Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ShauryaT » 01 Apr 2014 03:20

Neville Maxwell interview: the full transcript
Neville Maxwell interview: the full transcript

In his first interview after a Snowden-style disclosure of the contentious secret report on the 1962 China-India war, Neville Maxwell tells Debasish Roy Chowdhury of the South China Morning Post what the 50-year-old document means for the future of China-India relations.

Post: The Henderson Brooks-Bhagat Report (HBBR) was filed in 1963. You, it appears, gained access to it soon after. What took you so long to come out with it?

NM: I had been trying for years to get the report on to the public record. In 2012, I’d made the text available to several newspapers in India.

Post: What reasons did they give you for not carrying it?

NM: Well, they agreed it should be made public, but they thought that had to be done by the government. If the press did it, the result, they said, would be a fierce row, accusations of betrayal of national interest, fierce attacks on the journals who had leaked. In short, nothing good, a lot bad.

So it had begun to look as if the report might never be published, and I thought that would be dreadful, wasting all the efforts of the authors, denying historians access to a crucial aspect of that unnecessary but hugely consequential border war - so I decided to do it myself.

I must apologise, by the way, for the clumsy way in which it was done. The blog collapsed under its own weight soon after it was launched, not because of government censorship, as was thought in India. I saw reports in India on speculation that the government was blocking the site.

Post: Why have you disclosed only a chunk of Volume I of the report? Where’s the rest?

NM: I uploaded what I had. I never saw Volume Two. I understand it is mainly memos, written statements and other documents on which the authors based the report.

Post: What do you hope to achieve with this disclosure?

NM: I hope to achieve what I have been trying to do for nearly 50 years! To rid Indian opinion of the induced delusion that in 1962 India was the victim of an unprovoked surprise Chinese aggression, to make people in India see that the truth was that it was mistakes by the Indian government, specifically Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, that forced the war on China.

My putting the report online now deprives the government of India the excuse they’ve used to keep it secret, the false claim that it was to preserve national security. It’s clear to anyone who reads the report that it has no current military or strategic significance. So there is no good reason for the government to persist in refusing to declassify the whole report, including Volume Two, which I never saw.

Post: That’s not how Indians see it.

NM: Start with seeing that India inherited a border dispute with China, it was congenital to independent India. The British created it in the mid-1930s when they decided that for strategic reasons they should push their north-eastern frontier out some 60 miles. They knew China would not agree to that, because they’d failed to persuade Beijing to give them that belt of territory by diplomatic pressure in the Simla Conference in 1914, and so beginning about 1936 they just took it, by force.

China was too weak to put up any military resistance but it was late in the day for the Empire to get away with that sort of action. The British parliament wouldn’t stand for it. So they falsified the record of the Simla conference by withdrawing and pulping a volume of the series recording India’s treaties and replacing it with a forged version that indicated that at Simla in 1914, China had accepted the new border alignment that they now called the McMahon Line, after the man who had in fact failed to get that agreement at Simla!


Post: Why would independent India follow Britain’s line?

NM: It was a Faustian offer: “You keep quiet about what we did, and you get to keep the McMahon frontier: baulk, expose our trickery, give up the McMahon frontier territory, and what would your public and opposition think about it, Mr Nehru?”

Post: Why do you hate Nehru so much? Didn’t you start off as an admirer?

NM: “Hate” is too strong a word. I have only criticised his border policy. I knew Nehru well and liked him immensely, he was a man of great charm. I was twice the head of the foreign correspondents association, and that brought me into personal contact with him, and as the Times man, I could sometimes get in to talk to him.

That access and friendliness shows, to my shame, in my reporting of the dispute with China as that developed – throughout I took the Indian side, never seeing what should have been obvious, that China was not aggressive but was consistently trying for a settlement on mutually beneficial terms.

I became a marked man in Beijing, they said the Times correspondent must be either stupid or hired. I wasn’t either, but I was blinded by ideology…liberal anti-communism. You’ll see the same affecting many journalists today, as American policy continues the Cold War.

Post: Ever wondered why Nehru, a known China ally, took such a strong line?

NM: On that, I have come to some answers, guided by scholars like David Hoffman and Perry Anderson. Their reading is that the Indian leaders felt insulted by Zhou Enlai’s insistence on negotiations as they felt it impugned India’s character as an ancient nation with defined boundaries.

Post: Ok, back to HBBR. What’s the significance of this 50-year-old report today?

NM: It proves that all that talk about China’s “unprovoked aggression” is utterly false, the truth is that India was the aggressor in 1962. But of course it’s not spelled out in those terms, the political conclusion is buried in dense military jargon, written by soldiers for soldiers, the report is hard reading for unversed civilians.

But nevertheless, the story emerges. From its very beginning as an independent state India, which is to say Nehru in this context, took the view that the alignments of India’s borders was a matter for India alone to decide, unilaterally, privately and definitively.

Without for a moment considering that good sense and good international manners pointed to the need to bring Beijing in to discuss their common border, Nehru and his close advisers selected the alignment themselves and put out new maps showing them as full, formal, final international boundaries … and including an area beyond what Britain had ever claimed, the Aksai Chin.

Post: Your book India’s China War, whose account of the Indian Army’s collapse, was obviously based largely on the HBBR, challenged the entrenched “aggressive China” notion. The book came out in 1970, Richard Nixon visited China in 1972 – how much do you think your book influenced Western thinking on China?

NM: A great deal, and indeed Nixon personally! Kissinger read the book, in 1971 I suppose, when it came out in America and it changed his thinking on China, and he pressed the book on Nixon – all that’s on the record now, in the transcripts of Nixon-Kissinger-Mao talks. While Kissinger was in Beijing, Zhou Enlai sent me a personal message to tell me that Kissinger had said to him, “Reading that book showed me I could do business with you people.”

You have to remember, the belief that China had suddenly attacked an innocent India had really blackened the international view of the PRC, so my revelation that it was a frame-up came like a flash of light everywhere. At a banquet in Beijing, Zhou publicly told me: “Your book did a service to truth which benefited China.”

Post: Your book, India’s China War, didn’t go down very well in India when it first came out in 1970. What’s been the reaction like this time?

NM: I always saw the danger that if I published the report, there would be another outbursts of animosity against me but in fact there’s only been one such - and oddly enough from an old friend :?: . Otherwise, there’s been concentration on the content and implications of the report.

Post: Any charges laid on you yet? After all, you are messing with one of India’s top national secrets.

NM: Not that I know of, this time. The Indian government had laid charges against me, breach of Official Secrets Act, soon after India’s China War came out. I was asked by the British government to keep out of India to avoid request [for arrest] - and for eight years I did so! Until at last Morarji Desai as prime minister annulled the charges, enabling me to return.

Post: Now that India and China seem to be talking again, do you see the border problem as ever being solved?

NM: Yes, I certainly do, and my hopes are rising. I noted with great relief that the magic phrase, the hey presto or abracadabra, “package deal” has recently emerged as jointly used in the official correspondence.

