Monday, September 20, 2021

Liu Lin sent up to Urumqi

Lt Gen Liu Lin, commander XMD
According to Caixin, Maj Gen Liu Lin, formerly commander of South Xinjiang Military Region/District (SXMD) has been promoted to the rank of lieutenant general and to the grade of deputy commander of a Theater Command.

Caixin noted: “A military cadre by training, he has served in the Xinjiang Military Region/District (XMD) for a long time and participated in two major military parades.”

Liu Lin is known in India for having been the interlocutor of the 14 Corps Commander in Moldo/Chushul in Ladakh during the 12 rounds of talks following the Chinese incursions in several places in Ladakh; Liu Lin headed the Chinese delegation.

Liu Lin’s promotion means that the Central Military Commission (read Xi Jinping, its Chairman) is happy with the way that he dealt with India.
Xinhua added: “Long-serving Xinjiang Military Region commander Liu Lin has recently been promoted to the grade of deputy of the Theater Commander (‘War Zone’) and to the rank of lieutenant general (two-star).

According to Xinjiang News and Xinjiang Daily, the autonomous region (Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region or XUAR) held a ‘work meeting’ on September 18 to implement the spirit of the 8th National Conference on Counterpart Support to Xinjiang.
Liu Lin attended the meeting, along with two 19th Central Committee alternate members, Wang Junzheng, deputy secretary of the Xinjiang Party Committee and party secretary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, and Ayrken Tuniyaz, member of the Standing Committee of the Xinjiang Party Committee and vice chairman of the XUAR.

Liu Lin himself is not part of the Central Committee …as yet.
He may soon be nominated to the XUAR's Standing Committee too.

Footage from Xinjiang News Network showed Liu Lin wearing a lieutenant leneral's uniform and a six-row, one-star seniority badge, indicating that he has been promoted to the rank of deputy ‘War Zone’ (Theater Command).

Gen Wang Haijiang (before his promotion)

“Gen Liu Lin previously served as commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region (SXMD) and has held several military commander-level talks with the Indian side since the Sino-Indian border conflict in 2020”, noted Xinhua.
The Indian negotiators in Ladakh (the 14 Corps commander) will now face a new commander during the 13th round of talks in Moldo/Chushul.

An artillery man, Lt Gen Liu participated in Zurihe military parade on 2017 as leader of the self-propelled artillery team.

Importantly for India, both Lt Gen Liu Lin, the new XMD commander and Gen Wang Haijiang, who is the commander of the Western Theater Command (based in Chengdu), looking after the Tibet and Xinjiang borders, have an in-depth knowledge of the Indian frontiers and the Indian forces opposite the People’s Liberation Army in these areas.

Gen Wang Haijiang who was recently promoted to full general (three-star) by Xi Jinping, the Chairman of the Central Military Commission, was posted in Tibet (TMD) in 2016 as deputy commander, then as commander, before being transferred on April 1, 2021 to Urumqi as XMD commander (a post now occupied by Liu Lin) and in August he was promoted to the rank of general to take charge of the WTC.

Gen Liu Lin Resume

Liulin (Lieutenant General)
Commander of the Xinjiang Military Region of the Chinese People's Liberation Army
Term of office: September 2021-present

Personal Information
Gender: Male
Born: 1964
Nationality: People's Republic of China
Political Party: Communist Party of China Communist Party of China
Military rank: Lieutenant General of the Chinese People's Liberation Army

Lieutenant General Liu Lin served in the Xinjiang Military Region for a long time, serving successively as commander of the 8th Division of the Xinjiang Military Region, chief of staff of the South Xinjiang Military Region, deputy commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region and commander of the South Xinjiang Military Region
He now been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General

Gen Wang Haijiang's promotion last month (behind Xi)



Sunday, September 12, 2021

The Importance of Tibet – ‘Ethnic Work’ in Progress

My article The Importance of Tibet – ‘Ethnic Work’ in Progress has been published on the Chanakya Forum website.

Here is the link...

Why are Members of the politburo of the Communist Party of China’s (CPC) Central Committee so attracted by Tibet these days? During the last two months, ten out of the twenty-five members of the politburo travelled to the Roof of the World.

