SNIE 13/31-62 - SHORT-TERM OUTLOOK AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE SINO-INDIAN CONFLICT

Created: 11/9/1962

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SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

2

Short-Term Outlook and Implications for the Sino-lndian Conflict

by Ih* DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

ConairrtdNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD

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SPECIAL

NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

2

Short-Term Outlook and Implications for the Sino-lndian Conflict

SHORT-TERM OUTLOOK AND IMPLICATIONS FOR THE SINO-IND1AN CONFLICT

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

With China'* recent attacks on India's northern border, the Slno-Indlan quarrel haserious military struggle. While fighting Is likely to continue, we believe the conflict win remain essentially conflncd to the disputed border areas at least tor the near future. The conflict is alreadyhange in India'i foreign and ckyrsastlc attitudes favorable to tbe West, and the USSR's prestige In India has diminished. Nevertheless. India la unlikely to abandon nxmallgnrrient as such, and will continue to look to both Fast and West for assistance in its vast economic development program. Pakistan sees any military strengthening of Indiahreat to Its security and would react stronglyajor Western program to modernize and re-equip the Indian military establishment

THE ESTIMATE

I. OtVaOPMfNT Of THE CfJSO

L Ever since the first clash between Indian aad Hi In ass foreasndia has been devoting considerable efforts to strengthening Its position along tha entire border. Roads and trails in the BimaJiyas have been improved and expanded, air transport capacity Increased, and growing numbers of Indian troops stationed at key locations on the border, increasingly confident of Its ability to deal with theIndia, In the springet out to establish new forward posts In Ladakh behind Chinese outposts, though in In dan-claimed territory. While these provoked strong Chinese protests, Pel pings actions in the

aces were restrained, uy mia-eunimer, omnia, extremely concerned that they bad overextended I

openly spoke about renewed discussions with the Chinese on the border dispute. The outcry in India against this course was so strong, bow-ever, that he was In effect forced to abandon any practical steps toward negotiations.

A Despite their concern about possible clashes In Ladakh, Indian leaders felt relatively safe In strengthening Indiaosition tn tbe Berth East Frontier Agancyn the discussicnj on the border dispute held between India and Corrununlit Chinaeiping had made It reasonably clear that It was prepared tonotWcssabon Una1 Indeed, China had even Indicated its wiilingneas to abandon Its claims In KEFA If New Delhi would relinquish Itsadakh. To strengthen Its pceaUon hi KEFA, India sent troops slightly north of the locatioo ofna as shown on all but the latest Indian maps. The Indians claimed that the true location of them general foi lows the HbnalayanIn fact north of the position on earlier maps They also asserted with more vigor their determination to expel the Chinese from Indian territory.

eiping resisted these deployrnents of Indian troops, and clashes of increasing severity occurred. Commencing onctober, the Chinese initiated large scale attacks against Indian poaltlans In NEFA andsubstantial territory. In addition, virtually all of India* advance outposts In the Ladakh region of Kashmir have been overrun. Heavy fighting resulted In total Indian casualties cf, about half of whom are killed and missing. Chinese propaganda has lashed out at Nehru and Krishnaerms usually rssarred for US and

< TheMateo LUm was Um resultmm and Tibetan cewveatkui lo IMS. ratified by Uv* OKbet. bit not by China.

Chinese Nationalist leaders. Despite the military reverse* It hasNew Delhi has rejected the terms of China's cease-fire offer by demanding that Chinese troops muet wlllidra* to their September pod lions before any talks are possible The Chinese, for their part, have refused any cssse-ftre requiring them to evseutle the posts they have seiaed In Ladakh