That points to the only, but simple and obvious, solution to the dispute: India recognises that since there is no legal foundation for the McMahon Line, it must be submitted to re-negotiation – but knows that China will accept the basic McMahon alignment. And China is glad to negotiate the western sector, knowing that in those negotiations India will retreat from its absurd, ahistorical claim to ownership of Aksai Chin. The negotiations will have to be lengthy, but both parties will know from the outset that at their conclusion lies the precious, buried treasure of the Sino-Indian friendship which Nehru once sought.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby svinayak » 01 Apr 2014 03:33

This guy is a fake

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby wig » 01 Apr 2014 10:31

Gen Malik, V P (Retd) has written on the 1962 war and India’s China policy. he critiques Henderson Brooks' review as being confined to operational tasking

IN analysing any armed conflict, two aspects have great importance. Why did it happen, or what were the geo-political and strategic circumstances which led to the conflict? And, how was it fought on the ground? The Henderson Brooks' Operational Review (HB Review) of the 1962 India-China war, long overdue for de-classification and academic study, deals with the latter part. It was tasked only to look at training, equipment, system of command, physical fitness of the troops and capacity of the military commanders at all levels to influence the men under their command. For inexplicable reasons, General Chaudhury, who took over as Army Chief on November 19, 1962, advised the authors not to review the functioning of Army Headquarters (AHQ). As a result, the role of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), its relationship with the AHQ and the directions given to it by the former were not examined. The HB Review and its lessons thus deal only with operational tasking, logistics, staff duties and military leadership issues at the operational and tactical levels.

Since the Review was ordered by the Army Chief, follow-up action to correct shortcomings in the Army was prompt. I recall that several exercises e.g. Exercise Ram Ban and Ram Chakor were conducted in 1963 to learn more about mountain warfare and make necessary organisational changes. These resulted in the creation of mountain divisions, modification of infantry battalions and many other units for their role in the mountains. A better prepared Army for mountain warfare performed well in Kargil in the 1965 Indo-Pak war and in the India-China skirmish at Natula in 1967.

It is also important to note that since 1962, due to technological upgrade of military weapons and equipment, our military strategy, doctrines, command and control system and tactics have undergone substantial changes. This Review, therefore, has little relevance today except for military leadership issues, perennial deficiencies and in some cases antiquity of authorised weapons and equipment.

That brings me to the first, more important geo-political and strategic aspect because military preparedness, operational planning and tactics must flow from policy and grand strategy. Have we learnt lessons from that part of this disastrous war?

The armed conflict resulted from a chain of strategic events which started in 1950 when the Chinese PLA, after defeating Khampas in the battle of Chamdo, occupied Tibet. Within a month, on November 7, Sardar Patel wrote a detailed letter to Nehru giving the geo-strategic and security implications of the event and his cautionary advice on this issue. Nehru ignored it. He had a mindset on China. Patel's advice was not discussed in the Cabinet. It was confined to a vault for the next 18 years. Instead, our government assisted the PLA in routing its logistical requirement through Calcutta Port and Kalimpong.

The India-China cartographic tussle started soon thereafter. It had to because India's northern boundary on British era maps in many parts had been left blank with markings 'areas not surveyed'. Nehru was friendly with China but quite firm and was not prepared to yield any territory. As this was causing a problem in diplomatic negotiations and perception, he took the decision to delineate Indian maps with the McMahon Line in the Northeast, the India-Tibet boundary in the Central sector and a history-based line in the Northwest, which included Aksai Chin.

Military advice or the need to increase Army strength to establish check posts along the 4,056-km border was neither sought nor considered necessary.

Subsequent events of Chinese road construction across Aksai Chin (1951-57), patrol clashes and assaults on check posts in Ladakh and Northeast, and the Dalai Lama's surreptitious escape into India are well known. Despite the deepening of distrust between India and China, failing diplomacy over the boundary issue and increased tension on the border, the government kept reducing the strength of the Army and starving it of weapons and equipment.

When Shrinagesh took over as Chief in May 1957, the strength of the Army was about 4, 50,000. The government wanted to bring it to 1,50,000 reducing 10,000 men a year. Shrinagesh, in his diary noted later:

“Leaders of free India were busy impressing upon the world that we were a peace-loving nation, with people wedded to the ideology of Ahimsa, and steeped in the belief that peaceful attitude was a sufficient safeguard against any thought of aggression…….

“To me this kind of thinking seemed manifestly short-sighted. Dr Katju's (then Defence Minister) and my arguments on Pakistan seemed to make some headway with Panditji. He agreed that Pakistan was making military alliances, had been contemplating rearming with modern weapons, and had by no means forgotten Kashmir. But when it came to China, it drew a firm "No" because the Chinese were our trusted friends; and we (army commanders) were foolish, hot headed, and needlessly belligerent….we came away with the agreement to a 3,00,000 force, less than what we had contemplated, but still a force and a military one - not a labour corps!”

The civil-military alienation under Krishna Menon, Thimaya's retracted resignation, Kaul's political patronage and climb and the resultant dissension amongst senior military officers are too well known. Under these circumstances, Nehru approved the strategically disastrous 'forward policy' advocated by an unprofessional coterie (Menon, BN Mullick, BN Kaul, MJ Desai). This political policy direction led to military movements without concern for communications and logistic reach, or eyeball to eyeball confrontations. When the Chinese escalated the border skirmishes into a full-fledged war, our political leadership, the foreign and defence ministries and the intelligence organisation abdicated their responsibilities.

What stands out here is that we failed in our prolonged diplomatic dialogue and thoroughly neglected military preparedness. The Intelligence Chief was involved more in policy-making and less in intelligence collection and assessments. There was a total disconnect between the civilian and military leadership. There was gross political favouritism and interference in the military chain of command. This resulted in excessive influence and authority of some juniors and failure of some seniors to stand up firmly to the strategically flawed policies and measures.

The role played by the MoD to enable implementation of the policy and the Defence Secretary, who according to the Business Rules of the Government of India, is responsible for the defence of India, including preparation for defence by the armed forces, remains unanalysed.

As these strategic aspects and lessons are not covered in the HB Review, or in any other official document, India's higher defence control organisation thus remains oblivious to the strategic level mistakes of the 1962 war.

http://www.tribuneindia.com/2014/20140401/edit.htm#3


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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ShauryaT » 03 Apr 2014 00:23

When Shrinagesh took over as Chief in May 1957, the strength of the Army was about 4, 50,000. The government wanted to bring it to 1,50,000 reducing 10,000 men a year. Shrinagesh, in his diary noted later:

“Leaders of free India were busy impressing upon the world that we were a peace-loving nation, with people wedded to the ideology of Ahimsa, and steeped in the belief that peaceful attitude was a sufficient safeguard against any thought of aggression…….

“To me this kind of thinking seemed manifestly short-sighted. Dr Katju's (then Defence Minister) and my arguments on Pakistan seemed to make some headway with Panditji. He agreed that Pakistan was making military alliances, had been contemplating rearming with modern weapons, and had by no means forgotten Kashmir. But when it came to China, it drew a firm "No" because the Chinese were our trusted friends; and we (army commanders) were foolish, hot headed, and needlessly belligerent….we came away with the agreement to a 3,00,000 force, less than what we had contemplated, but still a force and a military one - not a labour corps!”
OK, that was 1957. But data shows that by 1961, we had 550,000 personnel, so what changed to go the other other way from the 1957 assessment?

