India and China have had a series of fluctuating relations. Besides the full-fledged 1962 war, there exist several minuscule and also serious combats. The Nathu La and Cho La clashes of 1967 between India and China also constitute this bloody array of violence and bloodshed.
The Nathu La and Cho La clashes began as a result of China’s claim over India’s protectorate state-Sikkim. The Nathu La clashes commenced on 11 September 1967, when several attacks from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were recorded on the Indian posts at Nathu La. However, the attacks stopped on 15 September 1967, after Chinese casualties skyrocketed. The Cho La military duel, on the other hand, got under way, and persisted till the end of 1 October 1967. India distinguished itself as the victor in both the instances. But what was the reason, or rather the multiple reasons, behind these two military events?
A major contributor to this inter-country battle is speculated to be the apparent dispute between India and China regarding the disputed border land in Chumbi valley. In addition to the disputed border, India and China have always been at loggerheads with one another, and the reasons are endless.
The Nathu La and Cho La clashes are of extreme importance, for India at least, because the war was a redemptive comeback for the Indian Army after the shockingly shameful defeat in the 1962 India-China War. The Indian Army, after the war of 1962, made every possible attempt to establish a dominant military presence in the world, so much so that it is said to have grown by a staggering 200 per cent following the despicable conquest.
Surabhi Sanghi, a peer tutor of history at Ashoka University, elaborates on the same: “The Nathu La and Cho La battles were India’s so-called comeback into the world-avenue of military consciousness. As much as I’m tempted to add that both the sides fought just as fiercely, I’m also aware that India stood unbeatable. China was embarrassed enough to disclose heavily tampered figures of their casualties, as well as monetary loss while India held on to candour.”
The battle of Nathu La is now making a reappearance into the present psyche through cinema. Paltan, an adaptive film by JP Dutta encircling the two 1967 Indo-Chinese wars, is all set to release in theatres countrywide on 7 September 2018. The star cast includes Jackie Shroff, Arjun Rampal, Sonu Sood and Sonal Chauhan among others.