DtMeCrONS OfCONHICT

* In tbe Immediate border areas or dispute. Communist Chinsistinct military advantage overhineae units held tbeand were better trained and equipped with more suitable weapons. In both NSFA and ladakh they were positioned In base, on the Tibetan and Sink long plateaus withhort ascent necessary to penetrate the outer Indian positions, since Chineae roads tn Tibet approach toew miles of their Initial attackonversely, India's original apprcoches to the border were over much more rugged terrain relyingudimentary road aod trail system. Supplyf Indian forces, particularly In the NEPA area, was limited porter carry of several days However, as the Chinese Indians retreat, Helping's advantage lessens Tbe back to positions that can be soppUed by Jeep tbe Chinese must traverse rugged terrain and rely for resupply

has announced tha* Chinese forces will no longer the "Illegal M'-Mahrmommunist China's ultimate in-conflict are uncertain. Inrimary Chinese intention Is to protect the very Important Tibet-Srraoang road which they have built across the disputed territory. The Chinese advarces have pushed the Indians out of virtually all Chlreae-craimed areas up to the natural barrier of the main Karakoraro Range. Furtherpenetrations would involve Uie Chinees In supply and terrain problems almost as difficult as those that face the Indians. In NEFA, the numbers of troops ln combat are far larger Lhan In ladakh Tbe Chinese have taken the important area around Towang and made advances in the Walong area, on two of the key approaches to the Assam plains. The Chinese may aim to occupy further areas of NEFA in order to strengthen their military position and perhaps to useargaining counter for use ln any future

of lrrrUUnr the ccn/Uct. the Indiana are hearty to reversing the tide of battle and eventually ousting the from Indian-claimed territory. Present Indian strategy Is to advance through the winter while preparingn the spring. To this end the Indians are building

B THt OUTLOOK

n an attempt toreasonable" attitude, the Chinese have called lor an end to the current conflict ud have proposed that both sides withdrawilometers from the line of control asovember IMS As this woo Id represent an Indian cor. cession to the extensive Chinese dslnu In ladakh. It Is unlikely that the two sides will reachhe near future.olitical settlement is reached, fighting will almost certainly continue In both Ladakh and NEFA aa both sides Jockey for position. While the Indians probably will try to regain acme of their lost territory, tbey are unlikely to make muchin the face of superior Chinese manpower and position Inthe Chinese are almost certainly determined to hold the Towang area, tn view of lis political as well as Its strategic Importance. II the Chinese renew their attacks before or during the winter they will make scene gams, but wa believe the conflict will remain confined to the areas of present fighting.

B. The conflict may Involve much larger numbers of troops nest spring The Indians will probably not attempt to advance beyond their own territorial cialms. However, more powerful Chinese attacks are possible, especially In the eventtrong Indian effort to recover lost territory, and fighting could well spread further In NsuTA and perhaps even to new areas of Ladakh. Any major expansion of ths conflict might fn valve the territorial Of Bhutan and perhaps evenkira.

he principal limiting factor Is toglatlcs. Especially if the Chinese should attempt to move beyond their present territorial claims In NKFA,ams unlikely that their transport system zoukiorce capable of withstanding the Indian counterattacks which could be brought against It it would require rnsadve and lengthy reparations. Including major road-building la both Tibet and NttFA, stockpiling of supplies,or the Chinese toerious Invasion of India, Hence, whatever may be the long-run Chinese aspirations to dominate India, we believe it unlikely that Peiping will undertake an expsruflon of the present conflict beyond NEFA or attempt further significant advances in Ladakh.

IV. THE INDIAN POSITION

The fllno-Ioduui conflict hasramatic affect ondca Tba setbacks at the bands of PeSrang. eevrdxtaed wtthstand, have protBpsad Prhne Minister Nehru publicly to admit thai India has been "riving tn an artificial atmosphere of ournd has been "oat of touch withn making the decision to request military aid from the West, the Indian Oovernmentrecept which had long been cue of tha cornerstones cf Its nonallgnmenl policy. While this doss not mean the abandonment of nonaiignmcnt as such, ithange favorable to the West In India's posture In particular, it will strengthen the awareness In India of the parttrong US position in Asia plays In theof Cooununist China.

