1967 India China War: In the year 1967, India fought a battle against China in order to restore its self-respect and protect its land. The Nathu La and Cho La pass battles of 1967 – also referred to as the Sino-Indian War – changed Indo-China political dynamics forever.
The war consisted of a number of border clashes between India and China along the border of the Himalayan Kingdom of Sikkim then followed by an Indian protectorate. The incidents of 1967 marked the last casualties on both sides – India and China – in the Sikkim Sector.
Independent sources have revealed that India has achieved ‘decisive tactical advantage’ and had managed to hold its own against the Chinese forces. Many PLA fortifications in Nathu La – where the Indian troops drove back the attacking Chinese forces – were known to be destroyed. The competition for controlling the Chumbi Valley is known as a major cause for the heightening of tension in these incidents.
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Observers have stated that these clashes indicated a decline of ‘claim strength’ in China’s decision for initiating the use of force against India. It also noted that India was highly pleased with its troops’ combat performance in the Nathu La clashes. It was seen as a sign of striking improvement since their defeat in the 1962 Indo-China War.
1967 India China War | When Did The 1967 India China War Take Place?
The Nathu La clashes began on September 11th, 1967 when the PLA – People’s Liberation Army – launched an attack on the Indian posts at Nathu La. It lasted till September 15th, 1967. In October of 1967, another military duel occurred at Cho La and ended on that same day.
Who Won The India China War Of 1967?
India has won the India China War of 1967. A ceasefire was arranged for ending the Nathu La clashes, and the Chinese forces were withdrawn from Cho La.
Where Did The 1967 India China War Take Place?
The last battle between China and India took place in September 1967 at Nathu La and Cho La on the border between the Kingdom of Sikkim and China. It was a fight between the two soldiers of two armies after which it escalated to artillery guns and threats of fighter jets.
How Many Casualties Were There In The 1967 Indo China War?
According to the claims made by the Chinese, the number of soldiers killed was 32 on China’s side and 65 on India’s side in Nathu La incident. Along with these 36 Indian soldiers and an ‘unknown’ number of Chinese soldiers were killed in the Cho La incident.
On the contrary, the Indian Defence Ministry’s reports stated that 88 soldiers killed and 163 soldiers wounded on India’s side, whereas 340 soldiers killed and 450 soldiers wounded on China’s side during the two incidents.
What Incidents Occurred At Nathu La During The 1967 Indo China War?
During the morning of September 11th, 1967, the soldiers and the engineers of the Indian Army had started laying the fencing from Nathu La to Sebu La along the recognised border. According to an Indian account, a Chinese Political Commissioner came to the centre of the pass to an Indian Lieutenant Colonel and asked him to stop laying the wire.
Indian soldiers refused to stop as they said they had been given orders. An argument started which in no time turned into a fight. After this, the Chinese soldiers returned to their bunkers, and the Indians continued laying the wire.
Within sometime after this incident, a whistle was blown from China’s side, which was followed by medium machine gun firing against the Indian troops from the north shoulder. As there was a lack of cover in the past, initially heavy casualties were suffered by the Indian forces.
Shortly after this, the Indian troops opened artillery against the Chinese. The clashed extended throughout the day and night for the next three days with the use of machine guns, artillery and mortars. During this, the Chinese forces were ‘beat backed’ by the Indian troops.
Five days after the incidents had started; there was an arrangement for an ‘uneasy’ ceasefire. Due to the Indian troops’ advantageous positions because of their high school occupation at the Cebu La pass and Camel’s back had destroyed many Chinese bunkers in Nathu La.
On September 15th and 16th, the corpse of the fallen soldiers was exchanged.
What Incidents Occurred At Cho La During The 1967 Indo China War?
Another clash between India and China occurred on October 1st 1967 at Cho La, a few kilometres north of Nathu La, another pass on the Sikkim-Tibet border.
It has been stated by scholar van Eekelen that the Chinese troops had initiated the duel after a fight that took place between the two. This happened when the Sikkim-side of the border was infiltrated by the Chinese forces, claiming the pass and questioning its Indian occupation.
However, China had asserted that the provocations came from the Indian side. The Chinese version stated that the Indian troops had invaded the Chinese territory across the pass, making provocations against the stationed Chinese troops and opening fire.
