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Post cessation of hostilities in 1962, PLA relocated its forces to pre-war positions on the Chinese side of the McMahon Line. But it did not vacate the northern part of Namka Chu valley. This area is still under the illegal occupation of China.

Ashish Singh



Relations between India and China revolve around unresolved disputes which have their genesis in colonial era leading to tensions and skirmishes. The root cause lies in an ill-defined and ambiguous, 3,440-km-long border that both countries dispute. In the Northern Sector, British India and China agreed upon the Johnson line in 1865. This line puts the Aksai Chin area under Jammu and Kashmir, India. The Chinese denied following this line after Xinjiang became a part of China. China claimed the Aksai Chin area as its own. India continued to follow the Johnson line till its independence.

As far as eastern part of India is concerned, the origin of the dispute dates back to the early 20th century. The 885-km-long northern boundary of Arunachal Pradesh known as the McMahon Line is a bone of contention between India and China. After the Chinese debacle in Mongolia, the British called for a tripartite conference which was convened at Shimla in 1913 and attended by Sir Henry Mc Mohan of British India, Ivan Chen of China and Lochen Shatra of Tibet to demarcate the boundary between outer and inner Tibet. After several rounds of meetings it was during, Mar 1914 Ivan Chen accepted a line which he initialled on 27 April and signed the draft convention.

The draft treaty recognises the autonomy of outer Tibet and agreed to refrain from interference in administration of outer Tibet. The Chinese objection in the draft treaty was on the boundaries of inner Tibet only. Chinese never objected to the McMahon Line. In fact, at no stage did the Chinese even claim a specific boundary with Assam. The then Chinese authorities objected specifically only to Article 9 of the said Convention that laid down the boundaries between Inner and Outer Tibet.

Other than that, they made it amply clear, on several occasions, which they did not object to any other Article, including that which showed the McMahon Line.  The fact of the matter is that, from the time of the signing of the Simla Convention on 3rd July 1914 till 23rd January 1959 when PM Zhou wrote a letter to Nehru, the Chinese never raised any formal objections to the McMahon Line. In his letter [23 January 1959] Zhou, for the first time ever, made the following points to the Indian Prime Minister Nehru. Firstly, that the Sino-Indian boundary had never been formally delimited and that no treaty or agreement had been concluded between the Chinese Central government and the government of India. Secondly, that the McMahon Line was a product of the British policy of aggression against the Tibetan Region of China. Thirdly, Zhou admitted that the Tibetan Local authorities had signed the Convention but were dissatisfied with the ‘unilaterally drawn’ line.

Nevertheless, Zhou asserted that ‘the Chinese government finds it necessary to take a realistic attitude towards the McMahon Line.’ This stance of Zhou totally ignored his earlier stand that China would take a ‘realistic attitude’. The unilateral denial by China is not justified as the Chinese representative during Simla Convention, Ivan Chen, not only fully participated as a delegate, but on an equal footing with the Tibetan representative.

All arrangements at Simla were made with the knowledge and consent of the Chinese and the Chinese Foreign Minister wrote to the British government on 07 August 1913 that the Chinese plenipotentiary would proceed to India to ‘open negotiations for a treaty jointly with the Tibetan and British plenipotentiaries’. That Tibet participated on an equal footing with China is further supported by the inescapable fact that the three countries formally exchanged and recognised the credentials of each other at the conference. In fact, the then Chinese President, Yuan Shih-kai issued a Presidential Order on 21 April 1912 declaring Tibet to be an administered province of China.

To emphasize the tripartite nature of the Simla Conference, the 1912 Presidential Order was specifically revoked on 13 June 1913 and the Chinese government accepted that all three participants were on an equal footing. Not only were the frontiers of India and Tibet discussed at the conference, but at no stage either at the conference or subsequently did the Chinese object; for the Chinese representative at Simla, Ivan Chen was fully aware of the McMahon Line. It would be travesty to suggest otherwise for he was present at the signing ceremony of the Simla Convention on 3rd July 1914. Discussions on the India-Tibet boundary between the British Indian government and Tibet took place from 15-31 January 1914. At the 4th meeting of the full conference on 17 February 1914, McMahon tabled a statement on the territorial limits of Tibet.