Within India, the pro-Western elements In the Congress Party have been strengthened, and moderate pro-Western ism ts likely for some Urns at least to be an asset for an Indian politician. Tha influence on policy of the generally pro-Western Indian military will probably grow. Krishna Menoo Is probably finishedajor political force la Indian affairs, although ha probably wll] continue to have some Influence with Nehru. Thi moderate nationalist rmjorfly of Ihe Communist Party of India hasosition that Is fa conflict not only with peiping but wtth Moscow's posiUon as wen. The majority support of the Nehm government's position has infuriated the extremists in the party,ormal party spilt could well result

II. The Indian effort to gear up for the difficult and costfy task of expelling the Chinese la also likely to have adverse effects on India's economic development effort. Despite Nehru's brave words about India's determination to carry out the ambitious Third Five-Year Plan, the necessity of financing the war effort will force some cutbacks. If the Indians continue their heavy emphasis on long-range investmenttha whole economy Is likely to falter. However, givingmports of raw materials and spare parts in order to utilise presently available excess industrial capacily would probably limit the adverse consequences to the economy. An increase of tho Indian Armyhas beenrequireexternal military aid. In addition. It would also seriously hamper the economic development effort, even assumingetata noc from both the Soviet Bloc and the West al presently projected levels

V THE PAKISTANI FACTION

IS. Pakistan's reaction to the West's support of India hasluer one The Pakistanis regard Western wullagntsa aaawnwaa, ta their eyes to supply military equipment to India as seriouslyto Pakistan's Interests. They also see It as negating the ad-

vantage of their alliance with the US. Tbey axe convinced that India win notealistically'* on sTaasaatf under normal ssaaawaaaas, and they batleve that India'i present difficult rjoattlon offers what may he the only real hope to secure an acceptable setUcrnent there.Pakistan aeee any military sWerujthenlng of Indiahreat to its security. Pakistan haa become Increasingly concerned about India's intransigent attitude toward its neighbors during the past year orsfoca the Ooa episode. In Lhcae crreunartances. Pakistan baa been unwilling to give India any public assurances. India for Its part, despite the Chinese threat, has failed to redeploynumbers of Its own troops from the Pakistan border.

he eventual Pakistani reaction will depend on tbe magnitude and type of the aid the West extends toodest program of infantry weapons and transport aircraft, for example, would probably engender chiefly widespread grumbling, On the otherassive program to re-equip the Indian military ratabushnierit with modem weapons, unless balanced by comparable aid to Pakistan andby Western pressure on IasSs toflgskosSg settlement, would impose grave strainsPikUtan relations Tbr example, Ayub would be unwilling to agree to any expansion of special USln Pakistan, and might demand the elimination of same of them.

VI we SO VICT PROBLEM

1B, The expansion ofio-Indian conflict has presented ths USSRroublesome choice. One of the basic tenets of post-Stalin foreign policy bas been friendship with the neutral nations Indiaey role tn this pohcy, as ckmvnstrated by sscsrowa previous wllUngnf to Incur Chineae wrath by remaining publicly neutral In the Slno-Indlan dispute and even supplying military traruport aircraft for use against China. Whether by design or not, Pelplng's enlargement of theespecially coming at the time of US-Soviet confrontation over cubs, haa forced jeosoow, for the ume being at least, reluctantly to support "fraternal China" over "friendlyhe immediate SovietIs probably the achievement of the earliest possible resolution of the conflict

1ft India's reaction to the Soviet stance haa been one of acuteon the part of the more pro-Soviet elements.esult, Soviet influence in India has diminished sharply and any future attempt by Moscow to rebuild Its position will be dogged by the Indian memory of Soviet support of China in India's hour of need. Nevertheless. India's kaden will continue to wish to maintain their pesture of ncnaJignment They win continue to hope for Soviet Bkx economic aid and for support on such questions as Kashmir.

