The Dalai Lama's War

August 24, 2011 Topic: DefenseHistoryIdeologyRising PowersPolitics Regions: ChinaIndia

The Dalai Lama's War

Mini Teaser: Nearly fifty years ago, India and China met in a brief, bloody border clash that would come to define—and destroy—the legendary Nehru. Was this the first step in an inevitable clash between two rising civilizations?

by Author(s): Ramachandra Guha

Kamath was clear that it was the war with China that alone was responsible for this deterioration and degradation. As he wrote,

India’s defeat, nay, military debacle in that one-month war not only shattered [Nehru] physically and weakened him mentally but, what was more galling to him, eroded his prestige in Asia and the world, dealt a crippling blow to his visions of leadership of the newly emancipated nations, and cast a shadow on his place in history.

As a consequence of Jawaharlal Nehru’s “supine policy,” wrote Kamath, “our Jawans, ill-clad, ill-shod, ill-equipped were sent like sheeps to their slaughter.”

Ramachandra Guha is the author of India After Gandhi (Ecco, 2007) and Makers of Modern India (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2011).

Image by Keyan20

Image: Pullquote: A view now quite common in New Delhi is that India must actively pursue closer military and economic ties with the United States to thwart and combat an assertive China.Essay Types: Essay