A. Ted Samuel: Web Sources on the India-China War of 1962
On October 20, 1962, China attacked India over disputed territory on the Himalayan border of the two nations. The result of this land dispute was the overwhelming defeat of the ill equipped Indian army to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army. The war provoked numerous tensions between the two nations that have been exacerbated by the Indian Governments hosting of the Tibetan Government in Exile – located in Dharmshala – and testing of Nuclear weapons in 1998.
The following is an analysis of various web sources. Factors I will consider are accuracy of information, sourcing, authorship, and motives.
The GlobalSecurity.org website is based in Alexandria Virginia and is “focused on innovative approaches to the emerging security challenges of the new millennium”. A primary goal of the producers of this website is to “reduce reliance on nuclear weapons and the risk of their use -- both by existing nuclear weapons states and those states seeking to acquire such capabilities.” Seeing that both China and more recently India are two nuclear powers who have fought a war in the past fifty years, it is apparent as to why this website would dedicate information on the interconnected history of these two nations.
The content of the specific section on the “Indo-China War of 1962” is surprisingly linear. It contains very little analysis of the causes and effects of the war. It would be a very useful aid for constructing a timeline of the events of this war. The sources used are presented very clearly to the right of the screen at the top of the page. Sources include notes from the US department of state, a scholarly book, and a link from the Library of Congress. These sources are predominantly American based which, along with the nature of the text, leads me to believe that the information is fairly unbiased.
There is no clear author to the section “Indo-China War of 1962”. The information is, however, copyrighted and was last updated on 7/15/2002. The sight is maintained by John Pike.
The Accultured Robot
I chose to include this site versus some others because this one had a very thorough but readable summary and analysis of the India China War in the 1960’s. It also, however, raised many other questions about picking and choosing web sources.
The sight itself is a hodgepodge of book reviews, travel guides, research forums, and news sources which cover a vast variety of world locations. The site is copyrighted, but it is not clear who runs this site or even who writes all of the articles. For these reasons this is certainly not the best source to cite for a major project, but it provides a great deal of interesting background on numerous topics.
The actual examination of the Indo-Sino conflict, however, was rather good – especially for students who do not know much about the topic. It provides both background facts as well as an analysis of why China was much better equipped for this war. It speaks of assumptions, misconceptions, and outright mistakes by India’s Prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and other Indian intelligence officials which was a major cause of the overwhelming defeat.
I also appreciate the effort of an analysis of post war opinions, but the way it was carried out left much to be desired. First of all the author referred to a large article in the Times of India about the war, but the link provided just leads to the Time’s general website, not the specific article. A reader would therefore have to navigate this other website to find relevant information. The author also briefly writes about a conversation he or she had with a Chinese woman about her thoughts the war and misconceptions she had had. While the information was interesting, the author makes no attempt to cite the date or the city where this interview took place.
Another problem that I had with this site (besides the fact that the author is ambiguous and certain analyses need better citations), is rather minute, but still takes away some serious credibility to the site. The name of the prime minister of India at the time of the war was Jawaharlal Nehru. In the third line in the “Answers” section of the text the author spells Nehru’s first name as Jarwala. This simple misspelling, that could have been taken care of by any simple spell check, is one of many signs that there is serious room for improvement in this site.
The sight does give a really useful link however to an interesting paper written in 1984 by Navy commander James Bernard Calvin. The paper was published by the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. This extensive paper, in short, links the war in a global context and draws from other world event during the Cold War.
Rediff.com: The India-China War, 40 Years On
Rediff.com is an Indian based search engine with numerous online services which include news, online shopping and links to various other businesses and organizations. It is very much comparable with Yahoo.com in the United Sates.
In 2002, forty years after the India-China war, Rediff.com produced an internet series consisting of “articles and reports offering differing analyses, perspectives, and narratives” for the newer generation of Indians to learn from the history of their nation. The sight presents an overwhelming amount of information which does in fact cover many different bases and perspectives. What I like most about this site, is the way it ties this specific war into the greater context of Indo-Sino relations since the conflict. There are articles which use this event in Indian and Chinese history and tie it in with issues of Tibet and nuclear testing.
The main page has links divided into Interviews, Columns, Opinions, and Specials, all of which deal with Indo-Sino relations – specifically the War in 1962. Also included is a timeline of the relations and interactions between the two nations which can aid in putting a chronological perspective to events and a document produced by the BJP government in India after the nuclear tests, explaining the purpose of this dangerous step into becoming a more prominent world power.
The pieces are by scholars from both India and China who cover a wide range of disciplines including Economics, History, and Political Science. Each piece has a short biography of the authors which enhances their legitimacy because we can see where the authors are coming from.
This web source is by far the best I found on the topic of the India China War of 1962. I found no flaws with the navigability, content, or citing on this site. For anyone wanting to write an essay, term paper, or learn more about this struggle. This would be the site that I recommend beyond all others.
Views on Web Sources and The India China War
The specific topic that I chose made this assignment more difficult. When typing India China War in 1962, Indo - Sino Conflict, or even China India War; numerous matches would show up on various search engines. The problem with these searches was that very few useful sites were presented with the exception of articles that were posted by newspapers and magazines including Frontline, and The Times of India. Many sights were actually just papers posted on the web or ambiguous numbers or figures.
Of the ten sights I looked at with depth, the three presented offered unique information, and is some cases flaws, dealing with the topic. With the debatable exception of the site powered by Accultured Robot.com, these sights would offer sufficient information for many projects. The best sources however would probably be scholarly papers from academic journals or newspaper articles written in 1962 to 1964 from India and China.
“Indo-China War of 1962” GlobalSecurity.org. 7/15/2002. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/indo-prc_1962.htm
(November 16, 2004)
“The Chinese-Indian Border War”. Accultured Robot.com http://www.accultured.com/border.shtml (November 18,2004)
“Remembering a War”. Rediff.com. 2002 http://www.rediff.com/news/indochin.htm
(November 16, 2004)
This could have been due to the author’s desire to keep the woman’s identity private, but even then he or she could have taken the effort to cite some details to give readers some sort of context (date, region, etc.)
I skimmed more than ten sites, but I only looked at ten with any depth.