October 10, 1967: The day Chinese PLA pledged to never attack India directly

Published on 10 Oct 2014 on category Events for zone China

Though India lost the war of 1962 to China, in 1967 Chinese invaders were miserably beaten back by Indian Army, the skirmish is named the Chola Incident in history.

Left- Rajput and Gorkha Regiment soldiers. Right: Major General Sagat Singh, GOC, 17 Mountain Div Left- Rajput and Gorkha Regiment soldiers. Right: Major General Sagat Singh, GOC, 17 Mountain Div

The shaming history of decisive defeat India faced with the battle with China in 1962 is not the only history that exists, though this is what the Indian history syllabi teaches us Indians for reasons best known to JNU guys and history commission. However, the other side is hush-hush by China and surprisingly by India as well. After the shaming defeat of India in 1962, China dared twice to attack India and lost all conflicts badly and after 10th October 1967, Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pledged to never ever attack India directly. The Indians, who are very demoralized with the 1962 war, need to boost up their morals by knowing the exact truth. The defeat of Indian Army in 1962 can be highly credited to the first Indian Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Capitalist of Morning, Communist of Afternoon, Socialist of Evening and some other –ist at night; more than the military excellence of the PLA. It was his moronic decision of deceptive “Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai” that let him convert the ordinance factories into manufacturing units of kitchen equipment and bring down the numerical strength of the Indian Army so as to ensure Indian brother is no threat to Chinese brother however he had literally no caliber to do the reverse. This is what Chinese wanted and it would leave one confused whether this was the Chinese diplomatic excellence or Nehruvian diplomatic stupidity!

When Chinese PLA attacked India in 1962, documented stats reveal their numerical strength in the troops deployed was 80,000 compared to 10,000 to 12,000 strong Indian Army. Highly equipped Chinese Army and their geographical position gave an edge to them than the badly equipped Indian Army. The PLA attacked in a surprised manner and the contemporary media reports say that in the initial attacks itself the Assam Rifles and Sikh Regiments posts were completely lost prompting “angry reactions” from Nehru who “strongly condemned” the strike. Only after the Indian troops retaliated against them with the little resource they had in hand, the Chinese got a taste of conflict, rather than one-sided attack. Though up to the time Indian troops could gain the momentum moralized by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) a nationalist Hindu organization which played a major role in Indian resistance to China, which later was acknowledged by Nehru in Republic Day; the casualties were high. According to documented stats, 1383 Indian soldiers were killed compared to 722 Chinese soldiers. 1047 Indian soldiers were wounded compared to 1697 from the Chinese side. 1696 Indian soldiers were missing and 3968 were taken as prisoners of war. However, there was another side of the story for those who take this defeat as a military defeat. The Indian casualties that occurred, was largely within the initial strikes by PLA when Indian Army was unaware and was unable to defend. However, when Indian Army retaliated, the brought down the casualty ratio by killing a large number of Chinese. The PLA observed that the Indians in fighting mode are more than lethal. There are case studies with PLA that document the close quarter combat that happened in those conflicts. The Chinese, unlike Pakistanis, know how to respect the opponents and they have shown respect to Indian martyrs. During the conflicts, the Jat and Rajput soldiers used to move out of their cover when their guns were emptied and used to catch the PLA soldiers and thrash them in rocks. One such Indian military man named Major Satan Singh’s bravery has been documented in this regard. There are temples of Indian soldiers in Chinese Territory; they have set up in respect to those soldiers. The Gurkhas’ Khukri (dagger) powered by their war slogan “Jai Ma Kali Ayo Gorkhali” wrecked havoc among the Chinese troops. However cheered by the statistical factors, Chinese forgot the military qualities of the Indian soldiers.

During 1965 Indo-Pak war there happened several small-scale military skirmishes between Indian and Chinese troops. China wanted to intrude into the Indian Territory and gain strategic position so that they can engage India in a manner that Indian military attention is divided between Pakistan and China. However, the Indian Army thwarted all these attacks and Chinese authorities withdrew due to “heavy casualties” compared to “moderate loss” of India.

But in 1967 China planned another full fledge military strike against India and chose Sikkim as the warfront. There were several Chinese proxies in Sikkim which were tasked to carry out sabotage operations against Indian Army to assist the Chinese PLA. The Chinese invasion was in two phases, the first one from 7th to 13th September and the second one from 1st to 10th October.

At the strategic Nathu-La Pass the adamant China which rejected the McMohan Line initiated heavy artillery firing on the Indian troops which Indian counterparts retaliated in kind. During the 1965 conflict, the Chinese tried to capture Nathu-La and Jelep-La Pass. Indian Government due to their lack of confidence asked the Indian troops to vacate the pass however Major General Sangat Singh, the GOC of 17 Mountain Division refused to vacate and pledged to fight to death. He wrote to the government that this step will hand over a tactical advantage to the Chinese PLA.

The Chinese PLA threatened through loudspeakers that if Indians don’t withdraw, 1962 type casualties will repeat however Indians were in avenging mood. The PLA used to march in large number but then halted and marched back without firing at Indians. The defensive posture of Indians bought time and 18 Rajput Regiment was reinforced. On 7th the PLA started heavy assault with MMG and artillery. That’s when Mountaineers, Grenadiers, and Rajputs stricken back and after a week of close quarter combat, Chinese suffered heavy casualties which number more than 300 dead and 450 wounded according to Chinese estimate which number the Indian tolls up to 89, however, Indian authorities claim it to be 65. Around 145 were wounded.

But this conflicted extended even up to Sikkim. From 1st to 10th of October, the Chinese PLA attacked Chola area to avenge what happened in Lathu-La but here too the Chinese lost 40 elite commandos. Under the leadership of Major KB Joshi of 7/11 Gorkha Regiment, the Indian troops battled one of the close quarter combats in military history. The conflict started with a tussle, between Chinese and Indian soldier, a Chinese JCO bayoneted Indian Subedar Naik Gyan Bahadur Limbu’s hand and in a swift reaction, Limbu chopped both hands of the Chinese JCO with his Khukri (dagger). After that another Indian soldier Devi Prasad Limbu, a rifleman chopped off heads of 5 Chinese soldiers within a moment. Skirmish began after that and a 10 days close quarter combat started that ended on 10th. Major KB Joshi himself concluded the Twin Hut and Black Rock operations.

After this war, a shaming defeat the Chinese never dared to attack India directly. They knew the difference between Indian diplomatic inefficiency and military excellence and in border, they have to face the latter. That’s the obvious reason they didn’t help their war ally Pakistan in 1971 and 1999 directly.

Written By
Titu Shadowson
Titu Shadowson has written investigative articles in premier Afghan daily Afghanistan Times on topics like military and geopolitics. He has has been republished by numerous digital and print media.
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Fist Published On: 10 Oct 2014

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Reading Timelength: 6 Minutes

Type of Post: Article

Category: Events

Zone: China

Primary Topic: #IndoChinaConflict

Tags: india china conflict after 1962, india china war 1967, india defeated china, india won 1967 indo-chi

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