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India refused to negotiate, China got angry, and invaded the disputed area. India had its famous 4th Infantry division in the area, but the Chinese PLA steamrollered them. India lost across the board, in every theater. Why? Why was the Indian Army so unprepared, and so bad compared to the Chinese? I mean they were British trained, and equipped with British and Russian equipment. So why so bad?

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The Chinese were probably much more experienced. Perhaps technology and some procedures were still old fashion, but the Chinese communists have been through a lot of fighting. From the resumption of the Chinese civil war after WW2 to its conclusion in 1949, and then their intervention in the Korean war, after all by the end of 1950, the US led forces were fighting mostly Chinese, not North Koreans (a point that never seems to be remembered). So the Chinese were probably more battle hardened than the Indians. I think the Chinese communists probably lost that battle hardiness by 1979, in which the Vietnamese were very battle hardened by that time, so it was the Vietnamese that give the Chinese a bloody nose in the 1979 Sino-Vietnamese war. Likely other factors too of course.

Edited by JasonJ
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The simple answer is a meritocratic system and proper preparations, vs. incompetence, favoritism, mistrust within the officers corps and between the “old” officer corps and the politicians, as well as little to no preparations. The Chinese soldiers had spent several years in the region, with the soldiers being well acclimatized to operate at >4000m and had built proper roads towards the frontline. The Indians on the other hand, had often only been in their positions on Chinese territory (at Dhola, for instance, they were posted several kilometers beyond the border that the Indians claimed) for a few weeks, they had no winter equipment, very little tools for entrenchment and the nearest road, could be several days march away, resulting in a situation where airdrops from C-47’s was the only way for rapid supply.


The chief of the general staff (Kaul), was a friend of Nehru, and was mainly busy making sure that his favourites was promoted (beyond their competence). He was trained as an infantry officer at Sandhurst in the 1930’s though, but he had managed to stay away from any frontline experience during both the Second World War, and the war of 1947-1949. Before the Indians tried to attack the numerically superior and better equipped Chinese, they appointed said chief of the general staff to command the “corps” (only two brigades) to command the “eviction” of the Chinese. He quickly came down with altitude sickness, and went home to New Delhi, but continued to try and lead his “corps” from his sick bed 1500 kilometers away. The situation was not made better by the fact, that troop dispositions was dictated by political desires, rather than military ration.

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