Saturday, October 27, 2012

Rezang La, 1962

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Last week, the Indian Express carried a eulogy dedicated to the soldier's of the 13th Kumaon Regiment who defended parts of Ladakh during the 1962 India-China war. The focus of this piece was the "C" company led by a Major Shaitan Singh, which defended the outpost, almost down to the last man. And the sting in the tail was reserved for the then defense minister, Krishna Menon ('an obstinate, autocratic disaster').

This was one of the many introspective articles that have appeared to mark the 50th Anniversary of the war. Nearly all of them conclude that it was Nehru's smug arrogance that led to the war but what continues to surprise me is that we are still missing the woods for the trees. Fifty years ago, we went around with a hat in hand, asking the Americans, and then the Soviets for armaments, equipment and other assistance.

We continue to do that even today and, instead of developing our own R&D and manufacturing capacity, we have spawned an entire industry of Indian middlemen promoting foreign armament companies in India.


* Maxwell, Neville (): India's China War
* Singh, Amarinder (): Lest We Forget
* Chellaney, Brahma (2012): HOW CHINA FIGHTS - LESSONS FROM THE 1962 WAR, Newsweek, 29Oct12, url -

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