ANNEX

Currant Military Situation

long India's northern border lies China's Tibet Military Regionotal troop strength of. These forces are organisednfantryndependent infantry regiments, an artilleryavalry regiment,onier defense regiments.

deploying one Infantryavalry regiment, andforces against elements of one Indian brigade, the Chinesein reducing Indian Army outposts and securinguf all their claimed Ladakh territory. Although theevacuated additional outposts and fighting continues inarea, Chinese forces generally have remained within theof Chinese territorial claims. It is roughly estimated thatInitiallyike number of Indian tmopahave now brought the numbers to0 on each side.

Sftkan-Bhulcm Area

reports that the Chinese wereilitarythe Chumht Valley between Slkkim and Bhutan, tbe Indiantwo infantry divisions tn Slkkim and adjacent Indiareuiforcement possibly involved at least one regiment ofdivision based at Shiga tee, south central Tibet.

North tost Frontier Agency

the North East Frontier Agency (NEFA) the Chineseseparate offensivesotal of approximately sixregiments. In the Towing area up to three infantrysupporting artillery assaulted Indian defenses manned by anbrigade. Tbe attack penetrated approximatelyouesborderoint five miles east to Towang. At present onedivisioneployed In defensive positions in the Se La

n the Longju-Asafila area, one regiment overran platcon-slre Indian border posts. This attack has progressedhort distance Inside the NEFA and has been blocked by possibly one Indian brigade.

n the extreme eastern part of theRimeChinese infantry regiments crossed the borderiles

to threaten Walong. Thin Communist advance has been checked by an Indian Infantry brigade tn the vicinity of the town. In the NEFA area. Indian array strength number*0 wilh0

troops commit led to forward area defense against more

Chinese lorces.

Rslnfcecawwrrl CiaiulilMii

xcluding border defense regiments, which probably have been held back along the Slno-Nepal-Indlan border and assigned primarily security and secondarily reserve "infantry" roles, unoomrnitled and immedlately avauabie Chinese forces In central and eastern Tibet coo-stst of the equivalent of two Infantry eft visions, three Infantry regiments, and elements of an artillery regiment

I. Indian army brigade and division reinforcements have been moved Into ladakh, northern Uttar Pradesh, and the NEFA. other units bare been alerted for possible movement As far as can be determined Indian forces facing the Pakistani bolder have not been

Is estimated that the Indians could reinforce the singlepresentlyadakh with possibly twodivision* Tbe two Infantry dlrhlors defending in thebe reinforced by an additional three divisions. Thesewould require the decision to redeploy units now positionedIndo-Pakistanl borders, and would virtually deplete India's alia tegforee.

otal ofnfantryrtillery divisions, located in the Sinkiang, Lanchou, Chengtu. and Kunming Military Regions, are available for possible movement into Tibet Althoughfor the northern Ladakh area could move on either theraD-hlgfrway route through Sinkiang or the motor road across Tibet via Lhasa, tt Is believed that logistic coruBrtarauona would forceit nation of the Sinkiang route. Deployments Into Tibet can be truck transported Into Lhasa from Lanchou hi northwest China and along the east-west highway from Yean In western Ssechwan Province. It Is estimated that the mterragkmal transfernfantrydivisions from northwest Chinaivisions from southwest China-would require approximatelyoays to close In the Lhasa area The redeploymentnfantry division either from Lhasa to the Towang area or from Changlu la eastern Tibet to the Buna area wouldays;astivision would require aboutays to reach ladakh.

Assuming that cargo requirement! would pre-empt civil airaircraft, military troop carriers operating at maximum range (SAO nauticalcould provide an Initial liftercent

aircraft availability) ofroops. If civil aviation were pressed Into service, this lift capacity could be increasedroops. It should be noted that when transport aircraft occupy western China airfields, their forward utilization willorresponding reduction In alrbase facilities available to combat aircraft,

Parachute-trained troops from China's three ab-borne divisions could be employed In battahon-aise operations against bridges, airfields, or key terrain features, but only at lower elevations.