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ShauryaT » 03 Apr 2014 01:10

Burying Open Secrets: India's 1962 War and the Henderson-Brooks Report

The political ostrich act
Apart from the ineffective blocking of Maxwell's blog, the Indian government refused to make an official statement, acknowledging the leak of the report. The National Security Advisor, when pressed by the media at an event, said it was "unnecessary to dignify the report with a response," since it was "not critical to current national security." On the other hand, the Ministry of Defence issued a short press statement calling the report "extremely sensitive" and claiming that its contents are of "current operational value." This was a reiteration of what the Defence Minister AK Antony told the parliament on April 19, 2010, to justify keeping the report secret. While the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has used the ammunition to blame the government for masking its leaders' mistakes, many Indians have also pointed out that, when in power from 1999 to 2004, the BJP-led coalition government did nothing to release the report.

To understand what "current operational value" translates to 50 years after the war, I asked a dozen military officers, some in service and others retired, to air their views anonymously. They unanimously agreed that the report had no real value in terms of "operational sensitivity" today, since 1962 paved the way for massive military restructuring in operations and strategy for the armed forces.

Second, they admit that the report brings out the acrimony in civil-military relations and the apathy of the Indian establishment in buffering up border infrastructure like roads, highways and communication lines as compared to the Chinese, observations that largely hold true now as well. An interesting point raised by a senior officer was that "even if the government finds some sensitive information, why not block it out like is the practice in the United States and the United Kingdom and release the rest of the document to the public?"

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ShauryaT » 03 Apr 2014 01:13

Ajai Shukla: Henderson Brooks - Too many questions

Why might Chaudhuri have steered Henderson Brooks clear of AHQ and, by extension, of orders passed by Defence Minister V K Krishna Menon and his defence ministry officials? We must fish for that answer in the swirling political-military cross-currents of that period, with army generals carefully disassociating themselves from the discredited General B M Kaul and those close to him - the so-called "Kaul boys". Kaul had leveraged his proximity to Nehru and Krishna Menon to bypass regular command channels (which were supine in any case) in establishing posts on disputed territory based on a political-intelligence assessment that the Chinese might bark but they would not bite. Chaudhuri knew that an inquiry that examined all the written orders, minutes of meetings in AHQ and defence ministry, and recorded personal statements from key protagonists might establish the damning truth - that there were no "good guys" in 1962. If political direction was deeply flawed, General Kaul's self-serving support for the political-intelligence assumption of Chinese docility led to national humiliation and left 3,250 soldiers dead. What better way for a new and ambitious chief to forge ties with the political leadership than to confine the inevitable inquiry to tactical issues?

In reflecting upon the possibility of a motivated cover-up, one must consider the personalities involved. Chaudhuri was an articulate, intelligent cavalry officer about whom contemporaries say; "He was held in high esteem, especially by himself". Chaudhuri and his wife were active socialites and would today be described as Page 3 people. Contemporaries recall their fondness for Balkan Sobranie cigarettes in stylish holders. Chaudhuri fancied himself one of the intellectual elite; in violation of norms, he wrote a column for a national daily, under a pseudonym, even as army chief. His professional acumen was not impressive; faced with a Pakistani advance in Khem Karan in 1965, he ordered a retreat that would have handed a large chunk of Punjab to Pakistan. Fortunately, Lieutenant General Harbaksh Singh, his subordinate commander, refused to retreat. This was the chief who whispered to Henderson Brooks not to wield the broom too vigorously.

Then there was Henderson Brooks himself, anglicised in accent, habits and outlook, a general who eventually migrated to Australia - Neville Maxwell's country. A competent, if plodding, officer, Henderson Brooks lacked the flair and assertiveness of contemporaries like Sam Manekshaw. In "outing" Chaudhuri's apparently confidential verbal directive to scale down his inquiry, Henderson Brooks must have surprised his chief.

There must also have been discomfiture over the HBR's criticism of the higher military and political leadership. It pointed out that Krishna Menon's orders not to keep records of his meetings absolved everyone of responsibility; termed "militarily unsound" the assessments of Nehru favourite, Intelligence Bureau chief B N Mullick; and expressed incredulity at tactical interference by Foreign Secretary M J Desai. Was the decision to expand their mandate taken by Henderson Brooks himself, or by his co-author, the iconic, Victoria Cross-winning Brigadier P S Bhagat?

Yet Henderson Brooks' ire was directed mainly at the army's failure. It is hard to argue with Srinath Raghavan who says, "...the army also bore an institutional responsibility - one that cannot be attributed merely to a few bad generals. The simple fact is that, from 1959 to 1962, the Indian army's professional capacities at all levels were put to the test - and found badly wanting."

Of course, this conclusion is incomplete and one-dimensional; the muzzled HBR is as critical of the political direction of that conflict. Ultimately, the HBR's even-handedness may have caused its suppression. With everyone - the politicians, the defence ministry, AHQ, General Kaul and the field command - heavily criticised, everyone has good reason to suppress the report.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 03 Apr 2014 01:28

One step GOI should take is find out and make public how Maxwell go this copy. After all supposedly thre are only two copies of the report.
But then Indian NSAs are really National Insecurity Enablers (NIE).

Chaudhari obviously didn't want a witch hunt which Shuklaji wants. Besides no point in enquiring about areas one can't fix. its not like enquiring minds want to know.
JNC's sphere of influence was the Army and hence HBR is confined to that. And the proof is in the eating. 1965 and 1971 Indian Army gave a very good account of itself and changed the Malsi force of history to blunt itself inside TSP..



Lets talk about Kargil Report. When tasked to look at how Kargil Gambit occured they went into all sorts of areas in order put on record the secret moves of GOI and made hazar recommendations. So extensive were the recommendations a Group of Ministers was tasked to enable them. The reforms are not yet implementd even 15 years after Kargil! So what would JNC have achieved by asking HBR to review everywhere?
By confining the review to areas the Army can bring about change they achieved the necessary changes.


As kid, I used to walk in front of Gen Srinagesh's house in Himayatnagar, Hyderaabd on way to school.


Adm Katare was a neighbor too!

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ShauryaT » 03 Apr 2014 05:07

ramana wrote:1965 and 1971 Indian Army gave a very good account of itself and changed the Malsi force of history to blunt itself inside TSP.
Also in 1967, they sent the message to the PLA too. All the more perplexing on how a reasonably staffed and equipped military mismanaged in 1962. Enquiry into communications between AHQ and Command, Intra AHQ deliberations and communications between AHQ and MoD would have put things in black and white. There are still lessons to be learnt. Like Gen Malik's angst above on Secretary Defense, being responsible for defense of India as per the rule book and the chiefs being under the hierarchy of this bureaucrat. Civil Military relationship has a lot to be desired and this is after committee after committee, including Arun Singh, KRC and the latest one the Naresh Chandra Committee's key recommendations, yet to be fulfilled. At the root of it is a rotten system, which elects rotten people and rewards rotten behavior that is in need of a serious change. The first BJP government was yet to find its feet and was afraid to undertake radical reforms, hope the next one does better but I have yet to see any agenda. Can only hope that some good people with a willingness to execute are put in place. Gearge Fernandes did not exactly leave a great footprint and no I am not referring to Coffin scandal and such stuff but the general pace of decision making was slow. We see this behavior not only in defense but across the board. It takes courage to go against institutional prejudice and institutional prejudice we have in spades in the great bureaucracy of the GoI.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 03 Apr 2014 05:14

Hold on hold on!.

