Memorial at Nathu-La
In 1967, at Nathu-La Pass, Sikkim, erstwhile protectorate of India, the Chinese installed loudspeakers and threatened to repeat “1962” if Indians didn’t retreat from the area. The Indian side, heeding no notice, started fencing the pass. The Chinese asked them to stop. Ignoring, our troops continued. Minutes later, murderous medium-machine-gun (MMG) fire started from the other side. The pass – completely devoid of cover – exposed the jawans of the 70 Field Company and the 18 Rajput to the open fire causing heavy fatalities at our side.
Two brave officers – Capt. Dagar of 2 Grenadiers and Major Harbhajan Singh of 18 Rajput reassembled a few troops and tried to assault the Chinese MMG but both died a gallant death. Within 10 minutes, 70 dead Indian soldiers and many other wounded were laying in the open on the pass.
Retaliating, the Indian army asked for the artillery fire and created havoc in the Chinese camp, estimating 400 casualties.
Then, the two sides seemed unstoppable, with China getting a lesson each day. Three days later, the Chinese agreed to ceasefire. 15 days later on October 1, similar incident happened at Cho-La, a few kilometres north of Nathu-La. Despite initial casualties, the 7/11 GR and the 10 JAK RIF stood firm and forced the Chinese to withdraw nearly three kilometres away to Kam-Barracks where they are installed till date. And this is how the Chinese retreated from Sikkim.
No wonder, Sino-Indian border has remained peaceful ever since to the level that today Chinese soldiers come and ask their Indian counterparts at Nathu La for cigarettes, rum and tea; mail is exchanged twice in a week in a hut constructed specially for this purpose and border personnel meeting takes place twice a year.