In a map attached to the statement, the ‘historic frontiers’ of Tibet were shown for acceptance that later came to be known as the McMahon Line. There was no Chinese dissent. Discussions between Britain and Tibet followed and that resulted in an agreement which is fully recorded in the exchange of letters between McMahon and Lonchen Shatra. The draft Indo-Tibet boundary was formally confirmed on 24 and 25 March 1914 and submitted at the 7th full meeting of all the delegates on 22 April 1914. On 26 April 1914 Ivan Chen, the Chinese plenipotentiary, officially communicated the Chinese government stand to McMahon and stated:“With the exception of Article 9 of the draft convention, we are prepared to take the main principles, embodied in the other articles, into favourable consideration.” And just prior to the signing of the Simla Convention on 3 July 1914 by the British and Tibetan representatives, the Chinese government, once again, conveyed as follows:This government has several times stated that it gives its support to the majority of the articles of the Convention. The part it is unable to agree is that dealing with the question of the boundary. The fact of the matter is that the Tibetan Plenipotentiary [Lonchen Shatra Paljor Dorje] put his full signature, as per Tibetan custom, for it is not possible to initial in the Tibetan language.

The two maps of 27 April 1914 and 3 July 1914 showing the IndiaTibet boundary bear the full signatures of the Tibetan Plenipotentiary. The map of 27 April 1914 bears the full signature of the Chinese Plenipotentiary, Ivan Chen. The British Plenipotentiary, McMahon initialled the map of 27 April 1914 and the Convention of 3 July 1914, but signed in full the map. Thereafter both the PRC and their predecessors the Kuomintang (ROC) had always maintained that Tibet was a part of China. The PRC also proclaimed an ideological motivation to liberate the Tibetans from a theocratic feudal system.

In September 1949, shortly before the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) made it a top priority to incorporate Tibet, Taiwan, Hainan Island, and the Pescadores Islands into the PRC, peacefully or by force. Because Tibet was unlikely to voluntarily give up its de facto independence, Mao in December 1949 ordered that preparations be made to march into Tibet at Qamdo (Chamdo), in order to induce the Tibetan Government to negotiate. The PRC had over a million men under arms and had extensive combat experience from the recently concluded Chinese Civil War.

After months of failed negotiation attempts by Tibet to secure foreign support and assistance, PRC and Tibetan troop build-ups, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) initiated hostilities. As a consequence Tibetan representatives in Beijing and the PRC Government signed the Seventeen Point Agreement on 23 May 1951, authorizing the PLA presence and Central People’s Government rule in Political Tibet.  In 1956, Tibetan militias in the ethnically Tibetan region of eastern Kham started fighting against the government. The militias united to form Chushi Gangdruk Volunteer Force.

When the fighting spread to Lhasa in 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet. Both he and the PRC government in Tibet subsequently repudiated the 17 Point Agreement and the PRC government in Tibet dissolved the Tibetan Local Government. The annexation of Tibet into PRC virtually removed the buffer between India and China and this opened up a plethora of disputes between India and China on the control over erstwhile Tibetan regions. As a result of 1959’s Tibetan uprising, India granted asylum to the Dalai Lama. India initiated a defensive Forward Policy from 1960 to hinder Chinese military patrols and logistics, in which it placed outposts along the border. Chinese military action grew increasingly aggressive in 1960-62, with China re-commencing previously-banned “forward patrols” in Ladakh from 30 April 1962. 

Various border conflicts and “military incidents” between India and China flared up throughout the summer and autumn of 1962. The Indian Intelligence Bureau received information about a Chinese buildup along the border which could be a precursor to war. On 10 July 1962, 350 Chinese troops surrounded an Indian post in Chushul (north of the McMahon Line) but withdrew after a heated argument via loudspeaker. A contentious issue on the eastern front was the location of the Indian outpost at Dhola in the River Namka Chu gorge, where the borders of India, Bhutan, and Tibet intersect northwest of Tawang.