Its Congress party fears of coups that have put the rotten system in place. The babus feed this fear along with chatterati in media like Shekar Dupatta.


lets not blame the kept in dark electorate.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ShauryaT » 16 Apr 2014 07:29

Life after Henderson Brooks - Arun Prakash
However, there are other lessons to be learnt from this episode, especially since not much seems to have changed in the half-century that has elapsed.

For example, an April 2013 issue of the Economist identified three impediments which, according to the magazine, had thwarted “India’s ambition of becoming a 21st century power”. These were: the absence of a strategic culture, the distrust between a civilian ministry of defence (MoD) and the armed forces, and a dysfunctional defence procurement system. This shrewd observation by a foreign journal is close to the mark and all three factors deserve attention.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby SanjayC » 16 Apr 2014 09:25

“Leaders of free India were busy impressing upon the world that we were a peace-loving nation, with people wedded to the ideology of Ahimsa, and steeped in the belief that peaceful attitude was a sufficient safeguard against any thought of aggression…….


Most of India's misfortunes are due to this khujli of Nehru to impress the whites that what a good and obedient boy he was. He never recovered from the trauma of spending childhood in boarding schools in England far away from home and without any emotional support, constantly heckled by white students. His father was stupid to not have let the boy mature and grow up before packing him off to a country so far away. Boys need to grow with their parents and sent away only for higher education. Motilal Nehru sent the boy away for primary education!! How could he be so heartless?

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby Leonard » 17 Apr 2014 02:22

A interesting comment posted in response to Ajay Shukla's Article ..

>>

Lt.Col.(Retd) JC JOSHI
Respected Sir, HBR is a document prepared excluding the thought process that was going on in Army HQs, MOD and the Government of India at that time. These three are the places where country’s FORWARD POLICY was being planned and discussed. Even notes/ minutes were not allowed to be taken. Winston Churchil, during World War-II, used to confirm his verbal instructions in writing with a note that the decision taken at the meeting was his and he alone was responsible for that. Surprisingly, Shri VKKrishna Menon, forgot to read that book by Sir Winston Churchil. Every one by now knows who is the guilty man. Our aim now is to regain our lost territories and safe return of Tibetan refugees to their home land. With that aim in view, following points are considered important. 1. THE AIM OF PEOPLES’ REPUBLIC OF CHINA(PRC) IN 1962:-The aim of Chinese occupation of Tibet and Indian territory was primarily to secure and take water from Himalyan rivers into arid land of China. Occupation of Tibet was necessary for PRC to launch a Himalayan campaign. No country however powerful it may be, can reach out to Himalayan rivers straight away from PRC, unless it establishes military bases near those heights, therefore occupation of Tibet was a military necessity for successful campaign by PLA . PRC was studying developments in Indian subcontinent on independence of India in 1947, where Pakistan launched a massive attack in J&K basically to capture Himalayan rivers. If Pakistan wanted to bring another Muslim state of India under its subjugation then Junagarh(Gujrat) was the nearest and easiest to capture, that was not the aim of Government of Pakistan . India’s meak or no response to Pakistani armed infiltrators through military action and taking the matter to UN was a proof of incompetency of then Indian leaders. To day Three Gorges Dam and diverted Water of Sutlaj River through tunnels, built on occupied territories to take water to Gobi deserts, where any number of dunes have been flattened to facilitate the move forward of water by PRC can be seen by any body in the world. Water of the Irrawady and its tributaries could not be taken to the Chinese mainland because of the gravitational pull of the earth won’t allow such a diversion towards north. So, Chinese reconciled with Mc Mohun line that existed at that time and enjoyed Burmese good will by not attacking them.. 2. TEAM NEHRU AND FORWARD POLICY:- Team Nehru was aware of the Chinese grand designs, therefore, brought in a luminary to head the Ministry of Defence in VK Krishna Menon from Kailash Nath Katju, who otherwise was defence minister for even less than two years having taken over in 1955 and was directed to handed over to Menon on 17 April 1957, who continued till 31 Oct 1962 to see his FORWARD POLICY collapsing by fielding his army against 1:10 superior enemy. Nehru and Menon thought that there is no need for them to consult military professionals, as they felt that knowledge acquired by them by reading books or interacting with various personalities, was adequate. General KSThimayya, the Chief Of the Army Staff (COAS) , from 08 May 1957,on wards, made seven unsuccessful attempts to request Menon to release funds for raising an army to cope up with FORWARD POLICY. Menon thought General Pran Nath Thaper will be able to deliver the results without funds, and appointed Thaper as COAS wef08May 1961 and relieved General KS Thimayya with Padma Bhusan. General Thaper could not stop HUMAN WAVE TACTICS of Chinese and submitted his resignation on 17 Nov 1962, to save Nehru and his political party otherwise that could have been the last date for Nehru and Congress Party as MPs were on their feet. Menon also resigned on 31 Oct 1962 ,paving the way for YB Chauvan to head the Ministry of Defence.But SAB KUCHH LUTAKE HOSH MEIN AYE TO KYA HUA. 3. STATUS OF A SERVICE CHIEF VIS-À-VIS IF IAS IS BETTER SUITED TO HEAD THE POSTS OF A SERVICE CHIEF, AND ABOVE IN INDIA:- Nothing much has changed since independence in the functioning of MOD. Treatment met to service chief(s), latest casualty being Admiral Joshi, gives us to understand that challenges faced by the country would be met in the best way if IAS to head the post of service chief and professionalism can be upto Command level under people in uniform. Members of the IAS are reputed for their formidability and a strong network of connections they build over time – both while in service and after retirement.Many of those who retire continue to enjoy powerful positions long after their official age of superannuation. They are truly a part of the country’s power elite. Thus, rare has been the occasion when members of the IAS have come under attack.Armed forces really need such connectivity and continuity with the government, which a service chief can not provide. 4.DEVELOPMENT REQUIRED:- (a) RESPONSIBILITY FOR BORDER AREA DEVELOPMENT:- In Canadian constitution, border area development is the direct respons
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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby brihaspati » 17 Apr 2014 04:30

SanjayC wrote:
“Leaders of free India were busy impressing upon the world that we were a peace-loving nation, with people wedded to the ideology of Ahimsa, and steeped in the belief that peaceful attitude was a sufficient safeguard against any thought of aggression…….


