50 years after war, China and India are partners: Beijing

Published: October 24, 2012
China's foreign ministry spokesman says both China and India face important opportunities of development as partners. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

China's foreign ministry spokesman says both China and India face important opportunities of development as partners. PHOTO: AFP/ FILE

BEIJING: Beijing stressed Wednesday that India and China were “partners instead of rivals” with common interests in development, striking a conciliatory note on the 50th anniversary of a war between the neighbours.

Badly-equipped Indian troops were humiliated in the four-week war along the Himalayan frontier which began in October 1962, with Chinese forces pouring through the mountains and advancing as far as the plains of Assam.

China then withdrew to the current border but it still claims much of the remote Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, and the dispute consistently sours efforts to improve ties between the regional rivals.

“The current road has undergone deep and profound changes,” China’s foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said while remarking on the war anniversary.

“As the two most populous developing countries and emerging economies, both China and India face important opportunities of development (and) the two countries are cooperation partners instead of rivals.

“Common ground far outweighs disputes and common interests outnumber conflicts … the world has enough space for the common development of China and India.”

The border between India and China has been the subject of 14 rounds of fruitless talks since the war. Despite warm words during official visits, friction remains high on the border itself.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • sid
    Oct 24, 2012 - 7:11PM

    The last time also they said Hindi-Chini bhai bhai and made a surprise attack…………

    We also want co operation ; we need to speak softly(unlike Indian media) carry a big stick(defence prepardness, economic growth)...........

  • David Smith
    Oct 24, 2012 - 9:02PM

    There is an ongoing debate, first seen during the Gulf wars and Kosovo, when the Americans demonstrated very advanced military technology, for China to “settle the south” ( meaning come to an agreement with India). Beijing is now preoccupied with Japan and South East Asia, perhaps that motivates their attitude to India. The 1962 war has also been downplayed in most Chinese media (they could have gone to town about it). Good, very good. India should reciprocate this smoke and mirror thing but keep its powder dry.


  • Manoj Joshi India
    Oct 24, 2012 - 9:52PM

    Sino-Indian Relations are now on an entirely different pedestal when compared to the 1960’s almost fifty years ago when the Sino-Indian conflict had occurred in 1962. The relationship between the two neighbours the ‘Asian Giants’ has certainly undergone a sea of change since 1962 and so have the geo-strategic equations of the entire globe. The Cold War is over which had been at its peak during 1962. The Soviet Union the Communist Superpower of that time is now history and The People’s Republic of China as well as The Republic of India are the future players to govern the global economy. This may look like a pipe dream to many and China may still be perceived as a threat by many groups in India however the fact and the real fact is that the two nations are rivals as well as friends on the economic front as both need one another to grow. Economic relationship between the two neighbours has indeed blossomed and will continue and all that remains to be done is the need to foster economic nationalism and let it occupy the driving seat. This is a requirement to be done by a joint initiative to taken by the two sides and the governments. The Sino-Indian conflict of 1962 has no doubt been a dark and unfortunate chapter in history of Sino-Indian relations which should now be set aside and a new horizon needs to be looked at. Indians must come out of that hangover and China too must take an initiative to further Confidence Building Measures (CBM) with India. This exercise is not going to be all that simple nevertheless is not impossible. The future of Sino-Indian relationship has to be much more amicable, cordial and based on a higher degree of trust. After all the ‘Asian Brothers’ must come closer.


  • Gaurav
    Oct 24, 2012 - 10:02PM

    @david Smith
    i dont think so Chinese could have gone to town with their victory without telling the whole truth.
    Doing a sneak attack on a weaker country is an attack of ultimate cowardice.But we accept everything is fair in war.
    and thus we arm ourselves..
    China will only do something aggresive once the financial balloon in its system bursts and their inflated economy recedes.
    Just like when the GLF of the 1950s failed they attacked india..
    They will attack only to divert public attention and it is then that india must be armed to the teeth.
    As far as they are growing with a huge trade deficit with US Russia and India they wont do anything…But there is only so much India can do.
    Our politicians are going nowhere neither is our bureaucracy both make decision making impossible.
    But 62 war atleast made india realise the truth that Gandhi’s relevance died with gandhi.


  • Arijit Sharma
    Oct 24, 2012 - 10:14PM

    A not so patronising statement will follow shortly.


  • Enlightened
    Oct 24, 2012 - 10:27PM

    India cannot trust China on these utterances of bhai-bhai again who actually want us to be complacent in our ongoing defence preparedness which will not happen because of their offensive postures and creation of huge military infrastructure just close to line of control that just cannot be ignored or dismissed. India strategy today is to be well prepared to meet any mis-adventure from China and they be rest assured that 1962 will not be repeated but on the contrary we might give them a rude shock of reversal in fortune of our previous encounter.
    Not-withstanding above, we need to thank our Chinese friends for waking us from our deep slumber in 1962 which enabled Indian army to become one of the leading armies of the world.


