Indian to collect and cremate dead bodies of their soldiers from China: Indo-sino war Docs-1962

DATE: AUGUST 13, 1963

MEMORANDUM FROM THE CHINESE MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Memorandum

The Chinese Red Cross Society received a telegram from the Indian Red Cross asking for permission to send parties to certain places within the 20-kilometre zone vacated by the Chinese frontier guards on the Chinese side of the 1959 Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of the Sino-Indian border, for the purpose of collecting bodies of Indian military personnel there. In its reply, the Chinese Red Cross Society stated that the bodies of Indian military personnel had been properly buried. Then the Indian Red Cross sent in another telegram saying that it was the general custom in India to cremate the dead; therefore, it was hoped that proper arrangements would be made for the cremation of the bodies of the Indian military personnel. To meet the request of the Indian Red Cross, the Chinese Red Cross Society, having contacted the local Chinese authorities concerned, has now decided to send its personnel to certain places within the 20-kilometre zone vacated by the Chinese frontier guards on the Chinese side of the 1959 Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of the Sino-Indian border to collect the bodies of the Indian military personnel and carry out the cremation.

The personnel of the Chinese Red Cross Society will enter the following areas: the Chip Chap River Valley area, the area west of the Karakash River, the Gelwan River Valley area, the area northwest of Nyagzu, the areas of the Pangong and Spanggur Lakes and parts of the Demchol area (east of the 1959 Line of Actual Control, including the Jara pass).

The personnel of the Chinese Red Cross Society will start entering the above areas in batches on August 15, 1963 and will accomplish the task of collecting and cremating the bodies around August 30, 1963

.The Chinese Red Cross Society will hand over the ashes and bodies to the Indian Red Cross after the collection and cremation are completed. The time and place of the handing over will be arranged later on.

The personnel of the Chinese Red Cross Society will carry Red Cross banners and wear the Red Cross arm insignia.

In order to ensure the safety of the personnel of the Chinese Red Cross Society and facilitate the work of collecting and cremating the bodies, the Chinese Government has decided to dispatch a small number of civil policemen to accompany the different batches of Chinese Red Cross personnel into the above-mentioned areas and to leave the areas together with them upon completion of the task.

The aforesaid activities, which are exclusively a matter within China’s sovereignty and will be conducted entirely on the Chinese side of the 1959 Line of Actual Control, do not affect the Chinese Government’s stipulations in regard to its measures such as withdrawal by the Chinese frontier guards and non-establishment of civil check-posts in the areas where there is a dispute about the ceasefire arrangements. However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry wishes to inform the Embassy of the aforesaid matter and arrangements and requests the Embassy to report them to the Indian government as soon as possible. The Chinese Government hopes that the Indian government will instruct in time the Indian authorities concerned not to take any action detrimental to the collection and cremation of the bodies of Indian military personnel by the personnel of the Chinese Red Cross Society.

13 August 1963


SOURCE: Chinese Foreign Ministry Archives (PRC FMA)

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