One remembers a Party Secretary, who later became Chinese President (and General Secretary of the CPC), who during his three years posting in Tibet tried his best to avoid to fly to Lhasa; the young Hu Jintao did not like the place. He once told a journalist that he “disliked Tibet’s altitude, climate and lack of culture”. During his tenure, he shuttled between Lhasa and Beijing where the real power was; there was a common joke about Hu amongst Tibetan cadres: ‘Where is Hu?’ The answer was: ‘Hu is in Beijing Hospital.’ He often reported sick each time he was going to leave Beijing!

That was some thirty years ago.

Today, ‘important’ cadres have to make sure that they are seen in Tibet.

Xi Jinping Visit to Nyingchi and Lhasa

The ‘Emperor’ himself, the ‘Core Leader’, Xi Jinping paid an ‘inspection tour’ of Central and Southern Tibet between July 21 and 23; it was his first visit to Lhasa after a gap of ten years, though he had visited the Northeastern province of Amdo (today Qinghai) in June.

Five members of the Politburo accompanied the General Secretary (concurrently serving as Chairman of the all-powerful Central Military Commission).

It is interesting to look at Xi’s delegation; the composition of a delegation is a clear indicator of the purpose of the ‘inspection tour’, especially in a system where the information is entirely monitored by the State and where watchers are left to read signs.

Xi’s Delegation from Beijing

First, Ding Xuexiang, CPC’s General Secretary and a Secretary of the Party Secretariat; he usually accompanies Xi on his visits/inspection tours. His role is to make sure that decisions are implemented and that there is a concrete follow-up.

Also regularly seen during Xi’s tours is Liu He, Vice-Premier and member of the Politburo. Liu further serves as Director of the Office of the Central Financial and Economic Affairs Commission. Liu He is Xi’s trusted lieutenant, who has several times been used to fill up the ‘perception’ gap between China and the US. He takes care of the financial aspects of the visit.

Yang Xiaodu is the Director of the National Supervisory Commission and also Deputy Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) which makes sure that everybody follows the line of the Party. We shall see in a few months if a few heads roll; if it happens, Yang’s hand will certainly be behind.

Incidentally, during his early political career, Yang served several years in Tibet (1986-1992, Deputy Commissioner, Nagchu Prefecture; 1992-1995, Deputy Secretary, Chamdo, 1998-2001, vice-chairman, TAR government); Yang knows Tibet well, having served fifteen years.

One noted the absence of another Politburo member and old Tibet hand: Hu Chunhua; the Vice Premier was not on board for the visit. He had served in Tibet from 1983 to 2007 and is the only member of the Politburo who can fluently speak Tibetan. Probably, the emperor does not like to be in the shade.

Then Chen Xi, also a member of the politburo and head of the Organization Department and like Xi Jinping a graduate from Tsinghua University (they know each other since that time). Chen is President of the Central Party School and Vice-minister of Education and Vice Chairman of the China Association for Science and Technology. Xi clearly wants to bring modernity …to the borders with India.

The presence of General Zhang Youxia, Vice-Chairman, Central Military Commission (CMC), also member of the politburo is explained by the ‘important’ meeting between the CMC Chairman (Xi) and all the officers of the Tibet Military District (TMD), including the Commander and the Political Commissar of the Western Theater Command or WTC (based in Chengdu) which had a new Commander, Gen Xu Qiling. The WTC not only looks after Tibet but also the Ladakh front (incidentally Gen Xu Qiling lost his job since then, but we shall come back to this).

The CMC Chairman was certainly briefed in detail about the borders with India when he met the top brass of the Theater Command.

To this list of six members of the politburo, one should add He Lifeng, Minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the equivalent of our Planning Commission. His presence means that a number of large projects, including the railway line between Lhasa and Chengdu and the Giga hydropower plants on the Yarlung Tsangpo will soon be undertaken. Xi was personally explained the implications of these projects while on the banks of the mighty river, which becomes the Siang and the Brahmaputra in India.

The People’s Daily resumed the tour’s objectives: “implement the Party’s strategy for governing Tibet in the new era and write a new chapter in long-term stability and high-quality development of the snow-covered plateau.” This refers to the 7th Work Forum held in August 2020 which defined the development policies for Tibet for the five next years, particularly the Sinicization of Tibetan Buddhism.

But undoubtedly, the emphasis was the military and economic development of the borders with India. An indication: in the Annual Report presented by the Tibet Autonomous Region’s government a few months earlier, the word ‘border’ was mentioned 54 times, while ‘Dalai Lama’ only once.

