Why have the Chinese not attacked India since the Sino-Indian war of 1962?


The dokalam standoff continues from more than a month and India is not withdrawing its troops from the border. The China is using all sort of propaganda from publishing fake news to changing claims on a daily basis. Earlier they said that Dokalam was Bhutan and China border issue, now they say that Dokalam(Or Donglang) is a part of China. They even go on to an extend saying that Indians have withdrawn their troops which India hasn’t.

India and China Border


Someone put up a question on Quora saying that “Why have the Chinese not attacked India since the Sino-Indian war of 1962?”. To which Balaji Vishwanathan replied

China’s 1962 victory was a sheer element of surprise. India was hoping that its relationship with US & USSR would ward off a China attack. And they were mostly right.

However, on October 16 1962, US and USSR were involved in an extremely dangerous standoff – Cuban Missile Crisis that threatened to wipe out the entire humanity in a nuclear destruction.

Indian army soldiers and PLA

As the globe was focused in that horror, 4 days later on October 20, China attacked India. Nobody in the world had the time or energy to focus or intervene in that.

As a member of the Communist group, Mao had the knowledge of the situation in Cuba far before Indians did. He predicted this massive showdown and prepared his troops for that.

The element of surprise is a great advantage and especially as the cold weather set in, the Indian soldiers of the plains were at clear disadvantage in the high peaks of the Himalayas. The frost-bites and cold weather related deaths were a lot as India didn’t then have a lot of expertise in fighting wars in cold battlefields. Chinese on the other were more used to the cold weather.

Indian army soldiers in 1962

However, the Chinese were clever not to push the advantage too far and ended the operation in weeks. Especially they didn’t try to cross into the plains of Assam and had they did they might have had serious loss from India’s Air Force operating from Kolkata. And they pulled off from pretty much all of Arunachal Pradesh.

Apart from India’s airforce threat, counterattack from a woken up army and snow setting in the Himalayas, Chinese were forced to pull back due to an American threat of a nuclear war.

John F. Kennedy in India

Since then, Indians were more careful not to trust just the superpower collaboration and built a stronger surveillance & border protection. That has cut out of the element of surprise and there were no such events like the Cuban missile crisis since then. Indians also have the advantage of geography – while the Chinese have to travel a lot and cross huge mountains to get to the border, the borders are not far from India’s major cities and the troops can be quickly mobilized to get to the border. The growth of India’s navy with the possession of nuclear triad also enables it a significant counterattack capability.

INS Vikramaditya and INS Virat

Also, China got what it wanted – to teach India a lesson & wound her pride. There was less incentive for them to move more & get into expensive wars without a purpose.

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