Almost 55 years have passed since the War of 1962. To this day, the conflict is remembered as a traumatic defeat for India. But is this all there was to the war? Were the roles of winner and loser so clearly divided between China and India.
In her new book, Shadow States: India, China and the Himalayas, 1910-62, historian Bérénice Guyot-Réchard argues there is another way to understand 1962, as the outcome of a protracted struggle between China and India for the hearts and minds of Himalayan people. On that count, military victory did not give China what it wanted. Beijing might have won the war, but it also lost the peace.
In a context where Sino-Indian tensions are flaring up once again, understanding the roots of the conflict is more important than ever.
Bérénice Guyot-Réchard is a historian of modern South Asia and its global and regional environment. She is currently Lecturer in 20th International History at King’s College London, after holding a Research Fellowship (JRF) at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Her research examines the connections between international history and social, political, and environmental change within and across international borders—with a focus on how decolonisation affected “international” relations and connections in and around the Indian sub-continent. Her first book, Shadow States: India, China and the eastern Himalayas has recently been published by Cambridge University Press, and she is starting a new project on India and the Indian Ocean since 1947. She received her PhD in History from Trinity College, Cambridge and is an alumnus of Sciences Po Paris, the Australian National University, and the London School of Economics. She is the winner of Cambridge University’s Prince Consort Prize and Seeley Medal (2014) and the British Association for South Asian Studies’ Annual Prize (2012).