India lost the 1962 war with China as it was not prepared for such an eventuality and armed forces were neither ready nor equipped for it, former Army Chief General V K Singh said on Monday.
Talking to reporters, he said necessary lessons have been learnt from that 'mistake' and preparations have been made to engage China economically.
"We lost the 1962 war because the nation was not prepared mentally and physically for such a thing. We had some other belief politically. Neither troops were readied for this, nor they had equipment. We paid for that mistake," Singh said.
On lessons learnt from the debacle, he said, "I think we should never commit the same mistake again of trusting someone to that extent. We have learnt from that mistake. After that preparations were made. It may happen that there are loopholes in that preparations but that needs to be sorted out."
Earlier addressing the gathering, he said China may create an issue out of the unsettled border disputes with India.
"The problem in coping up with China is that we are the only nation with which its borders have not been settled and therefore if there is a leeway available, whenever it wants, it can create an issue on the border with us," he said.
According to Singh, the best way to tackle China is to engage it economically, which will also ensure greater dividend for India. He also underlined the growing economic and military capability of China to be kept in mind to deal with any eventuality.
"China has done tremendous amount of progress in all fields, its economy is booming despite speculation that there might be an implosion. No implosion has been seen, in fact it seems to be galloping. Militarily it has channelised enough funds which the economy has given it to make it worthwhile," Singh said.
"China has embarked on transforming its military to cater for a modern war. It has done great amount of infrastructure development," he said.
He also spoke on pending issues with neighbouring countries which have impacted India's relations all these years.
He underlined the need to improve relations with Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Singh termed the Afghanistan-Pakistan region as the 'epicenter of global terrorism'.
He also emphasised on securing the country's coastline and building a credible force in the national maritime zone. Delivering a lecture on issues of national security, he also flagged Left wing extremism and corruption as issues to be taken care of.
Singh also referred to the Vohra Committee report on internal security which he claimed had mentioned a nexus between criminals and politics.Gen Singh refused comment on his future plans to join anti-corruption movement or become part of any government body.