Explained: Why did the victorious Chinese army withdraw in 1962?

The PLA faced the unappealing prospect of fighting US-equipped Indian forces without a route of withdrawal across the Himalayas

Chinese army 1962
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Chinese troops had marched in and distributed themselves between villages, with individual units charged with administering specific juri­sdictions

Ajai Shukla
Sixty years ago, on November 21, 1962, with advancing Chinese columns virtually on the outskirts of Tezpur and the Indian Army in full retreat, Beijing unexpectedly decla­red a unilateral ceasefire and undertook to withdraw its forces 20 kilometres (km) behind the McMahon Line. This amounted to a declaration of victory, riding on the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) October attack on the handful of Indian soldiers of 7 Infantry Brigade, which was deployed on the Namka Chu River north of Tawang.

To this day, opinion is divided on what motivated Beijing to call off the game at the moment of victory.

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First Published: Nov 21 2022 | 10:26 PM IST

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