The post was created on 24 February 1962 and, according to the Henderson Brooks–Bhagat Report, the site ‘was established north of the McMahon Line as shown on maps prior to October/ November 1962 edition. It is believed that the old edition was given to the Chinese by our External Affairs Ministry to indicate the McMahon Line. It is also learnt that we tried to clarify the error in our maps, but the Chinese did not accept our contention.’ In June 1962, Indian forces established an outpost called the Dhola Post in the Namka Chu valley to the south of the Thag La Ridge. In August, China issued diplomatic protests and began occupying positions at the top of Thag La.

On 8 September, a 60-strong PLA unit descended to the south side of the ridge and occupied positions that dominated one of the Indian posts at Namka Chu. On 11 September, it was decided that “all forward posts and patrols were given permission to fire on any armed Chinese who entered Indian Territory”. Chinese troops had crossed the Namka Chu on 8 September, surrounded an Indian outpost in the gorge, and destroyed two bridges on the river. On 20 September, the post was attacked by Chinese forces from the Thagla Ridge to the north, and sporadic fighting continued. The nearby Dhola Post was reinforced and firing from both sides continued in the area throughout September. Three Indian soldiers were wounded when the Chinese threw hand grenades at their position, but otherwise, there were no casualties. The clash at Tseng Jong resulted in Indian casualties of 6 dead and 11 wounded; Chinese media announced their casualties as 77 dead.  Both sides had numerous injuries. The final attack came at 0500 Hr on 20 October. The Indian forces were undermanned, with only an understrength battalion to support them, while the Chinese troops had three regiments positioned on the north side of the river.

The strength of the Chinese attacking force was estimated at 2,000, while the Indians at those outposts numbered only 600.The Chinese had taken up positions on higher ground behind Indian defences and were thus able to attack downhill on the morning of the attack. After the Chinese artillery barrage from the Thagla Ridge overlooking the Namka Chu, the PLA destroyed all Indian artillery positions and surrounding fortifications due to their advantageous position. The Indian border posts as well as Dhola and Khenzemane were captured. Post cessation of hostilities PLA relocated its forces to pre-war positions on the Chinese side of the McMahon Line. However the PLA did not vacate the northern part of Namka Chu valley which is South of McMahon line which China had never objected till 1959, wherein she changed its stance due to selfish reasons. This area is still under illegal occupation against the established norms of mutual respect around the World. The Namka Chu still remains an uncomfortable issue in the broader Chinese strategic circles.

Though it is discussed in many academic and other gatherings, unlike India, China tries to avoid talking about the actuality and operation of the 1962 war and tries to blame India. There seems to be no regret or realisation in China about the illegitimate and illegal occupation of the territory of a sovereign nation. In spite of India, supporting China’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council, something it could easily desist from, the Chinese attitude towards India is hostile. Instead of introspection, Chinese strategic circles have pushed the antiIndia notion in recent times both with regard to the border dispute and overall bilateral relations. The facts clearly establish India’s right over Namka Chu and provide it legitimacy to use all available options to take it back.

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The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge like the use of drones and social media by adversaries to safeguard the country, said Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das. Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in J&K is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism. Speaking to media on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.

Talking about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, he said, “Our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations. My young soldiers, who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country, will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. They have ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others.” Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.” Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the LoC and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures has been introduced. “On Army Day on 15 January, our chief took the threat seriously and our soldiers are being prepared to deal with the challenge in a better way.” During recruitment training, Lt Gen Das said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges. He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic and orientation courses.

On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of J&K, Lt Gen Das said, “The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation, the youth live like a family and there is complete communal harmony.” He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment. Asked about his message to the misguided youth, he said, “J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream.”

He added, “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army who are former militants but have become upright soldiers.” Lt Gen Das said the Army and other security agencies are working in close coordination and the situation in J&K is getting better and the “day is not far when this region will make our country proud.”

