Millennium Post

‘1962 Sino-Indian border war debacle result of army hierarchy’s command failure’

‘1962 Sino-Indian border war debacle result of army hierarchy’s command failure’
At least, two former senior officers of the Indian army, who have held tactical, operational and strategic positions in the service sees the debacle of the 1962 Sino-Indian border war as a result of a ‘command failure’ of the army hierarchy. Then chief of army staff, General PN Thapar and then chief of general staff (the position has since been abolished) and later made IV Corps commander during the war, Lt Gen BM Kaul were universally found to be guilty. But then this was also not new.

In unison, they talked about the fact that while the defence preparedness of the Indian troops was abysmal at that point, as retired major general, Afsir Karim, pointed out the 4th Infantry Division which got wiped out in the war was actually 'building troop quarters in Ambala, before they were inducted in the area.'

Retired brigadier Arun Sahgal sees no change in the disposition of the Army Headquarters even in the present, in terms of its insipid behaviour when confronting the diktats of the political establishment. He said: 'There was no infrastructure like roads in any of the theatres of the war. They still remain greenfield alignments. The political decisions (of Jawaharlal Nehru and VK Krishna Menon) were unimplementable.'

Returning to the publication of the report just before the general elections in the country, Karim saw this as 'politically motivated.' Sahgal, in turn, also views this as a vindication for Maxwell who was much vilified by the minuscule strategic community and the rising political class. Not many know now, that the country’s premier strategic affairs think tank, IDSA was created in 1963, ostensibly to fill the voids in the strategic understanding of the political leadership. Its first director and the eminence grise of the Indian strategic community, the late K Subramanyam, had written in a review of Maxwell’s book in 1970, that he had approached the subject with a pre-disposition and often, erroneous judgment.

That, possibly, still holds true. Because when the Report was leaked to Maxwell soon after the war for writing his book, the idea was possibly to discredit the leadership of the country – both political and military. Even now, the octogenarian Maxwell wishes to influence negatively the politics of the country in his act of making the report public.

‘Why remaining parts of Henderson Brook’s report on 1962 war not made public’

New Delhi:
A day after an Australian journalist made public portions of the classified Henderson Brook’s report on the 1962 Sino-India war, BJP on Wednesday wondered if its remaining parts have not been been made public because its content could have been embarassing for Jawaharlal Nehru government.

‘What has been made public is Part-I of the report? It has been reported in the media that pages 112 to 167 are still not known. Is it because these pages contain some material which can be embarrassing to those in power in 1962?,’ said Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley.

The Defence Ministry had on Tuesday refrained from commenting on the report, which continues to be officially classified, after it was uploaded on his website by journalist Neville Maxwell.
Pinaki Bhattacharya

Pinaki Bhattacharya

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