Xi Jinping wants to change the organization of the border for good; we shall see how.

Visit of Wang Yang in Tibet

But that was not all; on August 19, a central delegation led by Wang Yang, a member of the Politburo’s Standing Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) arrived in Lhasa to attend the 70th anniversary functions. Wang is No 4 in the Communist pantheon.

One can ask, why not celebrate the so-called liberation when the ‘Core leader’, Xi Jinping visited Tibet in July. I have no answer to this.

Wang had been ‘entrusted’ by Xi Jinping to “lead Beijing officials in Tibet along with veteran senior Tibetan officials” to Tibet; a cohort of old Tibetan collaborators was honoured by the visiting VVIP.

Wang Yang was accompanied by Admiral Miao Hua, a CMC member, who will probably be the lone uniformed member to survive when the term of the present CMC comes to an end. It was the first visit of a three-star admiral in Tibet.

Did Wang and Miao knew that a few days later, Xi would change the commander of the Western Theater Command for the third time in nine months and Xu Qiling, who had met Xi a few weeks earlier, would be replaced by General Wang Haijiang, a former commander of the Tibet Military Region. Probably not.

The visit has also to be seen in the context of the CPC’s 100th anniversary and the 70th anniversary of the so-called Liberation of Tibet (read ‘invasion’).

Three more important visits

From September 2 to 4, Li Xi, Party Secretary of Guangdong and Ma Xingrui, Governor of the same wealthy province, visited Lhasa and Nyingchi “to earnestly study and implement the important speeches and instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s inspection tour …[and] implement the spirit of the Central Ethnic Work Conference.”

Guangdong province economically helps Tibet, which for decades was considered remote and backward and out of range for modernization. The instability of the restive province and the importance of the border with India have changed all this.

From September 5 to 6, Cai Qi, also a politburo member and Beijing Party Secretary “led a Beijing delegation to Tibet to research counterpart support work and further promote exchanges and cooperation between Beijing and Tibet,” said a release.

The delegation wanted to “conscientiously implement the spirit of important instructions of General Secretary Xi Jinping’s important speech on his inspection of Tibet and a series of important instructions on Tibetan work and counterpart support work, and implement the spirit of the Central Ethnic Work Conference.”

Finally, Wang Chen, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, was in Tibet from September 5 to 8 to be sure that the region had “a firm sense of Chinese national community” and to preach “for long-term stability and high-quality development of the snowy plateau.”

Ten visits of politburo’s members (plus two CMC members) have never been seen in the past.

Ethnic Work

Two words explain this new interest in Tibet: Ethnic Work.
This word has an ominous meaning. It practically means ‘sinicization’ of the Roof of the World, which includes building new ‘mixed’ villages on the Indian border, recruiting a large number of Tibetans in the PLA, and giving Chinese characteristics to Tibetan Buddhism.

On September 1, Xinhua had reported that the Central Party School started its Fall Training Class for Young and Middle-Aged Cadres. It was attended by Xi who gave an ‘important’ speech (his speeches are always ‘important’).

Xi recommended that cadres have a fighting spirit in the current situation; he said that at the present moment, “the world’s unprecedented changes have been accelerating and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation has arrived at a critical period. The risks and challenges that the CCP faces have increased significantly. It is impractical to dream of always living in a peaceful environment without taking on any struggles.”

He advised the young cadres: “dare to fight … at any time, Communists should have the bones and courage not to be afraid of anything, and not to yield to anyone.”

All this is quite ominous for India’s Northern borders.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Mingling like the Pomegranate Seeds

