Underwriting your Airsoft team’s first ever Sino-Indian War military simulation games is a lot easier now than you might think. The question now is wether to chose the historically accurate 1962 version or Gene Roddenberry’s?
By: Vanessa Uy
Given the increasing plethora – not to mention affordability - of Airsoft gaming props like Battle Dress Uniforms (BDU s) and accessories like body armor modeled after the one’s used by the US Army in their operations in Iraq. Especially ones colored for camouflage in an urban battlefield has become quite similar to those used in Gene Roddenberry's “apocryphal” escalation of the Sino-Indian War or S-I War on his Earth: Final Conflict TV series. Now makes underwriting your Airsoft team’s own S-I War military simulation games much easier now compared to 10 years ago. But first let’s examine the options on which version of the S-I War we’ll be re-creating since technically there’s already three of them. There’s the historically accurate one that’s documented on that famous Indian patriotic film titled “Haqeeqat”. Then there’s Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek version where the genetically enhanced revolutionary named Khan Sing avenges “Nehru’s Shame” – i.e. the 1962 Sino-Indian War. And the third is Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict version of the S-I War. Where the United States was dragged into a renewed Sino-Indian War of the early 21st Century before the benevolent Taelons race arrival from space. But since the real historical version is somewhat less familiar to the wider world compared to Gene Roddenberry’s “literary embellished” version, I’ll only explain the historically accurate version of the Sino-Indian for the benefit of the uninitiated.
According to “official” historical records, the Sino-Indian War – also known as the Sino-Indian Border Conflict – was a war between the People’s Republic of China and India that started in October 10, 1962 and ended in November 21, 1962. The initial cause of the war was a disputed region of the Himalayan border in Arunachal Pradesh, known in China as South Tibet. The relatively minor inter-border skirmishes didn’t reach into a full-scale war until October 20, 1962 between the People’s Liberation Army and the Military of India.
The first heavy engagement of the war was started by a Chinese attack on an Indian patrol north of the McMahon Line. The fighting eventually spread to the region of Aksai Chin in which the PRC ’s party functionaries at that time regarded as a strategic link that’s navigable via the China National Highway route G219, between Chinese-administered territories of Tibet and the ethnic-Muslim populated province of Xinjiang.
The war ended when the Chinese captured both disputed areas and unilaterally decided a cease-fire on November 20, 1962, which went into effect at midnight. The Sino-Indian War was notable for the harsh conditions, under which much of the fighting took place, entailing large-scale combat altitudes of over 4,267 meters (14,000 feet). This presented numerous logistical problems for both sides.
The aftermath of the war saw sweeping changes in the Indian Military to prepare it for similar conflicts in the future, and placed undue political pressure on India’s then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was seen as responsible for failing to anticipate the Chinese Invasion. The battlefront was located at North - East Frontier Agency and Aksi Chin. Even though the Chinese won, this resulted in the subsequently withdrawal to pre-war positions. Those who died during the Sino-Indian War include 1,460 Chinese troops compared to the 3,128 Indian soldiers that were killed. On the Chinese side, only 569 of their PLA troops were wounded compared to 1,697 Indian soldiers. Troops captured by the Chinese included 3,123 Indian soldiers, while India captured none of their Chinese adversaries. For all intents and purposes, the Sino-Indian war is a one-sided war favoring China. Yet many in the West saw it as a police action launched by Chairman Mao against His Holiness, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet and the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharmsala, India. Thus making Tibet’s spiritual leader, one of the world’s best loved “resistance fighter” albeit in a pacifist way.
While Haqeeqat, the famous Indian patriotic film about the 1962 Sino-Indian War, typifies the Indian Military’s resolve of not giving up their cause of maintaining India’s sovereignty against overwhelming odds by choosing to die in battle instead of surrendering their territory to China. The main plot of Haqeeqat centers on a small platoon of Indian soldiers in the hilly terrain of Ladakh. The soldiers were considered dead when they failed to contact their Combat Information Center to update their present status. They were rescued eventually by the local Ladakhi tribesmen and by Captain Bahadur Singh (played by the Indian actor Dharmendra). The small platoon are then asked to retreat from their post (chowky) as an overwhelming hordes of Chinese troops have already surrounded them. Captain Bahadur Singh and his girlfriend Almo (played by Indian actress Priya Rajvansh) both died in a firefight to hold the advancing Chinese troops at bay so that their fellow comrades can fall back to safety. Despite their heroic efforts, the retreating platoon of Indian soldiers are eventually caught between a rock and a hard place situation and instead resorted to fighting the advancing Chinese PLA troops. Eventually giving up their lives for their country.
Despite becoming India’s de facto patriotic film, to me, Haqeeqat has subtle Left-leaning views. Especially the part when Captain Singh’s girlfriend Almo willingly chose to die in defense for her country was included in this movie and was not cut-out by Indias board of film censors at the time. This despite of India being a staunchly patriarchal society – even till this day. Was Mahatma Gandhi’s message of “equality” still fresh in 1962 period India? But anyway, you should make effort to at least try to see Haqeeqat since DVD s of it are already advertised all over the Internet. The movie is really that good. I just hope that Hollywood will do a remake of this that’s as good as the 1965 Indian version.
While ad hoc props for an Airsoft military simulation game based on Gene Roddenberry’s somewhat futuristic version of the Sino-Indian War are widely available in just about any Airsoft shops around the world. Those infantry weapons / small arms props used in the historically real 1962 Sino-Indian War movie Haqeeqat is somewhat hard to obtain. Airsoft versions of the infantry weapons / small arms that were probably used during the 1962 Sino-Indian War like the BREN light machine gun, various WWII-era British sub machineguns, Lee Enfield SMLE s, and the M-3 Grease Gun are few and far between in our place. Though old style Kalashnikovs (AK-47 s) are a dime-a-dozen, FN FAL s with wooden inlays the type that are just fielded during the end of the 1950’s are virtually impossible to find. Plus, most of the Airsoft enthusiasts in our area are ethnic Chinese while only a few pass- muster as Indian troops. And even those that somewhat do look more like Singhalese IT billionaires than Indian soldiers. Especially when wearing an Indian military Dafadar’s uniform. Though hard to undertake, Airsoft military simulation games based on the real 1962 Sino-Indian War are very interesting though rare undertakings nonetheless.