Claude Arpi’s demand to release the Henderson Brooks report is akin to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden seeking asylum in India. Understandably, Wikileaks disclosures of black money stashed abroad by Indians had sent many personalities scurrying for cover. There was flurry of movement to foreign lands, personal jets, and chartered planes, jets lent by birds of same flock, unexplained mysterious absences and what have you. Now that there is some measure of relief, Julian Assange wants asylum here. Where is the guarantee that he will not release another list disclosing how the black money has been siphoned out, to which new destinations, how much has been surreptitiously routed back to India, by whom, and into which developmental, private construction or other projects. Edward Snowden is even bigger threat. That he is already in league with Julian is an established fact, implying Julian can always leak information through Edward. But the bigger threat is what information Edward has swiped from the US NSA’s Prism. Although our Foreign Minister has certified “no data has been stolen” from the Indian Embassy in Washington DC, his own subordinates are not convinced of his credentials as cyber expert. So getting back to Edward Snowden, God knows what secrets this guy may leak out given that even Obama appears so shaken up.
When did the Government of India start seeking military advice on strategic security issues? As to Claude pointing out that the report only generally points out to lack of political direction, which report in India ever has indicted individuals in power?
Claude has quoted Neville Maxwell in questioning that even if Jawaharlal Nehru emerges in in bad light in the Henderson Brooks Report, why should it be kept in wraps in a modern democracy like India. He also writes that in 2008, Defense Minister, Mr AK Antony told the Indian Parliament that the Henderson Brooks could not be declassified. Mr Antony claimed that the report could not be made public because an internal study by the Indian Army had established that its contents “are not only extremely sensitive but are of current operational value.” When did the Government of India start seeking military advice on strategic security issues? As to Claude pointing out that the report only generally points out to lack of political direction, which report in India ever has indicted individuals in power?
Claude Arpi has quoted the Henderson Brooks Report in saying, “No major security threat other than from Pakistan was perceived. And the armed forces were regarded adequate to meet Pakistan’s threat. Hence very little effort and resources were put in for immediate strengthening of the security of the borders.” What stands obfuscated was this was ‘whose appreciation’; political appreciation, military appreciation, individual appreciation? Perhaps there could have been no one better to warn Nehru of China’s intentions and in no better form than Sardar Patel’s strategic advice through his letter dated 7th November 1950, excerpts of which are as follows:
“…We have to consider what new situation now faces us as a result of the disappearance of Tibet, as we knew it, and the expansion of China almost up to our gates. Throughout history we have seldom been worried about our north-east frontier. The Himalayas have been regarded as an impenetrable barrier against any threat from the north. We had a friendly Tibet which gave us no trouble. …..Chinese irredentism and communist imperialism are different from the expansionism or imperialism of the western powers. The former has a cloak of ideology which makes it ten times more dangerous. In the guise of ideological expansion lie concealed racial, national or historical claims. The danger from the north and north-east, therefore, becomes both communist and imperialist…….for the first time, after centuries, India’s defence has to concentrate itself on two fronts simultaneously….. we shall now have to reckon with communist China in the north and in the north-east, a communist China which has definite ambitions and aims and which does not, in any way, seem friendly disposed towards us…….”
Krishna Menon attended a war game conducted by the military in Lucknow in 1961 that assessed how the Chinese would attack, which was exactly the way it happened in 1962, but Krishna Menon rubbished it totally.
But, what was the military appreciation about the Chinese threat? It is well known that both Nehru and Krishna Menon remained convinced China would not attack us. Krishna Menon attended a war game conducted by the military in Lucknow in 1961 that assessed how the Chinese would attack, which was exactly the way it happened in 1962, but Krishna Menon rubbished it totally. More significantly, in 1962 (the very year of the Sino-Indian War), Krishna Menon addressed the National Defence College in Delhi and when queried about the possibility of China attacking India, shouted at the audience to shut up saying if such was the thinking of the students, then the NDC should be shut down. This incidentally, is available on audiotape.
The 1954 Panchsheel Agreement with China gave Nehru visions of everlasting peace. UNSC seat offered to India was magnanimously given away to China. Demonstrators urged Nehru to take a firm stand towards Chinese violations of the Indian border during Zhou-en-Lai’s visit to India in 1960 but Zhou-en-Lai cunningly sang peace lullabies that were lapped up by Nehru. Krishna Menon had the distinction of orchestrating the first defence deals scandal in independent India by making money through manipulating prices of jeeps being imported for the army while Nehru made the first move, in what in today’s parlance is termed as fiddling with the institutional integrity of the military, by appointing his blue eyed General , BM Kaul (an Army Supply Corps officer) to head the Corps facing the Chinese battlefront.
Historians agree that Zhou-en-Lai’s guile completely outwitted Nehru. Nehru’s neglect of military, utopian belief that China and India could live peacefully with open borders and not recognizing that economic growth and national security is symbiotic, ignored Pant’s advice. Military preparedness continued to be wholly neglected. Nehru continued to support China’s control over Tibet (an autonomous region) without reciprocal commitment from China regarding status of the Sino-India boundary. AG Noorani in his recent book ‘Two Sides of Nehru’ says that it was Nehru who “shut the door to negotiations on the (India-China) boundary on 1st July 1954″ and his refusal to negotiate plus the 1960 rebuff to Chou-en-Lai…. may well have sowed the seeds of the 1962 India-China war.
We fought a superior enemy in 1962 not because of the size of China but because we lacked strategic forethought, were unable to read the enemy, had poor political and military leadership, latter more because of the inexperienced BM Kaul thrust by Nehru as the Corps Commander.
What happened in 1962 is well known including Nehru’s missive to throw the Chinese out of Thagla Ridge. We fought a superior enemy in 1962 not because of the size of China but because we lacked strategic forethought, were unable to read the enemy, had poor political and military leadership, latter more because of the inexperienced BM Kaul thrust by Nehru as the Corps Commander. To say that the army was poorly armed, equipped and trained would be an understatement, for Nehru believed he only needed police forces along the border with China. That the army had to fight in canvas shoes, sans winter clothing at those heights and meager amount of ammunition, should have put the hierarchy to shame. But political loyalty surpasses all other considerations in India. So we have in Delhi a prominent road named Krishna Menon Marg with a bust of him, garlanded every year on his birthday though India feels no need for a war memorial.