Most of India's misfortunes are due to this khujli of Nehru to impress the whites that what a good and obedient boy he was. He never recovered from the trauma of spending childhood in boarding schools in England far away from home and without any emotional support, constantly heckled by white students. His father was stupid to not have let the boy mature and grow up before packing him off to a country so far away. Boys need to grow with their parents and sent away only for higher education. Motilal Nehru sent the boy away for primary education!! How could he be so heartless?


Aurobindo Ghosh had a very similar early profile - sent far away from parental home as a kid to study under "missionary" isolation with strict instructions to separate any connection/influence from Aurobindo's young-Bengal-rebel-turned-rather-"Hindu"(under dual Brahmo umbrella)-nationalist granddad. But a very different outcome from that of JLN.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby Agnimitra » 17 Apr 2014 04:56

brihaspati wrote:Aurobindo Ghosh had a very similar early profile - sent far away from parental home as a kid to study under "missionary" isolation with strict instructions to separate any connection/influence from Aurobindo's young-Bengal-rebel-turned-rather-"Hindu"(under dual Brahmo umbrella)-nationalist granddad. But a very different outcome from that of JLN.

Maybe because the latter had a far greater aptitude, and was probably a far more precocious student than his Brit classmates to care if they gave him a tough time. Aurobindo's contempt for the highbrow Brit system was brought out by the fact that, after acing all his levels to join the ICS, he walked away from a horse-riding test and forfeited the prestige. One of his professors, I think, lamented in writing that it would be ridiculous to deny one such as him a position just because he refused to sit on a horse, and pleaded that his rebellious streak be excused. OTOH chacha Nehru, one must admit, was probably not the brightest boy in class, and must have been eager to be accepted for what he was.

It may have also been because, Brahmo or not, Auro's family was not double-deracinated like Nehru's "ganga-jamni" nawabi family was. The Nehrus were twice-removed from Indic civilization.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby brihaspati » 17 Apr 2014 05:10

What doesn't add up are three time points around which all the mystery revolves. 1948, 1954, and 1959. These were three periods of spectacularly inexplicable moves by JLN that had no rational obvious framework. One cannot allot any motivation we can think of, or even a chain of logical responses - given the mindset/proclivities/previous-actions/ that indicate his possibly hidden inner thought process. There has to be some external info/trigger/misfeeding/deliberate-manipulation.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby Haresh » 17 Apr 2014 18:17

Vewry slightly o/t but does anyone know the name of the black and white Indian film about the 1962 war? I have been told it is one of the best films of the conflict, my son want's it.

Thanks in advance

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby kenop » 17 Apr 2014 18:33


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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby SanjayC » 17 Apr 2014 18:51

The Rezang La battle field today.

Image

On routine patrolling of the Rezangla pass. In the photo you can see the actual battle field where the 13 Kumaon Regt soldiers fought against Chinese in the 1962 Indo-China war to the last man last round. Till recently the helmets of the soldiers were lying there but now it is taken by the 13 Kumaon. But the live mortars and shells with the bunkers are sill there. In the back ground you can see Trishul Heights (Mandong Ri)(Black coloured 3 point mountain).


Source

This is the battle on which "Haqueeaat" movie is based.

Image

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby UlanBatori » 18 Apr 2014 01:47

black and white Indian film about the 1962 war?


I knew it! My memory was precise. There is a 1963 Tamil B&W movie (not to be confused with the 1988 ripoff):Rakta Tilakam(Tilak of blood) starring Sivaji Ganesan.

After wiping out much of the PLA including the firing squad that was about to execute his well-fed and well-padded heartthrob as a Resistance fighter whom they had caught in the vicinity of BomdiLa, Sivaji Ganesan charges up this one last remaining hill and plants the Tricolor into the snow on the top - and gets a bullet through the forehead just as he succeeds in doing so.

Movie best watched for the sheer number of PLA that roll down the snow slopes, dead. Again and again. Showed me that India clearly won that war. :P

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby UlanBatori » 18 Apr 2014 17:18

And if the Younger Gen is into these fine patriotic movies, I strongly recommend Veera Pandya Kattabomman, a 1959 movie also starring Sivaji Ganesan, on the Freedom Fighter Kattabomman who was eventually betrayed and hanged by the British.

I was impressed that the National Museum in Dilli has a fair segment on the Freedom Struggle that is not all about Mahatma Gandhi but does go into some of the other heroes' contributions and the popular movements that they led. Much more needs to be done to collect and represent all of these. For instance I was able to visit the tomb of Pazhassi Raja in Wynad in 2011. Beautiful place. The bane of India has always been the inability to organize these various efforts, not by centralized diktat, but through synergy. When one person realizes that there is no alternative to fighting, what can others do to help, instead of sitting on their thumbs saying 'na na na na na.." Very contemporary problem...

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 18 Apr 2014 23:50

I love that movie! Watched it as a child.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 29 Apr 2014 22:22

War secrets and spies herald Mig 21 arrival in India

Inder Malhotra

War,secrets and spies heralded the now-retiring MiG-21’s arrival in India.

Every word that the retiring air chief,N.A.K. Browne,and others said in praise of the MiG-21 — the workhorse of the Indian air force for half a century,which is also being retired after yeoman service — is eminently well-deserved. The Soviet combat aircraft that Moscow gave us willingly played a stellar role in the 1965 and 1971 wars. However,it is surprising that no one has taken the trouble to recall the rather exciting history of the acquisition of this excellent aircraft. So here goes the instructive tale.

At the start of 1960s,the Cold War was its height. A four-power East-West summit in Paris had just fallen flat because of the flight over the Soviet Union by America’s U-2 super-spy plane,which was shot down. Both the United States and Britain,therefore,strained every nerve to dissuade India from going in for the MiG-21 or any other Soviet weaponry. American effrontery was unbelievable. Having supplied Pakistan with Sabre fighters already,the US had also started gifting it the more sophisticated F-104s,also called Starfighters. In no mood to offer India any lethal military equipment (even though it had given us three squadrons of C-119 transport aircraft in 1954-55),Washington “urged” New Delhi to buy British Lightning aircraft,wrongly claiming that it was better than anything the Soviet Union could offer. Britain was,of course,very keen to sell Lightning fighters to India,but wanted payment in cash. This country had no foreign exchange and was,in fact,busy pruning the Second Five-Year Plan to slash expenditures in foreign currency.

John Kenneth Galbraith,then the US ambassador to India,recorded later that he and some others had then advised President John F. Kennedy to pay the British for the aircraft and recover the amount from India in relatively small instalments. JFK’s reply was: “Why should we be so foolish as to pay millions of dollars to save the Indians from their folly?” There was no such problem vis-à-vis the MiGs. The Indo-Soviet trade was in rupees and was basically barter. So we paid for fighter aircraft in shoe-uppers,bananas and tea.”

On a bright and balmy day in August 1961,the Soviet capital became the venue of two extremely significant events. One was the arrival of Fidel Castro,obviously to discuss in utmost secrecy the installation of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. The reception he was given was so huge and so tumultuous as to be breathtaking. It almost completely eclipsed the second event: the agreement between India and the USSR,not only on the supply of MiG-21s,but also on their production under licence in India. Incidentally,it must be underscored that the Cuban missile crisis erupted during the brief and brutal India-China border war of October 1962,which was a debacle for India. There is considerable evidence to show that,because of their superior intelligence in Havana,the Chinese had a reasonable idea of when the two superpowers were likely to be engrossed in the missile crisis,and they timed their invasion and unilateral ceasefire accordingly.

