India’s ‘forgotten’ 1967 victory over China takes centrestage

Vijay Mohan

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 19

India’s little-known victory over China in 1967, which had a significant impact on the future course of events in South Asia, today emerged onto the centrestage with a discussion on recently published ‘Watershed 1967: India’s Forgotten Victory Over China’ by Probal Dasgupta at the ongoing Military Literature Festival here.

The author spoke about writing the book during the Doklam standoff in 2017 when he realised that much of the ongoing discourse in India’s public domain was fixated around India’s 1962 debacle against China.

He said it struck him as odd that India’s 1967 victory over its archrival had been buried and forgotten. Speaking about the China-Pakistan nexus in 1965, which forms the beginning of the book, he discussed the involvement of the US Central Intelligence Agency and a think tank in Arlington, Virginia, that knew of a Sino-Pakistan plan to capture Kashmir alongside making inroads into Sikkim. It forced India into a defensive negotiating position, which resulted in taking Kashmir in exchange for Sikkim, then a protectorate state.

Lt Gen KJ Singh, former GOC-in-C, Western Command, who had earlier commanded corps at Sikkim, where the battles of 1967 had taken place, spoke of the nuances around these battles and the area.

Elucidating how the Chumbi valley presented a similar vulnerability to the Chinese, just as the narrow Siliguri corridor posed to India, he spoke about Lt Gen Sagat Singh’s leadership and his own, including placement of artillery guns, helped salvage a difficult situation. The artillery used at Nathu La changed the course of the battle.

Army’s role in WW-II

British historians on Saturday elucidated the role of the Indian Army in Italy during World War-II and discussed the transition it made from a pre-war colonial force to an army that took on the German might on equal terms. tns

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