The military duel lasted for one day during this the Chinese have driven away, which boosted the Indian morale. The Chinese troops were a force to withdraw nearly three kilometres during the clash in Cho Lo according to the Indian Maj. Gen. Sheru Thapliyal.
Have There Been Any Casualties Between India And China Since The War Of 1967?
The incidents of 1967 marked the last incidents of casualties on India and China’s sides in the Sikkim sector. The last death that occurred in any sector of the India China border was in the year 1975 at Tulung La. This incident took place by accident when two patrols got lost in the fog. So in spite of the close parallels, the border has remained largely tranquil since then.
Name The Commanders And Leaders On Both The Sides During The India China War Of 1967
Commanders and leaders on India’s side were:
- President S. Radhakrishnan
- Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi
- Chief of Army Staff, Gen. P. P. Kumaramangalam
- Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora
- Maj. Gen. Sagat Singh
- Brig. Rai Singh Yadav
Commanders and leaders on China’s side were:
- Chairman of the CPC or CMC, Mao Zedong
- Deputy commander of the Tibet Military District, Maj. Gen. Wang Chenghan
- Maj. Gen. Zhiquan
What Was The Aftermath Of The 1967 India China War?
The India China border has remained calm and peaceful after the occurrence of these incidents until the China India skirmishes 2020.
In the year 1975, Sikkim became an Indian state, after a referendum that resulted in overwhelming support on the removal of monarchy and full merger with India. China did not recognise the Indian annexation of Sikkim during the time. China, in the year 2003, indirectly recognised Sikkim as an Indian state.
This happened on the agreement when India accepted that the Tibet Autonomous Region was a part of China even though India has done so back in the year 1953.
Wen Jiabao, Chinese Prime Minister in 2005, said that Sikkim is no longer a problem between China and India.
What Were Some Major Military Awards Awarded After The India China 1967 War?
Some major awards that were given were:
Maha Vir Chakra
- Brigadier Rai Singh Yadav – 2nd Grenadiers (unit), Nathu La, Sikkim, India (place of action)
- Lieutenant Colonel Mahatam Singh – 10 JAK Rifles (unit), Cho La, Sikkim, India, (place of action)
- Major Harbhajan Singh – 18 Rajput (unit), Nathu La, Sikkim, India (place of action)
- Captain Prithi Singh Dagar – 2nd Grenadiers (unit), Nathu La, Sikkim, India (place of action)
- Havaldar Lakshmi Chand – 2nd Grenadiers (unit), Nathu La, Sikkim, India (place of action)
- Sepoy Gokal Singh – 18th Rajput (unit), Nathu La, Sikkim, India (place of action)
What Is The Importance Of The Nathu La Pass?
The Nathu La pass is located on the watershed serving as a natural boundary and connecting Sikkim with the Chinese Tibet Autonomous Region. The Nathu La pass is of utmost importance for the Indian Army as it gives the full tactical advantage of fire and observation.
After the 1962 war, when China defeated India, all forms of trade through this route were stopped. The trading was reopened in 2006 after which the Prime Minister had visited China.
Describe In Detail Incidents That Led To The India China War Of 1967
- The clash eventually led to the death of 88 Indian soldiers. More than 300 Chinese soldiers lost their lives.
- The Indian side had decided on fencing the border with barbed wire layers. Working on the barbed wires started on August 20th, 1967.
- On August 23rd, around 75 Chinese soldiers in battle dress, carrying rifles, advanced towards the Nathu La.
- The Political Commissar war identifiable due to the red patch on his cap and he was the only one who could speak a little English.
- The barbed wires were upgraded to concertina coil on September 5th.
- The Commanding Officer Lt. Colonel Rai Singh, had an argument with the Political Commissar after which work stopped.
- Work was resumed on September 7th.
- This action provoked 100 Chinese soldiers to rush up and the fight started. On being beaten down by the Jats, the Chinese soldiers resorted to stone-pelting and Indians responded kindly.
What Are Some Other Wars That Occurred Between India And China?
The other war that occurred between India and China is the Indo-China war of 1962. China has defeated India and took control of Aksai Chin. The battle lasted for one month and one day. Followed by the 1962 Indian China war, there was tension running along with the Himalayan border share by China and India.