On June 8, China’s Core Leader Xi Jinping visited Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. Meeting a group of Tibetan villagers relocated in one of the Xiaogang villages (‘moderately well-off’ villages, looking more like ghettos), the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) told the Tibetan villagers: “the Chinese nation was closely united like the seeds of a pomegranate. We are all members of the community of the Chinese nation.”
We shall never know if the Tibetans agreed …but they had to clap, wave red flags and smile.
This was not the first time that Xi used this expression to talk about ‘ethnic unity’ in China, a country which is supposed to have 56 different minorities.
Already after the Second Xinjiang Work Forum held in Beijing on May 28 and 29, 2014, which was attended by the entire Politburo and over three hundred top CCP’s officials, Xinhua asserted: “The Party's strategy on Xinjiang has been proven correct and must be continued in the long run.”
A commentator in The China Brief of the Jamestown Foundation noted: “Yet, beneath the boilerplate, the language and policy direction outlined in the Forum statement marks a significant departure. Since the 18th Party Congress [in November 2012], Party officials have stressed that ‘new conditions’ in Xinjiang create ‘new requirements’.”
We know what happened to Xinjiang during the following years (and what still happens today).
During the Forum, Xi Jinping declared: “Xinjiang’s most sustained problem is the problem of ethnic unity,” he continued: “all ethnic groups should show mutual understanding, respect, tolerance and appreciation, and to learn and help each other, so they are tightly bound together like the seeds of a pomegranate."
In May 2016, Xi visited a Hezhe ethnic village in northeastern Heilongjiang Province. The Hezhe is one of the smallest ethnic minority groups in China; in 1990 their population was 4,300; they are nomads who live mainly from hunting and fishing in the plain formed by the Heilong, Songhua and Wusuli rivers. Their language is said to belong to the Manchu-Tungusic group.
Xi again told them that “all ethnic groups shall remain closely united like the pomegranate seeds on the way toward national rejuvenation.”
What does it mean ‘ethnic unity’ for large (like Tibetans or Uyghur) or smaller minority groups?
In most of the cases, it means assimilation under a Han majority.
Since 1949, Han Chauvinism has heralded doom for the Chinese minorities.
Again, in January 2017, in a letter to an Uygur family, Xi again asked “all ethnic groups to unite like the pomegranate seeds under the CPC leadership to build a bright future for Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.”
Xi also used this expression during an inspection of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in 2019.
But let us take a very concrete example of the delegates from Tibet to the 13th National People’s Congress to find out if ethnic equality really exists in China today. Out of 20 members, the ‘Tibet’ delegation has 6 Chinese Hans, three big shots nominated by Beijing, Zhao Kezhi, Minister of Public Security, member of Political and Legal Commission, China’s Cop no 1; Jing Hanchao, member of the Supreme People's Procuratorate, equivalent to a Supreme Court judge and Guo Qingping, Chairman of People’s Bank of China (for the finances, I presume). Among ‘local’ Hans (also nominated by Beijing) are Wu Yingjie, Party Secretary of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Maj Gen Liu Guorong, TAR Commander of the People’s Armed Police.
Is it what China meant by ‘unity’, considering that the Tibetan delegates are mostly nameless individuals, selected (by Beijing) for their love for the Party only?
It is doubtful if the senior Chinese ‘Tibet’ representatives really ‘mingle’ like pomegranate seeds with their Tibetan colleagues.
Let us look at the ethnic minorities in the delegation of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and PAP to 19th Congress help in October 2017.
Out of 2280 delegates, only 11.5% (262) were from ethnic minorities. The PLA/PAP has 303 delegates, the Manchus and Tibetans have three delegates each, while the Uyghur, Hui and Tujia have two representatives, while the Zhuang, Xibe, Korean, Qiang, Bai and Naxi ethnicities have one.
Two of the three Tibetan delegates are two young lady officers (Kalsang and Sonam Dolma); their qualification/rank is unknown, but obviously low.
Further, there is no ‘minority’ member in the Politburo and out of 204 members of the Central Committee (CC), the PLA has 41 members, all Hans while among the civilians, a few minorities are represented: Hui (2), Kazakh (1), Manchu (3), Miao (1), Mongol (3), Tibetan (2), Uyghur (2), Xibe (1) and Zhuang (2).
What does ‘ethnic unity’ mean in these conditions?
The article of The China Brief already mentioned said: “Since coming to power, Xi Jinping has repeatedly stressed the importance of forging a shared national identity. The ‘China dream’, he contends, is foremost about the great revival of the ‘Chinese nation’ or ‘Chinese race’, a term first coined by Liang Qichao in 1902 and employed by Chinese leaders from Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Zedong to Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin in order to stress the conjoined history, fate and consanguinity of the Chinese people.”
This does not convince the Tibetans.
Chen Quanguo, a former Party Secretary in Tibet, who in 2016 was sent to Xinjiang to ‘pacify the province’ (he was promoted to the politburo in the process) started promoting inter-marriage between Tibetans and Hans before his transfer. Later the same policy of “mingling' and fusing through increased contact, cooperation and intermarriage”, was encouraged in Xinjiang.
Till recently it remained minimal in Tibet; analysts believed that it was doubtful if the new policy of 'mingling' or 'fusing' could work on the Roof of the World, with too many decades of suspicion, not to say hatred, between the 'ethnic' populations and the 'occupiers'.
But things are quickly changing, especially after the Seventh Tibet Work Forum held in August 2020 in Beijing.
Already on January 11, 2020, during the Third Session of the TAR Eleventh People's Congress, some Regulations on the Establishment of a Model Area for the Progress of Ethnic Unity and Progress in the TAR, were adopted.
The first article promotes “the cause of national unity and progress in an all-round way, to consolidate and develop the socialist ethnic relations of equality, solidarity, mutual assistance and harmony;” it says: “In keeping with the awareness of the Chinese Nation Community, Tibet will be established as a model area for the national unity and progress of the nation.”
These regulations are said to have been formulated in accordance to the Chinese Constitution, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Regional Autonomy and taking into account the realities of the Autonomous Region. But there is huge gap between the theory and reality.
This probably explains the present intensive propaganda campaign launched by Xi Jinping in the recent weeks.
Article 2 of the Regulations deals with the establishment of “a model area of ethnic unity and progress within the administrative region of the Autonomous Region,” while Article 3 speaks of Tibet as “an inalienable part of the great motherland since ancient times, and all ethnic groups are important members of the Chinese family. National unity is the lifeline of the people of all ethnic groups. It is the common responsibility and obligation of the people of all ethnic groups to maintain the motherland's unity and strengthen national unity.”
And it goes on…
More recently, The China Daily highlighted the cases of four Han-Tibetan intermarriages being “a great demonstration of ethnic unity in this new era of development.”
A few months ago, Xinhua had already touched upon the issue: “According to statistics, there are more than 560 multiethnic families in Metok [near Upper Siang of Arunachal Pradesh]. People of different ethnic groups help each other in farming and animal husbandry, and children of different ethnic groups study in the same classroom. People here celebrate the New Year's Day, the Lunar New Year, the Tibetan New Year or folk culture festivals of Monpa ethnic group.”
The news agency highlighted the case of Zhang Chunhuan and his family celebrating together the Chinese Lunar New Year. This could be the beginning of a real ‘mingling’ and the disappearence of the Tibetan nation.
The simple fact that tens of articles on the subject have been published in the last few days, shows the Communist Party is facing a serious problem which will not be solved by propaganda alone.
The real question is: can Han Chauvinism disappear from the Middle Kingdom? It is doubtful.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Time to change the narrative on 1962 India-China war