As every student of the 1962 war knows,for a brief period,until the resolution of the Cuban confrontation,the Soviet Union chose not to annoy China. It spoke of “our Chinese brothers and Indian friends”. A Pravda editorial even advocated that India accept a ceasefire on Chinese terms. It was during this short period that work on sending MiG-21s to India was also slowed down. However,Moscow reverted to its pro-India policy as soon as the Cuban missile crisis was over.

After the 1962 war,the US offered India the F-4,a two-seater fighter aircraft of high quality,but later reneged on its promise.
In the meantime,we had trained a large number of pilots and navigators for the F-4,which created a major problem. As for the F-104 Starfighter,which later earned the moniker widow-maker” because it crashed all too frequently,the story is even worse. After a joint exercise with the US air force at Palam,the IAF declared the Starfighter to be a superior aircraft and was eager to acquire it. The Americans refused to give it,which was a stroke of good luck for India.

For long before the dawn of the global age,it was discovered that the big sales of Starfighters were a global racket. A powerful prime minister of Japan and a prince in Western Europe were among a large number of middlemen who went to jail for accepting heavy bribes. The flames of accusation reached even West Germany’s famous defence minister,J. Strauss,but did not singe him. However,he was heard reciting: “The fault is not in our stars but our Starfighters”.

The writer is a Delhi-based political commentator

express@expressindia.com


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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ShauryaT » 09 Jul 2014 05:53

Jaitley, Who Wanted China War Report Declassified, Changes Opinion

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has ruled out the release of a secret report that says the government and military bungled the war with China more than 50 years ago.

Mr Jaitley said, "disclosure of any information to this report would not be in national interest."

Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister when India was defeated in the 1962 conflict.

Before the national election in May, Mr Jaitley's party, the BJP, demanded that the government of Dr Manmohan Singh release the report by former army Lieutenant General Henderson Brooks so that the country would know how the government pushed the military into a war it could only lose.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby dinesh_kimar » 09 Jul 2014 10:09

^This news abt AJ refusing to declassify the HB Report is very mysterious.Why?

> Either some profound and earth shattering information that should not be made public at any cost. Now, there is no such public information or rumor about any other cause of 1962, and the widely held view is Nehru screwed up, including appointing his relative Gen. Kaul.
(The internet gives some wild speculation abt secret UFO base in Tibet, but maybe im wasting too much time over the internet ! )

> Or more likely, IA has requested that 1962 de-classification not be made public.........

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby svinayak » 09 Jul 2014 10:46

dinesh_kumar wrote:^This news abt AJ refusing to declassify the HB Report is very mysterious.Why?
......


More likely there are more than just two countries involved here
The Cuban crisis may be a setup for something else

But One country advised JLN to not to use airpower against PRC. But Why?
It was as if asking PRC to win the war without using all the power of Indian mil to respond

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby merlin » 09 Jul 2014 13:54

Reasons could be

1. AJ is a DIEnasty stooge and wants to avoid officially showing Nehru in a poor light
2. Nehru was at fault for insisting IA occupy positions it had no hope in hell of defending if attacked by the Chinese, positions that were actually in Tibet and not in India as claimed by us
3. IA has something to hide and doesn't want stuff to be public
4. Shows the US in a poorer light than we all imagine
5. All of the above
6. None of the above

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby SanjayC » 09 Jul 2014 13:57

^^^ Most probably, it will show Nehru's antics on the border as the immediate trigger for provoking the war. Since the issue is still hot, India will have egg on its face in its dealings with China.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 09 Jul 2014 20:02

For me four different govts(Congress, NDA-1, UPA and NDA-2) have decided not to declassify the report for reasons of state.
And that is good enough.


If its was political and the stated goal of NDA-2 is "Congress mukth Bharat" it would have been declassified.

So its more than COngress involved.

I tend to agree with svinayak that 1962 was a gambit to draw the Chinese out of the FSU alliance.
India paid the price for ending the Cold War.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby RKumar » 09 Jul 2014 20:16

Bring the bloody report open ... there is no shame in accepting our own history. As a nation, people has a right to know the truth behind our defeat. We are doing more harm to the nation by hiding it under the carpet.

If we did something wrong, let everyone know. NaMo and we should have the grace to accept it without apologizing to anyone.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 09 Jul 2014 20:25

RKumar, Its not about shame. Its about some secret. Four different govts at different have decided so it could be containing secrets not useful to make public.


No more discussion on making HBR public on this forum.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby harbans » 09 Jul 2014 23:44

If you objectively look there could only be a very few reasons to keep it classified. Lets examine them:

1. Indian soldiers abandoned their posts and ran like gutless cowards.
2. Nehru, KM, BMK all screwed up badly and will be seen in poor light.
3. Poor Battlefield logistics and tactical decisions.
4. Nehru wanting Forward positions that were 'understood' to 'belong' to China because some emperors in London/Beijing signed on some limne.
5. Nehru was of the mental frame that ArP can be given away if need be in case Forward policy went wrong.
6. Since ministers don't read such reports (assume Jagjivan Ram, George Fernandes, AKA or AJ would not have bothered), bureaucrats in the habit of marking everything Absolute Top Secret have succeeded in convincing govts in power to keep it as such.
7. Report has locations of secret UFO and Alien bases in it or some similar CT.

There can be no other reasons possible for keeping it a secret. 1-4 all aspects have been largely made open. Point 1 is the most open, many many accounts of 100 Indian soldiers facing off thousands of Chinese to the last man accounted for. Points 5,6 and 7
possible. If we are seeking a more rational based reason we need to explore 5,6 and reject 7.
So we are down to 5 and 6. Coming to point 6: BJP made a massive fuss a few months ago with even Jaitly demanding it be made public. A written turn around on that issue means only that there is something that really cannot be revealed. That leaves the UFO CT or Nehru's readiness to barter ArP or Sikkim/Bhutan or something major.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 09 Jul 2014 23:49

Harbans look at the world in the 50s, then the 70s and then the 90s.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby harbans » 10 Jul 2014 00:08

Am not sure what you are implying, but even though outwardly many differences are manifest, the callousness which Nehru treated the NE, Tibet were manifest in his disdain for the Army and it's objectives. It seems strange and incongruous for a person that said not a blade of grass grows what use is that land, be interested in taking a few forward posts. But then he did ask soldiers to battle out with deafening odds for a few posts. Many may think that culminated in the war, but what is important is why Nehru was confidently that arrogant. He certainly was grossly incompetent with a short attention span, but all that BJP would happily seek to declassify. There was something maybe more to that aspect of incongruence. Could it have been: "My Ship My command" Goa redux happened in 62? Could it be that he said let them take ArP and actually the Army or some key persons said we will defend ArP despite what you say. And he said then Kick the Chinese out from everywhere in vindictive rage..and that triggered the war. Any mention of those kind of conversations in the report would give massive ammo to China to claim ArP. Hence not being revealed.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby svinayak » 10 Jul 2014 01:09

harbans wrote: And he said then Kick the Chinese out from everywhere in vindictive rage..and that triggered the war. Any mention of those kind of conversations in the report would give massive ammo to China to claim ArP. Hence not being revealed.

