remnants of the British empire. He inherited a nation which at that time was the strongest in Asia with a battle-hardened army of almost a million men and rights in Tibet and its recognition as a buffer state. Within 2 years Nehru who had no concept of strategy and world dominance frittered the great power status of India. He lived ina idyllic world of make-believe rooted in the past that Colonialism and Imperialism were a greater threat than a resurgent China, which had come to terms with its destiny. A communist revolution had taken place under Mao Tse Tung and the western powers ousted.
China vs India
Events now moved very fast and left Nehru bewildered. China invaded Tibet in 1950 and the Dalia Lama the spiritual and de-facto ruler appealed for help. Nehru refused to intervene despite his home minister Sardar Vallabhai Patel exhorting him to face China. The result was the Chine overran Tibet in no time with Nehru twiddling his thumbs. In addition, he made a preposterous statement recognizing the suzerainty of China over Tibet and stating that he hoped Mao would respect the autonomy of the Tibet people.
As if this was not enough he made no effort to establish any civil or military control over Aksai Chin and unknown to him the Chinese occupied teh entire are ( almost 30,000 square miles) without awakening the Indian government and Nehru from its slumber.
The occupation was only discovered when an Indian platoon on a routine march was stopped by the Chinese and a few Indian soldiers were shot dead. This was in 1959 and Nehru realized he had committed a blunder. He gave orders to set up military posts in the region but the horse had bolted and when the Indian army went to set up the posts they were confronted by the PLA, which was already there.
This policy of Nehru called the "forward policy" is discussed by Maxwell in his book " India's China war" and Brigadier Dalvi's book " Himalayan Blunder."
As per Maxwell the "forward policy " of Nehru alarmed the Chinese and Mao Tse Tung addressed the Central Committee of the Communist party. He informed the Central Committee that war was inevitable due to the actions of Nehru.
On 20th October 1962, the Chinese struck all across the Himalayas from Ladakh to NEFA. In a swift campaign, the Indian army was defeated. Nehru who was riding the crest of a wave as a "world leader" was in no time reduced to being a man with no spine and rubbery legs. This defeat rankled him and he cut a sorry figure as he realized that he had committed a blunder by trusting China. The shock of defeat and ridicule all over the world was a contributory factor in his death in 1964.
In 1947, Nehru became the prime minister of India when Gandhi intervened on his behalf though Sardar Patel had the greater support. He was however acutely aware of the potency of the army, which had ruled India. Instead of incorporating the army in his global policy, he decided to emasculate it. He reduced the army strength and set up a chain of command that was inimical to conduct of war. He also ensured that the army did not have any modern weapons and the generals promoted were personally loyal to him. He feared a military coup like in Burma and Pakistan and he thought the best way was to de-fang the army and reduce its privileges and importance and not give it any modern weapons. In the bargain, he sold India down the drain.
Psychosis of Fear
The Indian leadership from that time (from the time of Nehru) has remained in awe of China. The anchor cast by Nehru has become like a rope around the neck of the leaders who followed him. The will to match China is non-existent and overall it has been a game of surrender. In every field, China has stolen a march over India and even now Indian industry is not even one-fifth of China. India does not even manufacture a mosquito repellent which is imported from China and HAL has not produced a single plane of any military value while China has been doing reverse engineering and now the 5th generation fighter is within its reach.
The foundation of a policy that has reduced India to second rate power with China lies with Nehru. No Indian leader is able to break from that policy and one wonders what will happen 2 decades down the line.