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The Southern Naval Command observed International Coastal Clean-up Day on Saturday with a focus on mangrove plantation and clearance of plastic/non-biodegradable waste along with waterfront areas in and around Kochi, said a press release from the Ministry of Defence.

Pursuant to the global campaign of keeping coastlines clean, more than 600 Naval personnel and the families of Southern Naval Command undertook clearance of plastic and non-biodegradable waste at different locations spread across the city, coastal areas such as Fort Kochi beach, Thevara waterfront, Willingdon Island, Cherai beach, Bolgatty and around 2 km stretch of the Venduruthy channel while restoring around 1 lakh sqm of mangroves to the pristine condition. In addition, 80 mangrove saplings were also planted along the Venduruthy channel. Similar coastal cleanup drives and lectures/webinars/competitions emphasising protection of the coastal and marine environment were undertaken with the enthusiastic participation of the Naval community at other outstation Naval units located at Lonavala, Jamnagar, Chilka, Coimbatore, Goa, Ezhimala and Mumbai.

Being the Training Command of the Indian Navy, the Southern Naval Command has always been at the vanguard in promoting environmental conservation activities both at the Command Headquarters, Kochi as well as at Naval stations spread across the country.

Mandated to oversee naval training, the Southern Naval Command has conceptualised and implemented a variety of green initiatives. Keeping environmental preservation as one of the Key Result Areas, the Command has constantly endeavoured to motivate young officer and sailor trainees of the Indian Navy to imbibe the habit of protecting mother nature as part of their grooming efforts in preparing them to become responsible future Naval leaders and dependable citizens of India.

Particular attention has also been given to create more awareness among the families and more importantly the children.

During the last three years, the Command has adopted a multi-dimensional approach towards conservation of the environment and implementation of energy conservation methods.

To highlight a few, the personnel of the Command were actively involved in the rejuvenation of 4.5-km-long Venduruthy Channel near Kochi Naval base, creating awareness in and around Naval establishments.

Efforts were undertaken to enhance green cover by conducting mass plantation drives which included planting more than 75,000 trees, using the fast-growing Miyawaki forestation method. In addition, regular coastal clean-up drives, mangrove plantation drives, in-house handling and recycling of bio and non-biodegradable waste, adopting efficient energy and water-saving methods etc were also undertaken. The Command has also earnestly endeavoured to continue all the efforts for protecting and conserving the environment and natural resources. Towards achieving the same, the Command has implemented a Green Initiative and Environment Conservation Roadmap with a prime focus on Carbon footprint reduction.

With the personal involvement of Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Southern Naval Command is committed to creating a clean, green and healthy environment in line with the visionary environment conservation policies of the Govt of India. On the occasion, Adv M Anilkumar, Mayor, Kochi Municipal Corporation and staff also participated in Kochi.

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An air show will be held here on 26 September where IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga and Suryakiran Aerobatic and Display Team and paramotor flying will manoeuvre the skies over the famous Dal Lake, officials informed on Saturday.

The air show will be organised by the Air Force Station Srinagar and the Jammu and Kashmir administration as part of the ongoing celebrations commemorating ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’, they said. The main aim of the exercise—under the theme ‘Give Wings to Your Dream’—is to motivate the youth of the valley to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) and to promote tourism in the region, the officials said.

The event will be flagged off Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha at the Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) overlooking Dal Lake.

More than 3,000 college and school students are expected to participate in the programme to witness the impressive manoeuvres of the IAF, which will motivate them to dream about a career in the force and in the aviation sector, the officials said. “The show will also develop passion among the students to give wings to their dreams. Along with the students, 700 teachers will also be present at the venue,” they added.

During the demonstration, students will also be familiarised with the new technological advancements achieved and incorporated by the IAF while flying aircraft in the sky over the world-famous Dal Lake, the officials said. Stalls will be established at SKICC where students will be familiarised with the achievements of the Air Force, employment opportunities in the IAF, recruitment rules and eligibility criteria, they added.