Why JLN not ask the AirForce to engage and 'Kick the Chinese out from everywhere'

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby johneeG » 10 Jul 2014 01:16

I am quite disappointed that the report is not being declassified. Regardless of what it may contain, the public surely must see it. I think all the top players(including phoreners) would know the truth by now. The truth is only being hidden from the common man. And that is wrong. In a democracy, people knowing the truth is the most important issue. One must not forget that the people are the real rulers in a democracy and hiding truth from the people is wrong. The excuse of 'national security' may have worked in 70s or even 80s, but after that keeping it classified is just not right.

harbans wrote:7. Report has locations of secret UFO and Alien bases in it or some similar CT.



CT: Chacha was being managed by the phoreners by threatening to release Nethaji Bose.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby harbans » 10 Jul 2014 01:17

SVinayak: He really was least interested in kicking them out! Do read my post!

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby merlin » 10 Jul 2014 17:18

Wont the report NOT go into the political aspects and just concentrate on the military ones? If so then there should be no harm in revealing it unless the very things that were India/IA's weakness then, still persist.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby harbans » 10 Jul 2014 17:58

Wont the report NOT go into the political aspects and just concentrate on the military ones?


We've been through this before. The Congress says it kept it secret and opposed the report because it not only delved into the military aspect, but went a lot into the political one which they say it was not supposed to go into. So what are these political aspects that need be so secretive, as military aspects/ weaknesses/ strengths etc are well known and in public domain and knowledge.

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Re: Inder Malhotra's series on 1962 war

Postby ramana » 16 May 2015 06:40

{quote="SSridhar"}

Last night, I was listening to Shyam Saran espousing his views on the India-China border dispute in an interview with Karan Thapar. The entire episode was based on an article written by Shyam Saran. I was not sure, not having listened to the earlier portion of the interview, whether it was a recent article etc. I dug up and found two interesting articles he had written last year in Business Standard.

I post them here for the perspective it brings up because these two articles were never posted here before.

1962 - The view from Beijing - Shyam Saran, Business Standard
The release of a substantial section of the top-secret Henderson Brooks Report on the 1962 India-China border war by Neville Maxwell has re-ignited the debate over why India suffered a humiliating defeat then and whether lessons have been learnt even now, given China's relentless march towards superpower status. The refusal of successive governments in Delhi to make the report public has only made such periodic and selective leaks all the more damaging and distracting. The country's interests would be better served by releasing the full report with a commentary that identifies the lessons that have been learnt and the remedial steps taken to ensure that we do not fall into a similar and, perhaps even bigger, disaster again.

A reading of the document, now widely available on the internet, does not reveal any fresh, earth-shaking revelations or insights. Much of the report has been leaked in bits and pieces over the years and supplemented by considerable details supplied by other actors involved in this unfortunate saga. The main conclusions of earlier analyses remain valid:

* Right up to the point when China launched a major offensive, both the political and the Indian Army top brass were convinced that military engagement at the contested border would never go beyond small-scale skirmishes and limited operations. There was no expectation and hence preparation for dealing with a large-scale assault, despite mounting evidence to the contrary

* The so-called Forward Policy was a political initiative and not a military operation, designed to strengthen Indian territorial claims and forestall further Chinese ingress. China had been putting in place its own version of a forward policy through the relentless advance into the unoccupied border zones separating the two countries. This had intensified after the Tibet revolt and the Dalai Lama's escape to India in 1959. That same year, the first serious incidents of Chinese aggression took place, one in Longju in the eastern sector and the other at Galwan in the western sector. Chinese territorial assertiveness continued thereafter, accompanied by a significant build-up of both logistics and forces. It was only in November 1961 that the Forward Policy was adopted in response but without corresponding means in men and material to respond to a serious military attack, the capabilities for which were being steadily built up on the Chinese side. The ill-considered probing missions and the setting up of additional and mostly isolated and indefensible posts were, therefore, more in the nature of "showing the flag" operations rather than military manoeuvres.

The revelations in the Henderson Brooks Report should be examined in the light of considerable archival material that is now available on Chinese perceptions and decision-making on India-China relations leading up to the breakout of hostilities on October 20, 1962.

The first important point to note is that the India-China border dispute took on an altogether different dimension in Chinese perceptions as a result of the Tibet revolt of 1959 and the subsequent grant of refuge by India to the Dalai Lama and a large number of Tibetans, who were escaping a violent Chinese crackdown. Indian statements and actions on the border were increasingly interpreted as aimed at undermining Chinese control over Tibet. Even contemporary Chinese studies of the 1962 conflict, such as those by Xu Yan and Wang Hongwei, make this point repeatedly, accusing Nehru of trying to "convert Tibet into a buffer zone" and to "instigate Tibet to leave China". In 1964, while speaking to a visiting Nepali delegation, Mao Zedong said the major problem between India and China was not the McMahon Line but Tibet, which Indians considered to be theirs.

A second conclusion to emerge from the archives is the key role played by Mao himself in the events leading up to the war. The failure of the Great Leap Forward and three years of economic distress and famine between 1959 and 1961 had forced Mao to retreat to the "second line of leadership", yielding place to pragmatists such as Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Peng Zhen. By the summer of 1962, however, Mao was already in the process of regaining his control over the levers of power, using the People's Liberation Army under a new commander, Marshal Lin Piao, as his ally. From the summer of 1962, it was Mao who was personally issuing directives on the evolving military situation on the India-China border. It was his decision in August 1962, to launch a full-scale military assault on Indian forces and to "liquidate the invading Indian army".

Interestingly, it now transpires that this decision was a contested one. A Chinese TV feature on the 1962 war, broadcast in January 2005, reveals that there were differences of opinion among the leadership with some arguing that it would be unwise to make an enemy out of India just when China was confronting both domestic and external challenges. However, according to the broadcast, these elements were denounced as "right opportunists" and the military offensive went ahead.

It is also clear now that China made a careful assessment of the regional and international situation before undertaking these military operations. There were fears in China that the US may help the Chiang Kai-shek regime in Taiwan launch attacks on China across the Taiwan Straits. These were laid to rest when China's ambassador to Warsaw, Wang Bingnan, was able to get a categorical assurance from his American counterpart that the US had no intention of supporting any Taiwanese offensive against China by taking advantage of Sino-Indian tensions. In his memoirs, Wang claims that this assurance played an important part in enabling the decision to attack India later in the year.

Similarly, fears that the Soviet Union would play a negative role on the Sino-India dispute were laid to rest as Moscow sought to obtain Chinese support in the looming Cuban missile crisis, which would burst into the open around the same time as the India-China war. This also distracted the major powers from taking full cognisance of what was happening on a remote border somewhere in Asia.

