However, the Chinese feel that while India’s response to the Tibetan revolt
was a catalyst to the war, the primary and direct cause of the war was the
border dispute. Regardless of which view is correct, one thing will always
hold true and that is that India’s response to the Tibetan revolt and its
subsequent granting of asylum to the Dalai Lama was definitely a
contributing factor in prompting the war. The fact that Chinese acts of
aggression against India occurred shortly after the granting of asylum to the
Dalai Lama appears to be more than just a matter of coincidence.
Impact of the Conflict
The 1962 war highlighted several critical failures in India’s military strategy.
First, and perhaps most significantly, the conflict highlighted political naivety
and ignorance toward strategies of warfare and international relations. During
the entire conflict, Indian diplomatic actions remained flaccid and fluctuated
between being confrontational or being manhandled. For example,
intelligence reported that the Chinese were building a road through Aksai
Chin, yet the Government, apart from a few angry condemnations, chose to
ignore the strategic significance of it for almost a decade, instead repeating to
itself the mantra of Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai. Even upon discovery of this
transgression, India’s protests were weak-kneed.
    The war also highlighted the fact that the army was acutely under-
equipped, out-dated, and illtrained to deal with sustained conflict in the
Himalayas. The acclimatisation of troops was of critical import in this
mountain war. Though Indian kill ratios were very favorable, the damage
caused by non-acclimatisation of troops, particularly in the eastern sector,
compared to the troops in Ladakh, who were better equipped and
acclimatised, is very evident.
    The psychological and political effects of the war were far-reaching.
Because of the war, India’s image, especially among the “Third World”
nations remaining non-aligned during the Cold War, suffered. But internally,
the shock galvanised the people into one united nation. Krishna Menon
resigned and Nehru’s dream of Sino-Indian friendship was shattered, but
India did not relinquish its independent policy of non-alignment, though a
shadow was shed on India’s position as the leader of the Non-Aligned