‘Mao ordered 1962 war to regain CPC control’
Beijing: China's late strongman Mao Zedong had launched the 1962 war with India to regain control of the ruling Communist Party after the debacle of his 'Great Leap Forward' movement in which millions had perished.
This was stated by top Chinese strategist Wang Jisi, adding a new dimension to the conflict ahead of the 50th anniversary of the war on Saturday.
"The war was a tragedy. It was not necessary," Wang, Dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University and member of the Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told PTI here.
Wang said he differed with the perception of many Chinese political and strategic analysts that the Chinese victory ended India's claims on the border and brought about long-term peace.
"I think we need to do some research. One anecdotal story I heard was because of Mao's own fear of his position in China in 1962 that he launched a war," said Wang, who according to senior Indian diplomats was often consulted by the Chinese leadership.
"In 1962, three years after the Great Leap Forward (GLF), Mao lost power and authority. He was no longer the head of the state and he went back to the so-called second line. The explanation given to us at that time was that he was more interested in ... Revolution and so on," he said ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Sino-India conflict on October 20.
GLF was a mass campaign launched by Mao to use China's vast population to rapidly transform the country from an agrarian economy to a modern Communist society.
The movement turned out to be a catastrophe for China as millions of people perished in violent purges weakening Mao's position as supreme leader of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and he was sidelined.