Just as the Chinese military offensive came as a rude surprise, so did the subsequent Chinese decision to withdraw from the territories it occupied as a result of the 1962 operations with some exceptions particularly in the Western sector. The Indian leadership fully believed that the withdrawal was probably due to approaching winter and extended supply lines and that a renewed offensive was likely during the summer the following year. This explains the sense of panic that prevailed in those days evident in Jawaharlal Nehru's desperate letter to US President John F Kennedy, which surfaced recently. Chinese archives, however, suggest that it was always Mao's plan that Chinese forces should withdraw after delivering a knockout blow on the Indians. The objective was not territorial. It was to forestall any threat to Chinese consolidation in Tibet, while bringing a chastened India to the negotiating table to acquiesce in a Chinese package proposal for settling the border. Neither objective was achieved in any real sense.

In 1980, the two countries resumed a bilateral dialogue on the border after a gap of two decades. In the initial phase the Chinese terms for settlement were the same as in 1960, i.e. that China would retain Aksai Chin in the West but would generally settle along the alignment corresponding to the McMahon Line, though it would never accept the legitimacy of that line. In his interview to the editor of Vikrant in 1982, Deng Xiaoping explicitly put forward the "package proposal" as the basis for a border settlement, arguing that in keeping the area currently in its occupation in the east, India was getting a very good deal. After all, he suggested, Nehru himself had described Aksai Chin as a desert where "not a blade of grass grows".

The writer, a former foreign secretary, is chairman of the National Security Advisory Board and of RIS as well as a senior fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi


India-China border dispute - Coping with asymmetry - Shyam Saran, Business Standard
In 1983, when I was serving in our embassy in Beijing, there were a series of informal and confidential exchanges on the possibility of resolving the border issue. The Chinese leadership was keen on a visit to Beijing by then India Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who had also taken over the same year as chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement. It was pointed out to our Chinese interlocutors that such a visit would hardly be possible without the border issue being resolved in a satisfactory manner. The answer was to point to Deng's package proposal, i.e. to formalise the status quo. Our counter was that something more than the status quo would be necessary given the grievous blow to Indian psyche that the 1962 war had delivered. There was some indication that if Gandhi would be ready to visit, then some additional territory in the western sector, occupied as a result of the 1962 operations, may be conceded. Unfortunately, the Indian side did not follow up on this and the opportunity was lost.

In 1985, the Chinese side formally reinterpreted the package proposal saying that we had misunderstood Deng's words. The fresh Chinese position was that since the area of largest dispute was in the eastern sector, India had to make meaningful concessions in that sector and the Chinese side would then make appropriate and corresponding concessions in the western sector. Additionally, an explicit demand was now advanced for ceding Tawang, which the Indian side was accused of occupying at a much later date after its independence. It was pointed out to us that since the fifth Dalai Lama had been born in Tawang, the place was of special significance for the Chinese people, in particular for China's Tibetan nationality. This remains the current Chinese position on the border dispute and the Indian side, of course, rejects it.

In 1992, an informal suggestion was made to the Chinese side that India gives free access to Chinese pilgrims to Tawang, while China reciprocally gives similar access to Indian pilgrims to Kailash Mansarovar. The Chinese never responded. One reason for the insistence on Tawang being conceded may be the fear that if the next Dalai Lama were to be "discovered" in Tawang , a Chinese rival may not enjoy the same legitimacy. As will be apparent, the issue of Tibet continues to be embedded in any consideration of the border.

In 2005, during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit, India and China announced a set of Guiding Principles and Political Parameters for resolving the border issue. From India's standpoint, these principles and parameters are welcome as they include those that are extremely relevant, such as the need to consider the interests of "settled populations". This would have a direct bearing on the status of Tawang. However, in typical Chinese fashion, there is a continuous attempt to reinterpret these principles to suit Chinese positions. In the series of talks between the Special Representatives of the two prime ministers, now in their 11th year, little progress has been recorded on settling the border issue, though the talks have been useful in managing the border and in advancing confidence-building measures.

Given this chequered history, what are the prospects of an India-China border settlement and what are its likely contours? One cannot see a solution that diverges significantly from the existing alignment of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and the longer the status quo continues the more likely is the LAC to eventually morph into a settled boundary. At a recent track-II interaction, a senior Chinese army official remarked that India was unlikely to go to war to recover Aksai Chin just as China was unlikely to go to war to recover southern Tibet, or what India refers to as Arunachal Pradesh. In the meantime, he went on to add, the LAC needed to be clarified so that incidents such as the recent one at Depsang could be avoided.

Given the experience of 1962, however, one should never base one's actions on the basis of perceptions of the other side's intentions. It was the entrenched belief that China would never attack that caught Indian forces totally unprepared and virtually defenceless. Our border defences including logistics, must take into account the rapidly growing capabilities on the Chinese side. Although the size of our forces deployed at the border and its vicinity is substantial, our transport infrastructure and logistical capabilities have fallen steadily behind that of China. These shortcomings are being addressed but we need to consider ways in which we can cope with the growing asymmetry. The use of air capabilities may be one answer. There is also an urgent need to improve and extend our reconnaissance capabilities, so that there is sufficient warning time in case of an attack. Intelligence failure was one of the major causes of our failure to anticipate and respond to the 1962 crisis. The point one is making is that any prospect of sustaining the status quo at the border is dependent upon our ability to make any attempt to change it costly and risky to the other side.

It is also clear that the evolution of the Tibet issue will have a significant influence on both the prospects of an eventual border settlement with China and, in the meantime, maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC. A successful reconciliation process between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese side would be to India's advantage. There were some signs earlier last year that the new Chinese leadership was reaching out to the Dalai Lama but these seem to have lost momentum. If there are ways in which India could encourage this, it would help in managing India-China relations. A worsening of the situation inside Tibet or greater militancy among Tibetan youth in India could make the job of keeping India-China relations on an even keel more difficult.

China is likely to show restraint in dealing with India, including on the border issue, the more diversified and stronger India's relations are with other countries. China was more amenable and sensitive to India's interests in 2005 because of India's growing relationship with the US, Japan and the countries of South East Asia. The fewer options India is seen to have in its external relations, the more likely Chinese pressures on it will increase. This will be particularly relevant if the capability gap between the two countries continues to widen. Alternatively, if the forthcoming elections [this was published on April 13, 2014] throw up a political leadership that enables India to resume accelerated economic growth and pursue a more coherent foreign policy, the prospects for India-China relations will improve. One should watch carefully the changing dynamics among major powers as a result of the Ukraine crisis and the worsening of relations between Russia and the West. On balance, China appears to be a net gainer with both Russia and the West seeking its neutrality, if not support. For India, the choices are more difficult.

Much will be determined by what the Indian electorate delivers in terms of a new political dispensation later this year. In 2005, India was riding high. New Delhi was the indispensable destination for leaders from across the world and the Indian growth story was putting India in the same league as China. Permanent membership of the UN Security Council seemed to be within reach. One could feel that one had more cards to play with in dealing with the world. That is no longer the case. The impending political renewal nevertheless gives one hope that India will get another chance to get back into reckoning.


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