Srinagar-based PRO Defence Col Emron Musavi said the display will include flypast by various aircraft of the IAF. The spectators would also get to witness paramotor flying and IAF’s skydiving team Akash Ganga in action. ‘Ambassadors of IAF’, Suryakiran Aerobatic Display Team, will be performing in the valley after a gap of 14 years, he said. Col Musavi said the symphony orchestra of the IAF would also be performing at the event. The event would also consist of a photo exhibition depicting the history of the

IAF, he said. 

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JAIPUR : South Western Command of the Indian Army on Saturday organised an exhibition showcasing defence equipment at Chitrakoot Stadium in Jaipur to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war.

Speaking to ANI, an Indian army official said, “We have displayed the defence equipment in this exhibition to make people aware of the Indian army achievements. We want to motivate the youth by showcasing these types of equipment.” “Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, these events had been started to make people aware of Indian Arm Forces. So, we are also continuing the move by organising these kinds of events,” he added.

Further, he said that India’s victory over Pakistan in the 1971 war is memorable for all the Indians, so, every citizen should be aware of this war.  

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BRO makes history, appoints woman Army officer in-charge of road construction unit



The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has appointed a woman Army officer for the first as the Officer Commanding of its 75 road construction company (RCC) in Uttarakhand, the Defence Ministry said on Sunday.

The three platoon commanders under Major Aaina, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K became the first women RCC. The appointments were made on August 30.

BRO on Sunday recalled the list of women officers who were assigned higher leadership roles in the organisation in the current year.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Ministry, BRO has inducted a large number of women into its workforce over the years, right from officers to the level of commercial pilot license holders. “In this regard, a General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) officer EE (Civ) Vaishali S Hiwase took over the reins of 83 Road Construction Company on April 28, employed on an important Indo-China road connecting Munisairi-Bughdiar-Milam, in an area full of adversity and challenges. The lady officer has taken control and is leading the charge with meticulous execution of her tasks,” the statement said.

“The BRO created history again on 30 August when Major Aaina of Project Shivalik took charged as Officer Commanding, 75 Road Construction Companies (RCC) at Pipalkoti in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand. She is the first Indian Army Engineer Officer to command a road construction company. Not only this, all three platoon commanders under her, Captain Anjana, AEE (Civ) Bhawana Joshi and AEE (Civ) Vishnumaya K are lady officers and they have together created a first-ever women RCC. The Border Roads plans to make four such all women-led RCCs, two each in North Eastern and Western Sectors.”

As India celebrates 75 Years of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, it also celebrates the ongoing efforts of our Nation towards women empowerment. Women today have started assuming their rightful, equal place as the frontrunners in nation-building and representatives of our strong national character, the statement read.

Over the last six decades, in a graduated and steady manner, the BRO has increased the number of women employed in various roles and duties of road construction. A consolidated effort is being made to empower them by giving them authority and responsibilities to undertake work independently. These women have become symbols of Nari Shakti in their respective areas.

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In his first visit abroad after taking over as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat will be visiting Russia and the US.

Rawat took over his new office as CDS on 31 December 2019, and since then has been declining foreign invitations for focusing on the new assignment of integrating the defence forces as a combined fighting force. “There is a conference of the CDS-rank officers of the Shanghai Cooperation Agreement member countries. China and Pakistan are also part of this grouping,” senior defence officials said.

The CDS conference would be focusing on addressing the regional security issues and Afghanistan is also likely to come up for discussion, they said.

The CDS would also witness the activities of the respective armed forces taking part in the SCO peace mission drills being held in Russia. Indian Army and Air Force are also taking part in the exercise there.

The visit will take place in the coming week and soon after return from Russia, Rawat would be leaving for the US for meeting his counterpart and other American military leadership at the Pentagon.

The two countries have been coming closer militarily in the last few years and have been holding multiple military exercises and hardware cooperation.

The Indian military saw a major change in senior-level structures under the Narendra Modi government as the focus is now on the theatrisation of the fighting forces and bringing in more capabilities and jointness among the three services. 

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