The aftermath of the war saw sweeping changes in the Indian military to prepare it for similar conflicts in the future. There was immense pressure on the Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who was seen responsible for failing to anticipate the Chinese attack on India. Indians reacted with a surge in patriotism and memorials were erected for many of the Indian troops who died in the war.

The main lesson India learned from the war was the need to strengthen its own defences and a shift from Nehru's foreign policy with China based on his stated concept of brotherhood. Because of India's failure to anticipate Chinese aggression, Prime Minister Nehru faced harsh criticism from government officials, for having promoted pacifist relations with China. President Radhakrishnan said that Nehru's government was crude and negligent about preparations.

Indians in general became highly sceptical of China and its military. Many Indians view the war as a betrayal of India's attempts at establishing a long-standing peace with China and started to question Nehru's usage of the term "Hindi-Chini bhai-bhai". The war also put an end to Nehru's earlier hopes that India and China would form a strong Asian Axis to counteract the increasing influence of the Cold War bloc superpowers.

The unpreparedness of the army was blamed on Defence Minister Menon, who resigned his government post to allow for someone who might modernise India's military further. India's policy of weaponisation via indigenous sources and self-sufficiency was cemented.

Sensing a weakened army, Pakistan, a close ally of China, began a policy of provocation against India by infiltrating Jammu and Kashmir and ultimately triggering the Second Kashmir War with India in 1965 and Indo-Pakistani war of 1971. Attack of 1965 was successfully stopped and ceasefire was negotiated under international pressure. In Indo-Pakistani war of 1971 India won a clear victory, resulting in liberation of Bangladesh.

The war of 1962 and the martyrdom of numerous jawans, led India to prepare itself to become a military superpower in the years to come.