My article Time to change the narrative on 1962 India-China war appeared in The Daily Guardian

The history of 1962 needs to be rewritten, and India should not be ashamed of its Army during those fateful months. On the contrary, it is time to build more memorials and museums and let the general public—and China—know about the outstanding valour of the Indian soldiers.

The event which has most marked the Indian psyche since Independence is undoubtedly the Sino-Indian conflict of October/November 1962.

The best proof is that even a non-Congress government at the Centre has been unable to declassify the Henderson-Brooks-Bhagat Report prepared by the Indian Army a few months after the ‘debacle’.

But was it really a defeat?

Retrospectively, I do not think so, even though the government has kept the totality of the report under wraps … perhaps to save the reputation of a few ‘guilty men’.

If not such a disaster, even though for those who fought, for their families, the Indian Army and the nation at large, the 1962 conflict with China was certainly an extremely harrowing experience?

Communist China still uses the narrative of the ‘defeat’ of the Indian Army for its own propaganda and the Communist leadership keeps threatening India to ‘redo it’.

An example, soon after the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) started an uncalled for confrontation in East Ladakh in May 2020, Beijing tried again to propagate the narrative of India’s crushing defeat in 1962; Beijing argued that it was the Indian Army who had attacked China on the slopes of Thagla ridge and in Ladakh in 1962 and that India had been punished for its temerity.

Already at the end of October 2017, as an offshoot of the Doklam episode, published an album of photos “to commemorate the 55th Anniversary of the Outbreak of the Self-Defense Counterattack.” It showed ill-equipped and unprepared Indian troops who ‘dared’ to provoke the Chinese troops, giving Chairman Mao no option but to ‘counterattack’; killing hundreds of Indian jawans and officers in the process.

