Indo China war 1962: What caused China to revert to status quo after the war?
The Indo China war 1962 was fought between India and China in the year 1962. The two countries had met with significant political and social changes in the past one decade. This included the Indian independence from the colonial rule and the rise of the Communist Party of China in China. The Chinese annexation of Tibet and the consequent Indian help to the Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama, had strained the Indo China relations.
After the annexation of Tibet, there was a boundary dispute between India and China over the borders decided by the then British government and the Tibetan government. This included vast parts of the territories of NEFA and Eastern Ladakh region. The new Chinese government did not agree to the already existing border treaty between the British India and the Tibetan government which lead to several face offs between the armies of the two nations.
Unable to reach a political and bureaucratic solution to the problem, the Indian government started the forward policy by building posts along the previously agreed McMahon line. To this, the Chinese launched an attack on the Indian posts in both the eastern and the Himalayan sectors which lead to the capture of many Indian posts including Tawang in NEFA and in Ladakh.
The Chinese army ended the war with a unilateral ceasefire on 20th November’1962. But what were the reasons for this unilateral ceasefire? Why did China revert to status quo after gaining the control of such a vast part of the Indian Territory? Well, there are many reasons for this. Some of them have been talked of below:
First of all, the Chinese side of the McMahon line or the Line of Actual Control is the Tibetan plateau while the Indian side contains the hostile and unfriendly Himalayas. With its steep slopes and undeveloped roads, it would have been very difficult for the Chinese side to continue war against India. The ceasefire took place just before the winters were to set in, which also signaled that the Chinese army could have its supplies choked due to heavy snow fall in the Himalayas, which would have turned disadvantageous for them.
If we closely observe the international events during 1962, we may see that The Cuban Missile Crises took place just at the same time the Indo China war took place. The Cuban missile crises had involved the two former super powers of the Cold War era. Now as the Cuban missile crises was over, the USSR and USA would now be concentrating on the Indo China war. This might have acted as a deterrent in the Chinese aggression.
Next, the Indian government had been asking for foreign aid from the Western countries during the course of the war. Now the Americans and British pledged some sort of weaponry support to India. This acted as a support to the Indian side and a possible deterrent to the Chinese.
Lastly, I must like to point out that the Chinese economy had just started to build up and was only at a very nascent stage. China had already been engaged in a lot of wars in the past decade. Expenses of war could have had a severe impact on the Chinese economy.
These were the possible reasons which attributed to the unilateral Chinese ceasefire after the Indo China war and might have saved India from a further Chinese aggression.