It is believed that altitude restrictions limit the use of airborne troop carriers to the southern route west of the Chengtu and Kunming alrbase complexes into the NEFA and from southern SinSdang into Ladakh.

Air Operattons

The Chinese Communists are not likely to introduce air in support of their current ground operations unless Indian forces, augmented by substantial Western military aid,ajor threat to then- positions. If Introduced, the Chinese will use tactical air primarily ln support of ground forces with strikes probably restricted to Indian positions in the ladakh, the NEFA, and upper Brahmaputra River valley areas of India.

Those Chinese airfields with runwayseet or more within range of the disputed areas are in two groups. The first group3 airfields in the region north of Nepal, Bhutan, and the NEFA. They are Tingri Dzong0 foot temporary runway0 feet altitude, Lhasa0 foot permanent runway0 feet altitude, and Nagchhu Dzong0 foot temporary runway0 feet altitude. The other group contains two airfields In the region north of Jammu and Kashmir. These are Pull0 foot natural surfaced runway0 feet altitude and Soche withoot natural surfaced runwayeet altitude. On the basis ofet day fighters perircraft could be accommodated.

otalombinedndet day fighter interceptors, however, could be deployed to all of tbe Chinese air bases closest to the threatened areas of India to provide air cover to tactical strikes as well as air defense.et light bombersiston attack bombers could also be deployed to adjacent air bases for use in close support missions.

or tactical strikes, theould be the most dependable aireraftound bomb load, these aircraft could operate from even those bases at altitudes up0 feet. The combat radius of then such strikes would be. The slower speeds of this aircraft. Including takeoff speed, would

enhance Its viability; flnt, in terms oi minimising the hazards from dust, rocks, and other debris because ot the inferior surfacing of Chinese runways north of India; secondly, due to the reduced danger ol tire blowouts In comparison with jet operations from airfieldseet altitudes; and thirdly, because of the Increasedin flying at minimum altitudes between mountain peaks where weather permits.

IS. logistics, and particularly POL, however, would be the most serious limiting factor or. such operations Available POL storagewould limit combat operations to not more thanays and tn view of the remoteness of the area and the lack of transportation facilities, resupply would be very difficult. Therefore, the key toair operations in suprort of Chinese Communist groundtn the Indian border area would be the extent of logfstk support which could be provided, particularly POL.

he Indian Air Force is roughly one-quarter the sixe of the Chinese Communist Air Forces. It has operating advantages, however, which partially compensate for Its Inferior numerical strength. There sre an adequate number of forward airfields available, and togktuc and operating conditions would be more favorable than at the few. more isolated, extremely high elevation Chinese airfields previously cited. The Indians are likely to initiate air operations against the Chinese only if future Red advances prove significant In this event. Indian strikes probably would be restricted to Chinese positions and supply tinea In Indian claimed territory tn the hope that Chinese relatiaticn could be contained. If the Chinese were able to resolve their extremely difficult logistics problems, they could overpower the Indiansustained effort Involving large segments of both air forces. However, suchare not expected. So few aircraft probably wouldnpaayediven period that the Indiana, especially If they were to receive substantial outside assistance, could hold their ownuch longer timeomparison of overall strength would Indicate.

TACTICAL ATA OKDSH Of BATTLB (ta aetooWd calaapcau)

China*

Flgbter (Jet)

ID

Attack Bomber/Flfta tar Bomberinn(pUtan)

Light Bomber (jell

Medium Bomber (piston)

' Includes naval aircraftPlusiilon.

