Rapprochement and the Sino-Indian War of 1962
James William Fulbright posited that the rapprochement of peoples is only possible "when the common bond of human dignity is recognized." Yet, to what extent is this true, especially for contemporary Sino-Indian relations? The history of fractious bilateral ties between both countries suggests that the realities of conflict, rather than higher considerations of human dignity, contributed significantly to rapprochement - the re-establishment of cordial relations between two countries. In particular, this paper will argue that the implications of the Sino-Indian War in 1962 directly and indirectly brought about the rapprochement in bilateral relations that followed from 1970-1990. While it appears ironic that a war is seen as a turning point towards peaceful relations, it was indeed the case as this event chiefly demonstrated to both sides the impracticality of the Sino-Indian border dispute. Moreover, the wider realization of the comparative insignificance of this territorial altercation drove Chinese and Indian leaders to seek both a more peaceful solution and more cordial relations.
Cornell Historical Society