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Indian Prime Minister Requests Urgent Military Assistance from U.S.

Oct. 29, 1962 - Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (pictured with President Kennedy last year) made an urgent request to the U.S. today for military assistance against the Chinese Communists. He received an immediate pledge that weapons would be rushed to India. U.S. air transports loaded with guns and ammunition are expected to arrive by the end of this week. They will open a vital supply line to India in a time of crisis and begin a historic new chapter in relations between the countries. This was the first time in India’s 15 troubled years of independence that she had made a direct appeal for military help. New Delhi had always feared that such an appeal might compromise her policy of nonalignment. Mr. Nehru is not expected to abandon his policy of refusing alliance with blocs of the East or West. But the fact that in her hour of danger from Communist China, India looked westward for help and received it might turn out to be a political turning point for India. The fighting that began Oct. 20 has cost India 2,000 to 2,500 dead and missing and the loss of important posts and strategic passes.

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