Sixty years ago, today, the Indo-China got underway. Sadly, the great cowardice and defeatism displayed by Nehru, Kaul et al, prevented these two grossly over populated countries collaborating properly on advancing modern Civilization- that is slaughtering each other and spreading syphilis- in the Himalayas.
I was astonished to learn that Neville Maxwell- who used leaked Indian source material, shamefully kept secret from the Public, to paint Nehru as the aggressor- is still alive and as combative as ever. Good luck to him, but it is certainly time to pension off the Indo-China boundary clash as far as Public discourse is concerned.
It is now clear that both India and China were wrong to consider Tibet a part of China. Its relationship with Mongols and Manchus may have come under the rubric of suzerainty, but that relationship lapsed with the fall of the Manchus and the reassertion of Han Rule. Manchuria itself had adopted much Confucian culture prior to its conquest of China and, later on, Chinese immigration changed the demographic balance such that the Chinese claim to Manchuria was reasonable. Nothing similar could be claimed about Tibet- not to mention areas which may at some point in time have been within the Tibetan sphere of influence.
Nehru, the disciple of Gandhi, had everything to gain by losing a war and coming across like a pathetic old woman. Even Nasser gained a boost in public esteem by querulously threatening to resign over his dismal performance in the 1967 War. Furthermore, India was heavily committed to begging bowl diplomacy, so the fact that the Chinese took their pants down and made jokes about the size of their genitals was, clearly a good thing. However, the most important aspect of 1962 was that it split the Communists and discredited the Gandhian nutjobs- all good stuff which laid the foundation for Indira Gandhi's ascent, not to say apotheosis, to a type of autocratic power which her father certainly aspired to but never achieved.
I suppose, in one respect, the 1962 clash has had one lasting legacy- viz. the political expediency and acceptability of ignoring the North East. Nehru never apologized for his Radio broadcast abandoning the Assamese to their fate. It would have cost him nothing to indulge in a bit of 'blood, sweat & tears' rhetoric. Instead he sent an unmistakeable signal that them 'chinkies' in the North East aint asli Hindustani. The Army did beef up its presence on the Tibetan border and in Sikkim- but the Siliguri gap was neglected. Perhaps, Bengalis- Bangladeshis included- are seen as virtually 'Hindustani', whereas them chinkis up along the Himalayas have no similar importance- especially now they are progressing well Educationally and Culturally while the Hindi belt concentrates on Khap panchayati rape and murder to uphold Morality and protest against Globalization.