  • G. Din
    Oct 24, 2012 - 11:41PM

    @Gaurav: to david smith
    “Just like when the GLF of the 1950s failed they attacked india..”
    Failure of GLF (“Great Leap Forward”) had nothing to do with attack on India. The attack on India was motivated by then Soviet Union’s warming relationship with India over China. After Stalin’s death and rise of Khruschev to power, Soviet Union’s relations with Mao’s China cooled considerably. The unprovoked attack was meant to teach both Nehru and Khruschev a lesson. When the attack did take place, Khruschev was forced to take sides. He capitulated to “brotherly communist” China over just a “friend” India. It was a much-needed kick on Nehru’s behind who, just after Independence was ready to disband Indian Army as not needed with the sole rival, China, being “bhai” and therefore posing no danger to India. Of course, Nehru believed in his own “statesmanly brilliance” (naivete?) of conceiving “non-alignment” to forestall any attack on India by any other power He could never recover from this shock. He was dead within two years.


  • Gaurav
    Oct 24, 2012 - 11:58PM

    I AM NOT MAKING IT UP….what you are saying was a secondary reason.
    It was in the newspapers recently……as many as 30 million chinese had been killed by mao in 3 years he wanted to regain control of his party position which was significantly weakened and thus he lauched a war.
    Anyways this is not Mao’s China neither is it nehru’s india.

    i am certain that India and China so long china is a dictatorship cannot become friends. what we have to avoid is western power using our enmity because WHATEVER MAY HAPPEN ASIA MUST BECOME THE CENTRE OF THE AGAIN IN THIS CENTURY at all cost.

    Power will come with responsibility.
    There is little doubt that India and China if they exist beyond 2050 would be the most powerful countries and if we decimate ourselves what a shame that will be.*


  • G. Din
    Oct 25, 2012 - 2:34AM

    I never said you made anything up. Well, I grant you it may have been a catalyst. But, that does not explain why Mao launched his Cultural Revolution later which, as they say, did Mao in.
    Stalin and Mao enjoyed a very close relationship. Stalin’s policies towards China caused a lot of heart-burn in Soviet Union (Russia) but no one could say anything to the murderous dictator. Khruschev personified this heart-burn. As soon as Stalin was dead, he not only denounced Stalin in the Supreme Soviet but also reversed many of his policies. Amongst those policies was almost a blank check to China by way of technical and military aid (which was the reason for the heart-burn). Soviet Union almost bankrupted itself in the larger interest of Communism. It was a time of intensive frigid cold war. So, Mao had thought that China was indispensable to Soviet Union. Then came Khruschev- Bulganin epochal visit to India which transformed Soviet world view. Suddenly, there appeared an alternative on the scene making Khruschev bolder vis-a-vis China. China first tested its relationship with USSR by seeking large tracts of mostly unihabited land in the Soviet East on lease where China would build cities and other infrastructures. This, for obvious reasons, was declined. That started the great animosity. There were military skirmishes in which Chinese killed Soviet frontier guards. Soviets killed quite a few Chinese, too.
    1962 war also sparked very interesting developments in other parts of the world. Jack Kennedy saw an opening for America when Nehru, now desperate, sought immediate American armed assistance which was complied with almost at lightning speed. This was the beginning of end of undeserved delusions that Nehru had been under. We, too, had been forced to live under those delusions of unearned self-importance for a long time.
    China is slowly and steadily marching towards a world war. I am sorry I do not see any future for Sino-Indian relationship or China, for that matter. We shall never be able to forget, much less forgive the perfidy, ever.


  • Observer
    Oct 25, 2012 - 7:45AM

    @G. Din:

    It is wrong to conclude that China attacked India in 1962 as a result of the China-Soviets-India calculations. If so, they would have fully withdrawn from all areas they occupied. Right from the 1950’s China has been an expansionist power. It annexed Tibet and Xinjiang by force. China needed the areas of Kashmir that it still occupies as a preferred route to Tibet and Xinjiang. The results can be seen. China has constructed roads and rail tracks in this occupied area to connect Tibet and Xinjiang with south China.


  • vivek
    Oct 25, 2012 - 9:17AM

    I do not agree with the line”friction remain high on the border” .In fact India China border is one of the most peaceful and tranquil border in the world.Despite claims of each other’s territory, not a single shot has been fired along the border since 1967.Kudos to both China and India to mantain peace on their border.But we are not so fortunate with India -Pak border.


  • antony
    Oct 25, 2012 - 11:59AM

    No chinese cross the border to create terrorism in India nor any Indian cross the border to china to create terrorism in Chine even though both have issues with the border.. Can India pakistan LOC border be like that ? . Almost all of India will be grateful if Pakistan focus on Pakistan and respect LOC and forget about India.


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