President Xi Jinping was probably dreaming of another 1962, when he undertook to change the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh in May 2020, not realizing that today’s India was not Nehru’s romantic and peace-loving India.

Would China decide to ‘teach another lesson’ to India, there will be many Rezang-las or Walongs, and this time, India would use its Air Force, without speaking of severe economic and political retaliations (Beijing could forget about its dear ‘One China Policy’)— Tibet and Taiwan could immediately be recognized by India.

If Xi Jinping had thought that the Ladakhi adventure would be a quick and easy one to digest, he probably has not read Sun Tzu’s Art of War properly.

The battle of Walong of 1962 is one of the well-known episodes which illustrates how well the Indian Army fought; unfortunately, it does not get enough coverage in India.

The website Bharat Rakshak explained: “But for most of the war, the fighting qualities of the Indian jawan and the young officers remained unchanged. Without a mention of the heroic resistance offered at Walong, no story of the 1962 war will be complete. Walong is a small hamlet located near the tri-junction of Tibet, Burma, and India. Situated on an ancient trade route, it was manned by an Assam Rifles post with a small airfield capable of only handling Indian Air Force Otters and Caribous.”

The Print recently recounted some episodes of the battle: “On the morning of 16 November [1962], the final day of the battle, the Chinese launched another massive attack to capture Walong. The few tired and ill-equipped Indian troops left continued to fight. A helicopter tried to evacuate the casualties, but could not land because of poor weather conditions and an absence of suitable landing ground free from enemy fire,” quoting Col NN Bhatia, author of Kumaoni Nostalgia.

The retired colonel continued: “But the fate of Walong and 6 Kumaon was sealed as they were surrounded by two brigade strength of the Chinese. With no fresh troops to reinforce, it was impossible to hold on any longer. The remaining troops were ordered to withdraw.” But they had fought well.

It is said that during the battle for Walong and Kibithoo, the 6 Kumaon had 391 casualties, including 115 killed, 109 wounded, and 167 taken prisoners of war; the Chinese suffered 752 casualties, including 198 killed and 554 wounded.

Lt Gen Panag, a former Army Commander noted: “At Walong, 4 Sikh, 6 Kumaon, 3/3 Gorkha Rifles and 4 Dogra under 11 Infantry Brigade fought the most heroic brigade-level action of the 1962 War. The battle was waged continuously from October 18 to November 16, 1962.”

In the Western sector, the battle of Rezang-la will remain in the annals of the Indian Army.

The tale of Major Shaitan Singh, Param Vir Chakra, and his 13 Kumaon is too well known to be recounted; they fought to their last bullet to defend their position at Rezang-la.

Maj K.C. Preval in Indian Army After Independence noted that on November 18, 1962, in a freezing morning, the Chinese began with a ‘silent’ attack on Rezang-la, advancing wave after wave: “Rezang-la was held by C Company of the battalion and had no artillery support. At about 04:00 am, a patrol spotted a large body of the Chinese scrambling up the gullies and gave the alarm. Within minutes; every man in the company was at his fire position. Under Shaitan Singh, the company at Rezang La had been brought to a state of absolute readiness. The gullies had been ranged in and all of Singh’s light machine guns and mortars were now trained on them.”

Then the Kumaonis let the Chinese ‘have it’.

Let us also not forget that due to the ‘madness’ of the then political leadership, the Indian Air Force was not used.

Wing Commander Jag Mohan (‘Jaggi’) Nath, the first officer to have twice been decorated with the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC), India’s second-highest war-time military decoration, went on regular missions over Tibet for more than two years from 1960 to reconnoiter the Chinese military build-up on the Tibetan plateau. Unfortunately, the political leadership refused to believe the hard evidence gathered during his sorties or use the information gathered. Jaggi Nath concluded that China had no Air Force on the Tibetan plateau in 1962.

Had the IAF been used, one can imagine that the casualties would have been less on the Indian side and more on the Chinese; the Line of Actual Control would have remained where it was in September 1959, and the border dispute with China would not be so acute today; the Shaksgam Valley would have not been offered to China by Pakistan in 1963; Mao Zedong would have lost his job. As a result, China would have been completely different today.

The history of 1962 needs to be rewritten, and India should not be ashamed of its Army during those fateful months, on the contrary, it is time to do more research into those battles, build more memorials and museums and let the general public (and China) know about the outstanding valour of the Indian soldiers.