Did Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Forward Policy’ lead to the Indian defeat in the Sino-Indian War of 1962?

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Section [A]: Plan of Investigation

Research Question:
“Did Jawaharlal Nehru’s ‘Forward Policy’ lead to the Indian defeat in the Sino-Indian War of 1962?”

From mid 1959 to 1962, India and China waged a series of border skirmishes and wars that finally ended with China triumphing over India. In this period, the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru contrived a highly controversial military stratagem called the ‘Forward Policy’ that dictated most Indian military activities till 1962. For discovering extent to which this policy led to the Indian defeat by itself, this research will explore primary documents such as letters exchanged between Zhou Enlai and Nehru, and an official CIA report of the conflict to get a deeper insight. Secondly, conflicting historical sources and analytical studies about interpretations and implementation of the Forward Policy will be examined in detail. Lastly, this essay will incorporate the formation, exacerbation of tension, foreign interference and important conflicts between 1959 and 1962 chronologically, which will be analysed to determine their effect on the development and repercussions of the Forward Policy on India.

Word Count: 170 words

Section [B]: Summary of Evidences

Formation of the Forward Policy

• Facing an ostensible threat from the Chinese Government, the Dalai Lama fled from Lhasa to Tawang in India during the Tibetan Uprising of 1959.
• Nehru, by his principles of ‘sovereignty and liberty’ offered refuge to the Dalai Lama. China was infuriated as it felt its authority over Tibet had been challenged.
• From April 1959, Mao Zedong unsuccessfully imposed political pressure on Nehru. Agitated by Nehru’s persistence, China sent its first border patrol troops t...

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..., 1954-1962. McGill University, Montreal. Web. Hosted by the National Japanese Slavic Research Center. Accessed 10 December 2013.

Maxwell, Neville. China’s India War: How the Chinese Saw the Conflict. China-India Border Dispute Wordpress, May 2011. Web. Accessed 10 December 2013.

Subrahmanyam, K. Nehru and the India-China Conflict of 1962. Adapted from India Foreign Policy: The Nehru Years. (Edited by Bal Ram Nanda. Vikas Publishing House, (1976).). Web. Hosted by New York University. Accessed 10 December 2013.

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