In news– Recently, the Defence Minister of India inaugurated a revamped war memorial in eastern Ladakh’s Rezang La (Chousal), the site of an epic battle where Indian troops bravely fought the Chinese soldiers in 1962.
About Rezang La–
- It is a mountain pass on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between Indian-administered Ladakh and the Chinese-administered Spanggur Lake basin that is also claimed by India.
- The pass is located on the eastern watershed ridge of the Chushul Valley.
- During the Indo-Chinese war, 114 Indian soldiers died defending their position at Rezang La on November 18, 1962.
- The 13th battalion of the Kumaon Regiment was entrusted with the defence of Chushul.
- Its C Company, consisting of 117 men, commanded by a major Shaitan Singh, was responsible for holding Rezang La.
- This battle prevented the Chinese from moving towards Leh in the 1962 war.
- Major Shaitan Singh later decorated posthumously with the Param Vir Chakra.
- The memorial in Chushul is at an altitude of over 15,000 feet and is very close to the India-China border.
- It honours the troops of Charlie Company of 13 Kumaon Regiment, who had defended Rezang La.
1962 Sino-Indian War–
- This War between China and India occurred in October–November 1962.
- A disputed Himalayan border was the main cause of the war.
- There had been a series of violent border skirmishes between the two countries after the 1959 Tibetan uprising, when India granted asylum to the Dalai Lama.
- India initiated a defensive Forward Policy from 1960 to hinder Chinese military patrols and logistics, in which it placed outposts along the border, including several north of the McMahon Line, the eastern portion of the Line of Actual Control proclaimed by Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai in 1959.
- China abandoned all attempts of peaceful resolution on 20 October 1962, invading disputed territory along the 3,225 kilometres (2,004 mi) long Himalayan border in Ladakh and across the McMahon Line.
- Chinese troops pushed back Indian forces in both theatres, capturing Rezang La in Chushul in the western theatre, as well as Tawang in the eastern theatre.
- The war ended when China declared a ceasefire on 20 November 1962, and simultaneously announced its withdrawal to its claimed “Line of Actual Control”.