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China loved Gandhi and restraint was its mantra till Nehru committed Himalyan blunder: Ex-PLA

9 0 44
06.08.2020

In the first week of June, I had the opportunity to read the pdf version of a book written by a frontline young Lieutenant who had served in the People’s Liberation Army in the 1962 war with India, and was attached to the General Political Department of Xinjiang Military District. He was someone privy to the Chinese point of view in the war, and offers sharp opinions on Jawaharlal Nehru, New Delhi’s political and military strategies, Indian Army and Indian Prisoners of War.

Also read: India slams China for J&K remark, says don’t comment on internal affairs of other nations

The bookA war that should not have happened — commemorating the 50th anniversary of the India-China war is written by Zhang Guozhu, and makes an interesting read. Guozhu graduated from Beijing University’s Department of Eastern Languages, specialising in Hindi, and in 1961 was assigned to the PLA as an officer, which ended his impoverished college life, but improved the economic situation of his family. He vividly describes how China, because of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, was going through severe droughts and economic deprivations.

In April 1962, Guozhu was assigned to the Liaison Department of the General Political Department of the Xinjiang Military Region at Urumqi. Being the only specialist Hindi interpreter in the military region, he was much in demand. Guozhu had access to Indian newspapers, including Sainik Samachar, the fortnightly magazine published by the Ministry of Defence. The young Lieutenant was an eyewitness to the preparations for the war and the long, and difficult lines of communication from Xinjiang to Eastern Ladakh.

Guozhu was responsible for conveying the decisions of the Central Military Commission (CMC) to the frontline troops and hence, he was well versed with the reasons of the war from the Chinese point of view. From July 1962 onwards, he served in the Galwan Valley and also participated in the attack on the Galwan Post on 20 October 1962, when the war broke out. Later on, he was part of the management of PoWs in Xinjiang. Guozhu, in his book, makes interesting observations about the besieged Indian troops, based on his interaction with them.

Also read: Even China’s friends like Russia & Iran are having a problem with its assertiveness

There were two fundamental causes for the 1962 war:

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