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7 - India’s “New” Frontier Policies and Foreign Assistance, 1962–1970

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 April 2024

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Summary

Abstract

Chapter 7 elucidates how India created a lean, well-trained military and expanded development aid along the Sino-Indian frontier after its defeat in 1962. Section one demonstrates that India continued to assess frontier military capabilities and that Kalimpong lost significance as an economic hub. India became more assertive toward China by training, with Central Intelligence Agency assistance, a group of Tibetan guerillas (Establishment 22). This section also deals with how India's military build-up enabled it to defeat China in the 1967 border clash. Section two focuses on the Indian government's efforts to hamper incursions by the People's Republic in Burma. The final section traces the evolution of foreign aid to India during the 1960s to protect the country against renewed “Chinese aggression.”

Keywords: Establishment 22, Central Intelligence Agency, spying, development, 1967 border clash, Kalimpong

How India handled the border issue in the postbellum contrasted with the approach by the People's Republic. A trend of frontier military neglect by India reversed with the onset of the 1962 war. The shock of defeat compelled Indian policymakers to develop a lean, well-trained fighting force. Consequently, India's defense budget increased from five billion rupees in 1962–1963 (1.5 trillion rupees adjusted for inflation) to seven billion rupees in 1963–1964 (2.2 trillion rupees adjusted for inflation). To place these figures into perspective, India's defense budget in 1950–1951 only amounted to 1.64 billion rupees (704 billion rupees adjusted for inflation). Partly due to this increased defense budget, India made up for its defeat in 1962 by achieving victory over Chinese forces in 1967. Indian leaders comprehended the impracticality of attempting to match China's army size, instead focusing on ways to make the border with China impenetrable.

In addition, India expanded development aid to political entities along the Sino-Indian frontier. Indian leaders remained convinced that Beijing endeavored to bring the Himalayan kingdoms and Burma into its orbit. New Delhi combatted Chinese incursions through countersubversion efforts. Certain techniques India used to project itself at the frontier were novel, but New Delhi's overall frontier strategy deviated only slightly from that of the pre-1962 era. The key change was its level of assertiveness.

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Chapter
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The Cold War in the Himalayas
Multinational Perspectives on the Sino-Indian Border Conflict, 1950-1970
, pp. 217 - 230
Publisher: Amsterdam University Press
Print publication year: 2024

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