Logistic!

egional supply bases In southern Sinkiang and tn central Tibet sre supplied from general depots located at Lanchou and Chengtu. A

small air transport effort supplement* overland haulage. Lhasa bases receive their supplies by truck over two main supply routes, which are sufficient to satisfy the combat needs of up tonfantry divisions (standard) at Lhasa. However, variable capacities of roads radiating from Lhasa affect tonnages tbat can be delivered to the border areas.

hinese combat units ln Ladakh an tofsetscsJly supported from both the Sinkiang and Lhasa bases Tbe two supply routes leading koto tbe ladakh area are probably capable of handhrttj the combat roqnlreraenta of irom eft infantry divisions (standard) to BH Infantry divisionseavier fighting would reduce this capability to IHila ii Supplies diverted from the Lhasa-Ladnkfi supply route support one infantry division In the Churned valley.

Sapplles of all dieses ran be truck transported up to the Bum La and Longju areas along the northernorder. Here the Chinese can deliver the combat requirementsnfantry divisions (standard)nfantry divisionsrcsn the border southward Into the Towang area Chinese logtalic capabilities, stretched across rugged, mountainous terrain devoid of an adequate road system, are reduced considerably and their forces in the area are estimated to be operating on minimum supply requirements. By expanding the existing trail system Into Jeep tracks and later lo roads of three-ton capacity the area's logistical capability could be Increased proporllonably.

In the Rima area of the NRPA present road capacities are capable of handling the tonnage requirementstandard or iy> lightly-equipped Infantry divisions. Forward of the border, however, roadreduce this capabilitymlle advance by one infantry regiment

Thus, It appears that the currant Chinese offensives in the NEFA have approached estimatedupport Holts. Deeperheavier fighting, or the Introduction of additional ground forces, would not only require the Chin sen lo Initiate an extensive road building program to Increase tonnage capsdUes. but also force them to resort to aerial resupply operations to supplement their overland efforts.

Indian approaches into the areas of conflict also traverse especially difficult terrain,ad and trail system which ts rudimentary despite recent Indian Improvements. Many of tbe Indian forces,fn tbe NEFA, can be supplied only by porterage or arrdropa. In addition, Indian supply routes suffer from the fact lhat rain and snowfall are much heavier than on the Chinese-held plateaus. This logistical disadvantage, however, has been lessened somewhat by the shortening of supply Unas occasioned by Indian withdrawals. While improvements In India's air transport capacity have received high priority, recorery rates for airdrops to units In Ladakh and the NEFA during the recent campaigns have not exceededercent

7*

The Military OuKook

K The current Indkcn Array ouildup tn Ladakh end the NEFA will continue.eneral Indian ofleneivc agamst Chtruwe-beld poalUons willuch greater concentration of forces equipped with more automatic and heavyaporu. IT units presently facing the Fautlstanl bcaders were released for action In the threatened areas, the Indian Army could muster sufficient force* to press forward and possibly force Chinese withdrawals. This buildup, requiring several months to complete, could reach Its sanitb upon tho advent of the next favorable period for militarythe spring thaws (March) and before the arrival of the monsoont the same time, the Chinese will continue to Im prove their military posture. Roads will be built, supply points restocked, and defensive poaJUona strengthened. Chinese Communist Army reinforcements of up to tour Infantry divisions with supporting artillery and possibly some tanks could be Introduced Into the Tibet Military Region without overtaxing logistic sopport capabilities. Relrdoreemeots could be held in staging areas for rapid deployment to the frontier areas. This would maintain troop flexibility and prevent undue strain on forward supply routes

ST. By early next summer when the Indian Army could be prepared to launch its offensive, the Chinese Communists could have sufficient forces in place to resist and successfully hold or to counterattack at will. If the Chinese decide to remain on the defensive, the bordercould developrolonged stalemate, with expenditures In both men and materiel econcerdeally costly to both Bides If the Chinese should elect to counterattack, It Is believed that tbey could penetrate deeper Into Ladakh or NEFA, but It would require massive- and lengthy preparations. Including major road-bulkllng in both Tibet and NEFA. stockpiling of supplies, etc, for the Chhtaas toerious Innuuon of India.

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