ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Is Behind the Chinese 'Incursion' at Daulat Beg Oldie?

Behind the nationalist hysteria which has been whipped up over the Chinese army setting up camp in territory claimed by India in Ladakh lies a long history of self-delusion and aggressive posturing on the border. This article throws a contrary, and sobering, light on India’s latest border scrap.

That is a familiar question with an old answer: aggressive moves by the Indian army, precautionary reactions by the Chinese in case India intends to renew the “forward policy” attempt to drive them out of Indian-claimed territory. This is exactly how the 1962 border war began, with a Chinese reaction to aggressive moves by the Indian army, which reaction, in turn, aroused in India a clamorous press and political demand for a belligerent response, leading a deluded Indian government in effect to declare war on China.

That is how it was with Dhola Post, set up by India several miles north of the McMahon Line at its western extremity in June 1962 in implementation of Nehru’s absurd “forward policy”, with which he planned to extrude the Chinese from Indian-claimed territory in a process of semi-violent harassment. For over a year Beijing had been meeting that puny challenge passively, using its overwhelming advantages in mobility, numbers and armament merely to block the Indian army’s gallant attempts to carry out its besotted orders – Mao Zedong quipping that since the Indians rejected peaceful coexistence they would have “armed coexistence”. Accordingly an outnumbering Chinese force laid siege to Dhola Post.

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