How Mao Killed two birds with one Stone: A Review of “China’s India War”

By 1959, “The Great Leap Forward” had failed miserably in China, leading to wide spread dissent. Furthermore, Dalai Lama the spiritual leader of Tibet, had fled to India. Mao’s position was tenuous in the party. His answer, stir up local jingoism by finding a common enemy in India while teaching Indians a lesson with a quick and decisive battle. This War was thus, a well thought out strategy (planned as early as 1959) and not just a temperamental reaction to Nehru’s forward policy of 1962.

The Chinese propaganda machine had even employed Neville Maxwell to write a book which obviously lionised Chinese aggression as “necessary evil” in the wake of Nehu’s forward policy. This book is a rebuttal to Maxwell’s assertions, which had squarely blamed India for the War. Linter counters Maxwell with facts from now declassified documents in China which indicate to a much more sinister plot to humiliate India. The Chinese aggression began in October of 1962, with the Chinese Army swiftly progressing into Indian territory in a premeditated fashion. Indian resistance quickly collapsed in the wake of overwhelming Chinese heavy artillery firepower. As Chinese reached their objectives, they stopped further ingress, although, India had withdrawn preemptively to the plains. Within a month of this aggression they withdrew from the captured regions and declared unilateral ceasefire, before any US assistance could reach India. Mao had also informed the USSR of an imminent WAR with India and requested their communist brethren not to interfere, which the Russians obliged. A War was thus trust upon on India while China emerged as the leader of the third world and Nehru succumbed to his fate in ignominy.

China achieved on its objective. The loss eroded India’s position as an Independent sovereign state. Nehru died within a year of the war. The success of this campaign allowed Mao to squash all dissent within China, while he reemerged as the preeminent leader of the CCP. He reign supreme for another 15 years until his death in 1976.

It is a brilliantly written book which also gives you a peek into the obscure world of Chinese politics and a view on to Chinese Leaderships (especially Mao) during those periods.

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