A little before the Chinese Premier landed in India, one of our politicians namely Mulayam Singh Yadav stirred up an old Ghost. Yadav stressed that India needs to be vigilant as China may attack India soon. Perhaps it was rhetoric but the fact remains that 1962 cannot be easily forgotten.
In October 1862 Tewodros II, emperor of Ethiopia, sent a letter to Queen Victoria asking for an alliance. The letter was ignored by the British government. As there was no reply from the British government, the Ethiopian emperor imprisoned some Europeans and he British envoy in anger. This led to the expedition.
After independence the Sikhs retained their dominant position in the Indian Army Result. But a subtle discrimination started which is hard to explain. Thus despite the officer corps being one third Sikh hardly any Sikh was promoted as Army Chief. To start with Nehru showed his bias when he bypassed Lt Gen Kulwant Singh in favor of Cariappa and later Indira Gandhi bypassed Harbaksh Singh, the man who saved India during the 1965 war in favor of Manekshaw.
Manohar Malgonkar was born in 1912 and had his education at Bombay where he graduated in English and Sanskrit. Manohar could trace his lineage to the royal family with roots in Goa and after graduation he took to big game hunting and also shot 8 tigers. But he soon gave up the sport and became a staunch conservationist of wild life.
Has anything changed since then? The Chinese are a shrewd and mature people. They still think of themselves as the middle kingdom. They are evasive on the Security Council seat for india.Their approach even now is not different from that in 62. To sum up they never give up their claims. They may hibernate but as the time comes the claws come out in the open.
The Sikhs appeared during the Mughal rule and generally kept to themselves .However with the Advent of Aurangzeb and his policy of persecution, made the Sikhs take up arms against the Mughals. But it was best a hit and run affair as the Sikhs could not match the Imperial Mughal Army. But with the weakening of the Mughall rule after the death of Aurangzeb in 1707, the Sikhs began to assert themselves and increasingly became the Masters of the Punjab. Ranjit Singh soon took over the Punjab and with the blessings of Shah Shuja proclaimed himself Maharaja at Lahore.
The IAF replaced the B-24 equipped squadrons with the Canberra, a jet medium bomber. This was an English built plane and though subsonic had a lot of electronic and NAV equipment. But its range was only 2000 miles and its bomb loads also much les. The Canberra could carry 4 bombs of 2000 lb each. The strategic option thus went out of the IAF hand. The Canberra gave f good service for some 40 years, but it lacked the ability to strike China. The Indian government gravely neglected getting a long-range bomber as they always felt that China was a ‘friend’.
All this is mentioned by Air Vice Marshal AK Tiwari in his article in the Indian Defense review. Much water has flowed down the river since then, but future generations must be made aware that the psychosis of fear must never govern a military decision. This is unfortunately what happened in 1962. As per AVM AK Tiwari ‘In final analysis the use of combat air power would have turned the tables on Chinese and the 1962 war could well have been a debacle for China.